Academic journal article School Community Journal

What Do We Know about Full-Service Community Schools? Integrative Research Review with NVivo

Academic journal article School Community Journal

What Do We Know about Full-Service Community Schools? Integrative Research Review with NVivo

Article excerpt


Since the enactment of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) more than 15 years ago, many U.S. schools have struggled to demonstrate effectiveness in a system reinforced by a neo-liberal emphasis on standards and standardization (Grimmett, Fleming, & Trotter, 2009). These expectations can be even more frustrating for schools serving socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. While students in wealthy schools generally benefit from carefully designed educational programs with comprehensive school facilities that include contemporary technology, well-trained teachers and counselors, and high rates of college admissions, students attending underresourced schools often lack access to these kinds of basic supports for college readiness (Dryfoos, 2000).

The sociological concept of social capital has been used to explain these challenges. According to Bourdieu (1985), social capital denotes "the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance or recognition" (p. 248). In other words, being connected to others who can make resources available is critical to obtaining or increasing social capital (Rouxel, Heilmann, Aida, Tsakos, & Watt, 2015). Bourdieu (1985) went on to discuss the significant role that social networking plays in acquiring and possessing social capital. These ideas were reconfirmed and emphasized by Burt (1995), who defined social capital as "friends, colleagues, and more general contacts through whom you receive opportunities to use your financial and human capital" (p. 9).

Portes (1998) identified three types of social networking necessary for creating social capital: (1) close-knit communities, (2) parental support, and (3) networks beyond the family. First, the level of cohesion in a community has been positively associated with the level of social pressure that the residents in the community experience in general (Funk, 2010). For example, a close-knit community can provide a social form of control that reduces children's chances of dropping out or hanging out with "bad" crowds, because both the child and family are apprehensive of the potential neighborhood shame that would be created by delinquencies (Zhou & Bankston, 1996). Second, several studies of academic performance have demonstrated that parental and kin support plays an important role in children's academic achievement (Garg, Melanson, & Levin, 2007; Hao, 1994; McLanahan & Sandefur, 1994). Third, extrafamilial networks can lead to better access to critical resources such as job opportunities, investment tips, and educational materials (Portes, 1998).

Students from highly disadvantaged circumstances may have fewer opportunities to benefit from the kinds of social networks associated with upward mobility (Cattell, 2001; Shelton, Taylor, Bonner, & van den Bree, 2015). From this perspective, community services' integration can provide a powerful means of promoting and supporting parents from highly disadvantaged situations to build and increase social capital (Mohnen, Völker, Flap, Subramanian, & Groenewegen, 2015). Chen, Anderson, and Watkins (2016) elaborated this point:

Through community service integration, more opportunities are created for parents to establish new social ties extending throughout the community or to strengthen the existing parent-child and parent-teacher relationship.. .community service integration can help to create a more tightly interconnected neighborhood. community service integration can enrich the resources which the parents are able to invest in their child's development (p. 2270).

The Full-Service Community Schools Approach

Full-service community schools (FSCSs) are emerging as one of the more popular community school models implementing community services integration in mainly urban and disadvantaged areas. Bringing together community partners, including parents and youth social services agencies, FSCSs are designed to offer comprehensive services with easy access for schools and families (Dryfoos, 1995). …

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