School-Linked Services: Promoting Equity for Children, Families, and Communities by Laura Bronstein and Susan Mason

4. Working Effectively Across Systems

  • The first step is cooperation. This is where two or more organizations that serve common customers communicate and help each other to reach goals that overlap. The next step is collaboration, where organizations start to overlap in a functional manner. This only happens when the leaders of the organizations have the necessary vision, courage, and trust to engage in this process that may change things like staffing, funding, and leadership. With the leaders on board, there are still challenges. For this reason, it’s vital that as many people in each organization be involved in the process of determining how the collaboration will be structured and function. Legal and confidentiality issues need to be addressed as well.
  • With the leaders in sync, it’s time to create a memoranda of understanding. This document delineates the expectations of each organization. There is a list here of the details that it should contain. This is vital as everyone will be operating somewhat outside of their silos and professions. This is where barriers to interprofessional collaborations can be dealt with. The components of this type of collaboration essential for success are listed here. This process allows the organizations to better understand each other, which can lead to each organization reinforcing the others’ efforts. Three more exemplars are described here.

5. Settings

  • So many negative things correlate with poverty that it’s clear that schools serving poor populations need community schools the most. Poor kids are more likely to have: a linguistic deficit, undiagnosed and untreated vision and dental issues, asthma, teen pregnancy, aggression, and violence. They often suffer from housing instability and a lack of high-quality preschool. They are unlikely to have access to tutoring, summer camp, travel, and extra lessons in the arts and sports.
  • Poor schools are mostly in dense urban and rural areas. Rural schools have the added burdens of transportation and recruiting issues. Since half of poor students are ready for school at age five pre school efforts, such as Head Start, have been a focus. At high schools, dropout prevention and birth control are a focus. This chapter also contains a description of the efforts (as of 2016) of Dean Laura Bronstein’s program led by the College of Community and Public Affairs out of Binghamton University (NY).

6. International Initiatives

  • This chapter offers a general overview of efforts in some other countries. Included are some European countries, Canada, India, Cuba, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Africa. Efforts depend on local characteristics. In poor countries, food is a focus. In countries with recent conflicts, there is a focus on acceptance. Some wealthier countries mandate and fund aspects of the programs. Poor countries in Africa often rely on NGOs for funding.
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