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When choosing schools, parents look at curriculum, class size, recess time, homework policies, and many other details of their child’s future days in the classroom. Another factor many consider, for good reason, is the school community. 

The community is not only the heart of a school, but also its head, so to speak. Because while coming together to volunteer and attend festivities and class meetings may seem ancillary to academics, research reveals that it is, in fact, a primary contributor to student success. 

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation meta analysis of 35 studies done on the relationship between community and parental involvement and student success found that vibrant, engaged school communities help children with motivation, behavior, social emotional learning and academics. 

The article, Creating a School Community, in Education Leadership magazine highlights specifics in research that support this finding, while also noting that elementary schools with strong communities benefit a student over the long term. 

Author of the article and education researcher, Dr. Eric Schaps, says: “These benefits are often lasting. Researchers have found that the positive effects of certain community-building programs for elementary schools persist through middle and high school.”

Read More: Spring Garden Waldorf School
Photo: Austin Waldorf School

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