Community Schools

The Bull City Community School Partnership is a collaboration of CAPE,  Durham Public Schools, Durham County, and the Durham Association of Educators. Together, we are working to implement our community school model in four Durham elementary schools.

Please visit the Bull City Community School Partnership website to learn more at   

We are excited about the Community Schools approach because of its long history, its proven track record of helping transform struggling school communities, and because it fits so well with our mission and values. While many schools call themselves Community Schools, and there are many elements of Community Schooling being practiced around the country, CAPE and DAE are campaigning around the “Six pillars, four mechanisms” approach as outlined by the National Education Association (NEA):

Research shows that community schools succeed when six key strategies (or “pillars”) are embraced:

  • Rigorous, aligned, and culturally-responsive curriculum
  • Focus on high quality teaching rather than high-stakes testing
  • Inclusive models of school leadership
  • Positive discipline practices like restorative justice, rather than a reliance on suspension
  • Authentic parent and community engagement
  • Wrap around supports and services for students, parents, and the communities that feed our schools

In addition to the 6 strategies, each successful model Community School:

  • Hires a full-time Community Schools Coordinator to facilitate this work
  • Conducts a comprehensive needs and assets assessment with the school’s students, staff, parents, and community base
  • Develops a strategic plan that flows from the assessment and aims at progress on all 6 strategies
  • Engages community partners in the implementation of that strategic plan


National Coalition for Community Schools

National Education Association Office of Community Schools

Community Schools Standards (excellent, from the Institute for Educational Leadership and the Coalition for Community Schools – includes guiding principles and a format for self-assessment)

Report on Community Schools from the Center for Popular Democracy (includes in-depth case studies of successful Community Schools from around the country)

Resolution in Support of Community Schooling within DPS (passed by the Durham Board of Education on March 8th, 2018)