University-Assisted Community Schools with Netter Center for Community Partnerships
A major component of the Netter Center’s work is mobilizing the vast resources of universities to help traditional public schools become innovative University-Assisted Community Schools (UACS). UACS educate, engage, empower, and serve not only students, but also all other members of the community in which the school is located. UACS focus on schools as core institutions for community engagement and democratic development, as well as link school day and after-school curricula to solve locally identified, real world,community problems. For neighborhood schools to function as genuine community centers, however, they need additional human resources and support. The Netter Center emphasizes university-assisted because universities, indeed higher education institutions in general, can serve as strategic sources of broadly based, comprehensive, sustained support for community schools. UACS engage universities as lead partners in providing academic, human, and material resources. This mutually beneficial partnership simultaneously improves the quality of life and learning in local schools and communities while advancing university research, teaching, learning, and service. Many of the Netter Center's school-based programs--from the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative to College Access and Career Readiness to Moelis Access Science to Young Quakers Community Athletics and UACS Sports--work together to form the key components of the UACS model. UACS in West Philadelphia currently serve approximately 3,000 children and youth and their families from a set of schools within two high school catchment areas.
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