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      The CEI welcomes in districts and LEAs through a cohort model. Each Cohort makes a two year commitment learn and grow within the initiative, and many stay longer to share their expertise and facilitate the learning of newer cohorts.

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Mindsets of Community School Leaders

Successful collaborative leadership requires a major mindset shift to be established for full implementation of the community school strategy. A collaborative leadership mindset is one where all interest-holders, across LEA’s, sites and partner organizations have a reflective habit of understanding their own positionality, individual and institutional power. Community school leadership shares a commitment in distributing power to uplift the voices of groups who have historically been excluded from power and is especially set to flourish in spaces where:

  • Relationship-building is at the center
  • Deep listening is a practice
  • Trust is cultivated
  • Self-reflection is ongoing

Collaborative leadership is the intentional practice of creating various spaces where listening is prioritized and where students,  families and educators have a say in the vision, goals and outcomes for their school community. Leaders of community schools allow others to also lead and cultivate spaces for possibility-thinking.

Mindsets of Community School Leaders - Questions for Reflections

Relationship Building

How can I create relationships that build trust instead of transactional experiences?

Deep Listening

What can I learn from listening to those closest to the pain?

Cultivating Trust

How might an individual’s or community experiences affect the level of trust between us?What is my role in building trust?


How might my identity or positionality impact
collaborative spaces and processes?
What individual or institutional power do I have to transform systems that disrupt inequities?

Building Participatory Teams

Prior to decision-making and deep collaboration, the following practices are foundational in a transformational community school.

  1. Center relationship-building and trust
  2. Allocate ample time for meaningful collaboration, problem-solving and
  3. Ensure access in language, time and actively recruit and support the participation of interest-holders who have been historically marginalized and underserved in schools.
  4. Engage in courageous conversations about power, racism and the various forms of oppression that impact school communities. Reflect on leadership’s role
    dismantling inequalities inherent in school systems.
  5. Establish clear norms, processes and outcomes in shared leadership teams. Successful teams rotate roles, facilitation and have ways to communicate their progress with a larger community.
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