We’re in a difficult time for public education. Spending at the state level has been cut, and with a slow economy we can expect more funding struggles statewide and locally. At the same time, our students’ academic, emotional and physical needs are greater than ever due to the challenges of remote learning, remote delivery of support services and increased stress, trauma and grief.
This is not a new dilemma for Mahoning Valley public schools. When General Motors first announced it would close its Lordstown plant and abandon the communities that built billions of dollars of wealth for the company, educators knew what that would lead to: underfunded public schools with more students who would be experiencing poverty and needing resources and emotional support.
In addition to standing with their community in the Drive It Home campaign to keep the Lordstown plant open, Lordstown teachers asked themselves, “How do we leverage all the resources that are available to us — from our school district, from local, state and federal government and from local businesses and nonprofits — to meet the needs of our students and effectively do more with less?”
They looked toward a proven model for doing this: community learning centers, which are built on the principle that public schools are natural neighborhood hubs of educational, cultural and health resources. Each learning center is both a place and a set of partnerships that provide resources and services based on the assets