Community Schools

Grades 6 - 8 / Bronx

A Holistic Approach to Education

Student Success Begins with All-Around Support

Many factors shape a young person’s likelihood of succeeding in school. If you are worried about your next meal, how can you focus on your math test? If you lost sleep last night because there was commotion in the hall of the homeless shelter where you live, it’s hard to concentrate on chemistry. These are the realities of all too many students in New York City.

Schools today must be more than just a place to learn math and reading. When students are affected by homelessness, hunger, domestic violence, and other challenges that impact their ability to learn, their families and they need comprehensive support from partners they trust. That is where the community school model enters. With a holistic approach, we partner with school leadership to help students and their families with challenges that teachers and school administrators don’t have the capacity or tools to address – everything from on-site counseling to linkage with food stamps and medical services.

As part of the city-wide School Renewal Program – a comprehensive, multi‐year, whole‐school reform effort to raise the performance of the City’s lowest performing schools and enable students attending these schools to succeed – Leake & Watts partners with the JHS 123 – The Bronx Urban Community School – and School of the Performing Arts in the Bronx.

Support Where You Need It

The community school model is based on the understanding that an integrated focus on academics, health and mental health services, social services, expanded after-school and summer learning opportunities, positive youth development, and family and community supports are critical to improving student achievement.

Under the guidance of our trained Social Workers and support staff, who are on site at the schools daily, all of these elements become part of the core function of the school. We also support extensive parent and community engagement. Each community school serves as a hub where these partners come together to coordinate and integrate a full range of supports based on the needs of individual students and their families. By providing social, emotional and academic enrichment supports for learning, personalization of services to students, and school-wide programming, we make students, families and communities stronger.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Understanding that each community, school, family and student has their own special needs, our community schools take an individualized approach on every level. Each year our Community Schools plan a Community Forum, a collaborative and inclusive event, in which parents, teachers, school leaders, and community stakeholders meet to identify the strengths and needs of the school and the community and agree on strategies to address those needs. We then work together to solve problems, measure progress, and create a welcoming, positive environment where youth and their families can enjoy learning together.


Strengthening families and individuals in need.



Giving kids a strong start and supporting special needs.



Providing housing and supportive services.



Fostering physical and mental well-being.