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Check out the latest Letter from Netter newsletter for University-Assisted Community Schools programming and other events.


Fall 2020 Issue of Universities and Community Schools

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Universities and Community Schools Vol. 10, No. 1 (Fall 2020)

Dear Colleagues,

This issue of Universities and Community Schools appears at a particularly important moment. The pandemic and murders of Black people by police have laid bare deadly inequities, racism, and social injustice in American society. They simultaneously highlight the limitations, indeed the failures, of our institutions, including universities, to do what they were designed to do.  The diverse Black Lives Matter movement and growing campus activism both in face-to-face and remote settings, among other developments, indicate a growing recognition that things need to fundamentally change—and change now.

University-assisted community schools is an approach that from its very beginnings in the late 1980s has been developed and implemented to produce significant change on campus, in the community and its schools, and in the wider society. The articles in this issue of Universities and Community Schools are a powerful indicator that university-assisted community schools across the United States have been doing just that. As impressive as the progress is and has been, it is obvious from recent events that university-assisted community schools need to do more, much more. 

In 1939, John Dewey wrote the article “Creative Democracy – The Task Before Us” in response to the growing threat of Nazism. Dewey described democracy as “a way of life controlled by a working faith in the possibilities of human nature.” He went on to write, “Intolerance, abuse, calling of names because of differences of opinion about religion or politics or business, as well as because of differences of race, color, wealth or degree of culture are treason to the democratic way of life.” Following Dewey’s lead, university-assisted community schools must function as democratic, anti-racist, justice- and equity-seeking institutions. The articles in this issue discuss how colleagues across the country are working with their school and community partners to bring that kind of university-assisted community school into being, simultaneously helping to further develop a national movement for democracy and social change.

Finally, we have dedicated this issue of UCS to Joann Weeks, who retired in June after 27 years of dedicated service to Penn, the Netter Center, West Philadelphia, and our regional, national and global partners. This is her last issue as editor of UCS. Joann has exemplified the values that drive the Netter Center’s work, including collaboration, compassion, and ethical, inclusive leadership –values that could not be more important at this time.


Ira Harkavy
Executive Editor
Associate Vice President and Founding Director
Netter Center for Community Partnerships, University of Pennsylvania

John L. Puckett
Executive Editor
Professor Emeritus of Education, Penn Graduate School of Education

Rita A. Hodges
Associate Director, Netter Center

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Table of Contents

University-Assisted Community Schools as Democratic, Anti-Racist, Justice- and Equity-Seeking Institutions: A Growing Movement for Democracy and Social Change
By Ira Harkavy, John L. Puckett, and Rita A. Hodges

Democracy, Justice, and Education: Framing the Impact of University-Assisted Community Schools
By Karen Hunter Quartz

Binghamton University Community Schools: Building University-Assisted Community Schools In Small Cities, Towns and Rural Communities
By Laura R. Bronstein Luann Kida, Meg Garton, and Amber Simpson

Perspectives from the Midwest: University-Assisted Community Schools Engagement
By Jim Grim, Monica A. Medina, and Nicole Y. Oglesby

#InThisTogether: A Collective Approach to Student-Engaged Research and How Two Durham Universities Joined Forces to Defend and Transform Durham Public Schools
By Jessica F. Benton, Yolanda L. Dunston, Amy L. Anderson, and Alec Greenwald

Place-Based Engagement on Chicago’s Northeast Side: Towards Sustainable Relationships in University-School Partnership Work
By Jon Schmidt, Dave Ensminger, and Mitch Hendrickson

Creating a Coherent System of Teaching, Learning, and Caring: An Ambitious Effort of a Research 1 University
By Barnett Berry, Matthew Irvin, and Jon Pedersen

University-Assisted Community Schools in Rural America
By Robert F. Kronick

Centering Race and Anti-Racism: The University & the Post-COVID-19 World
By Henry-Louis Taylor, Jr., Beth Kwiatek, and Gavin Luter

Click here to read the full issue