Over 150 attendees came together for Virginia's Inaugural 2023 Community Schools Conference
June 13, 2023
Abingdon, VA (June 13, 2023) - Virginia’s first Community Schools Conference took place today at the Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va. More than 150 people attended, including educators, healthcare professionals, and community leaders.
Community Schools is a nationwide initiative that aims to build and connect supportive partnerships between community organizations and public elementary and secondary schools to better meet the educational, physical, and emotional needs of students, their families, and the community.
“Community Schools expands the resources available to families with school-aged children, creating a wider net of support that extends beyond the classroom,” said Travis Staton, President & CEO of United Way of Southwest Virginia. “Our hope is that everyone who attended today’s conference left with a deepened understanding of community schools and how this framework can strengthen our communities.”
The agenda included speakers from the Virginia Department of Education, Mount Rogers Community Services, and the Coalition for Community Schools. Hasan Davis gave a moving keynote titled “Calling All Hope Dealers! Everyone Has a Story, Every Story Deserves Heroes” that focused on his experience through education, justice, and social support systems, and how he transitioned from Hasan Davis, Juvenile Delinquent to Hasan Davis, Juris Doctor.
Staton was also on the agenda and highlighted the connection between a trauma-informed approach in school and future workforce preparation. “The evidence-based approaches within Community Schools can significantly influence a child’s ability to learn, which often determines how successful they will be later in life. By increasing access to health care, which includes mental health, and empowering educators with trauma-informed practices, we strengthen communities across Southwest Virginia.”
One of the key tenets of Community Schools is support and wrap-around services so that children feel safe, loved, and challenged. The model is a unique approach that can take fragmented services and appropriately unify them, putting the school at the hub of the community.
For more information on the Community Schools initiative, click here.