Parents Support 'Community School Method' At OKC's Edgemere Elementary

Tuesday, February 3rd 2015, 10:24 pm
By: News 9

District officials said it's the first of its kind for Oklahoma City Public schools. For the past five months, Edgemere Elementary has been operating as a community school.

It was a concept designed to treat the school more like a community center.

There's no other school like it in the metro, officials said. Just down the street from the Paseo District, Edgemere serves a number of low-income and minority students. But for this school, there's an entire community actively involved in a student's success.

“He has just made huge bounds and leaps in grades,” said Gwen Long. “It's amazing.”

Gwen Long said she's seen drastic improvements in the last five months.

“The kids are a lot more interactive. There's [sic] more programs for them,” said Long.

“This year the teachers seem more active, we have more supplies,” said Gwen's son, Aidan Montgomery who's in the sixth grade.

Gwen said she has three children at Edgemere and the "community school model" has already made a huge impact on her family.

“It's been very challenging, very rewarding,” said Principal Alisa Stieg.

Some called a community school an ambitious attempt at reforming urban education, using the community as a crutch. But Stieg said this is a program she feels will strongly affect permanent change, and not just for students.

“We know that we can strengthen families, whether it's with GED or personal business classes, or simple things like navigating on the computer or accessing web resources,” said Stieg.

“My 11-year-old, she's in hip hop dance. She takes theatre, she takes French this year,” said Camisa Dobbins.

Dobbins has had a child at Edgemere for more than seven years now, and she said she's seeing a change this year.

“Wasn't that much last year, but it's definitely a lot of hands on with the parents this year,” said Dobbins.

“It's a great place and I love it so much,” said Dobbin's 5-year-old daughter, Harmony.

Stieg said there is proof that the strong partnerships between the school and other community resources lead to improved student learning and stronger families.

“We're putting those supports in place for families to be successful,” said Stieg.

As far as future programs at Edgemere, Stieg said an OU researcher has been hired to survey families to determine what's needed.