United Way of Southwest Virginia fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Southwest Virginia because they are the building blocks for a good quality of life.

Learn More

As the needs of Southwest Virginians change, so too do the best practices for meeting those needs.

Learn More

Join us in our fight for our friends and neighbors in Southwest Virginia by exploring the options below.

Learn More

United Way of Southwest Virginia fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Southwest Virginia because they are the building blocks for a good quality of life.

Learn More

What are Community Schools?

A Community School can be described as a “local engagement strategy that creates and coordinates opportunities with its public schools to accelerate student success. It serves as a vehicle for hyper local decision making that responds to unique needs of each community.”

The Community Schools strategy is not a model or a program; rather it is a comprehensive approach that intentionally reconstructs education systems into community-wide collaborative and sustaining efforts that cultivate trust, shared accountability, continuous learning and improvement, and leverage resources and support so that students, families and communities THRIVE.

In order to THRIVE, our children need to feel safe, loved and challenged and families and educators partner with healthcare professionals, social workers, community agencies, businesses, higher education, and others to provide comprehensive academic and non-academic supports that meet each student’s unique needs and taps into his/her talents.

In collaboration with local school divisions, our THRIVE Team works with community partners, school faculty and staff, and families to provide ongoing training and technical assistance, as well as family engagement opportunities, and wrap-around support that students and families need to be successful both in school and to feel a part of the community.

One of the fastest growing equitable solutions.

National Model. Evidence-Based. All Students flourish in thriving communities.

Community schools are the kind of public schools that children and families deserve.  Community Schools are a place where children feel safe, loved and challenged and where families and educators partner with healthcare providers, social workers, community agencies, business leaders, higher education, and other sectors to provide both academic and non-academic support that meet each student’s needs and tap into their skills.

Community Schools offer an approach that builds on values that meet the 21st Century, post-pandemic needs of students.

Community Schools Guiding Principles include:

  • Pursue Equity
  • Invest in a whole-child approach to education
  • Build on community strengths to ensure conditions for learning
  • Use data and community wisdom to guide partnerships, programs and progress
  • Commit to interdependence and shared accountability
  • Invest in building trusting relationships
  • Foster a learning organization

The community school framework puts students at the center. 

To be student-centered means listening and responding to the concerns and aspirations of students, focusing on students’ unique learning needs and interests, and developing social-emotional and physical competencies. Together families, educators, and community partners THRIVE and work to ensure every student will succeed. 


The funding that makes this initiative possible is made available through the partnership with our school partners including Norton City Schools, Dickenson County Public Schools and Washington County Public Schools in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education’s Community Schools Development and Implementation grant. This is Virginia’s first round of funding to support the Community Schools framework implementation, and schools from across the commonwealth were awarded funding up to $500,000. The partnership with both VDOE as well as invested school districts allows us to connect and convene community partners, business leaders, faith-based organizations, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders to schools and provide resources that they may not otherwise have access to.

Other partners in the work of the Community Schools framework include the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Coalition for Community Schools, National Center for Community Schools, & Brookings.

Brookings wordmark fb
Top 10 in the United States by Charity Navigator in 2018 Guidestar Platinum Seal of Transparency Charity Navigator Four Star Charity United Way 2020 Membership Requirements Completed


Forgot Password

Don't have an account? Create one here