On Thursday, May 9, 2013, FOCUS St. Louis will honor 20 organizations, individuals, and initiatives that have made a profound difference in the St. Louis region. The 16th annual What’s Right with the Region! awards recognize outstanding individual leadership and community success stories. One of those success stories is the Brittany Woods Community School Initiative.
Three years ago, the University City School District forged a 25-year committed partnership with Washington University, beginning the Brittany Woods Community School Initiative. Together, with additional community partners, including Wyman Center, they are raising expectations, providing needed services, and connecting the community to their goal of social, emotional, academic and personal success for all students.
The steady and intentional transformation of Brittany Woods Middle School began in response to conditions of low academic achievement, high rates of leadership turn-over, a school climate that was perceived to be chaotic, and a negative perception of the school in the local community. Evaluating models of school turn-around, the district and university – through both the Brown School of Social
Work and Institute for School Partnership – committed to a “community school” model. The community school integration includes a strong instructional program, expanded learning opportunities for students, and additional services aimed at supporting healthy development, including Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program. Research has demonstrated that these types of comprehensive approaches support the overall achievement and growth of students.