How It Works

Key Components

The community school model has three broad goals:

  • most importantly, educational success for children. Schools take the lead on this priority and the other partners play a supportive role.
  • provide a social and health service support system that will help children and their families be successful in schools and the community. The county, DHS and non-profits experienced with community-based social services take a lead role on this.
  • provide enrichment and recreational opportunities that connect the curriculum of the school and after-school activities for the students. It will also provide recreational and educational programs for parents and other adults in the neighborhood
  • by extending the school day and the number of hours a school is open and being used, a school can become a community center. It can then serve as a community-gathering place for any number of services and activities. The City of Portland and Portland Parks & Recreation, the City of Gresham, Gresham parks and Recreation and youth programming agencies will take the lead in enrichment and recreational opportunities.

Another vital component is to connect and integrate the activities to increase the chances of success for children. Curriculum alignment, relationships between school and other staff and coordination of programming and building use are essential.

The involvement of youth, their parents and other in the community in the design, leadership and participation in the programs is key to building a relevant and effective community school.

Evaluation and continuous improvement are key mechanisms ensuring that we see the same successes as full-scale models being used in other cities such as Los Angeles, New York and St. Louis.

The extended-learning model is consistent with the research literature and designed to accommodate evolving local needs, assets and resources.



Each SUN Community School is jointly managed by the school principal, a site manager and a lead agency (a non-profit or community organization). Schools are also governed by a site partners team, which represents all entities in the school that work with students, and a site advisory body, which includes representatives of the school, youth, families and the community.

Location and Age Group

There are currently 60 SUN Community Schools in six school districts, including 22 elementary, 13 middle, 17 K-8 and six high schools.

SUN Community Schools serve a wide age group-from preschoolers to seniors- with the majority of students served falling between the ages of age of 5 and 19.

Primary Activities

Although SUN Community Schools provide a broad range of activities, SUN's primary activities are:

Extended-day academic and enrichment programs that are linked with the school day
Family involvement and strengthening programs
Health and social services for students, families and community
Community events
Adult education