Most urban public school districts, including Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS), are committed to closing a persistent and entrenched achievement gap between White and middle class students and low income students and students of color. As resources remain stagnant or diminish educators need to determine where to invest District resources to maximize academic gains and quickly close gaps for the largest number of students. One option being considered in SPPS and nationally is to invest greater resources in the community schools model. "The heart of the community school is a set of partnerships between the school and community organizations to create an integrated program that combines academic and family support (Fratt, 2006, p. 67)." This research is designed to assess the effectiveness of the community schools model in improving academic achievement for low income students of color, both nationally and in Saint Paul Public Schools. Using a mixed methodology including an electronic review of national research, collection, synthesis and analysis of Saint Paul Public Schools specific comparative trend data and supplemental interviews with Saint Paul educators, this research also seeks to clarify whether the model as an independent variable is enough to close the gap or whether it is a critical component in a multi-dimensional approach to this national dilemma. Based on a survey of the current and historical research done on the effectiveness of the community school model in improving achievement and closing the learning gap for low income students of color, it is clear that this model holds promise for Saint Paul Public Schools leaders. In making a recommendation to Saint Paul Public Schools leadership on whether the investment in additional community schools to support its goal of closing the achievement gap for low income students of color, the research findings suggest support for an investment in the community schools model for that purpose based on comparisons of achievement data.


Jerry W. Robicheau

First Committee Member

Candace F. Raskin

Second Committee Member

Ronald P. Weiss

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Educational Leadership



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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