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NYS Education Commissioner Hosts Discussion on Community Schools in Broome

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The New York State Commissioner of Education, MaryEllen Elia hosted a roundtable discussion at the Binghamton University's Downtown Center to teach educators from across the country about the benefits of community schools.

"We're very excited to show off the work that's been done here and the supports that it's provided for schools in this area," said Elia.

A community school is when local organizations like Universities, hospitals, and local businesses come together to provide services to districts who have students that come from low-income families or situations that hinder the student's ability to succeed in school.

"We are working with schools throughout the county really helping to support kids who come from families with low income or face some kind of challenge to their academic achievements," said Laura Bronstein, Binghamton University College of Community and Public Affairs Dean.

Six school districts participate in the program which has been led by Binghamton University since 2013. Elia says that there a lot of resources within a community that can be redirected to help nurture, educate, and provide for students.

"So it might be from the healthcare field to provide screenings and to support them in a clinic, it might be from a mental health agency, it might be from a hospital," said Elia.

Bronstein believes that program put together by Binghamton University and Broome is the only one in the United States, which is why educators from places including Alaska, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Kansas were at the discussion in Binghamton on Wednesday night.

Both women hope the early success of the community schools program inspires other counties across the country to get involved and help students in need.