Community Circles

Posted by Lauren Campion on 9/17/2018

As part of the citywide community engagement initiative, Your Voice Matters, the Career Academy School Council met twice in Fall 2017 to discuss education in Lowell and identify prioriy areas for improvement.

Below are identified school strengths and areas for improvement:

In a community where ALL students can succeed...

  • Students have access to resources and services in career pathways
  • Schools have alliances with community partners to strengthen connection between schools and the real world.
  • Schools have parent group within the schools to improve collaboration
  • schools are culturally inclusive and promote diversity to break down barriers
  • students feel safe, wanted, comfortable, and understood

Expectations of the schools

  • Students learn to read and write
  • Develop sense of citizenship
  • Comfortable learning environment
  • Responsive to students out-of-school needs

Expectations of the community:

  • Awareness recognition of schools in community
  • Connection to schools: community members and organizations interact regularly with schools
  • Encourage others to be involved with schools
  • Build each other up, work together to help each other improve

Signs of hope in our schools:

  • Garden education in schools and community
  • Students voice
  • Supports in schools: Future planning, pathways, career training
  • Book Nooks

What are the biggest problems facing schools in Lowell? 

Students feeling unsafe/uncomfortable: Physical and cyber bullying, fighting, especially outside of school hours. Schools can do more to address the issue.

Potential solution:

  • Mentoring from elementary or middle school
  • “Bullying orientation” 

Other: Attendance, low parent involvement, not enough homework

How can we achieve our priorities:

Goal #1: Schools have alliances with partners to strengthen community connection and prepare students for the real world


  • Create a structure for partnership with shared vision for students
  • Outreach to contacts for partnership
  • Platform for sharing current practices, what’s worked, etc. Inventory of what’s already happening, level of participation, results
  • Identify gaps (in schools or service area)

Goal #2: Students feel safe and comfortable in (and out) school

Sources of discomfort: sexual orientation, cultural barriers, bullying, lack of cultural sensitivity from schools food and clothing insecurity, mental health, other out of school factors.


  • "Comfort Zone" tool kit that lists various school and community partner resources available for students
  • Inclusive bathroom policy
  • Catie’s Closet
  • Food pantry “go to” adult to trust/ check in with: teacher, guidance counselor, mentor, after school
  • Cultural sensitivity training
  • More frequent bullying prevention programing in school and outside of schools.
    1. Identify other stakeholders e.g. transportation, IT dept, police, parents
    2. Anti-bullying campaign at least 2x/ year