This chapter focused on the role of community resources in supporting student success, social forces that can mitigate some serious neighborhood risk factors. Using the 2005–2009 DPS cohort, we examined the impact of community-based organizations in students’ neighborhoods. Both churches and community centers were positively associated with high school graduation. The analysis of school cases illustrates that all three schools worked with local activists, community organizations, and nearby colleges on encouragement programs that enabled students to explore college pathways, illustrating the ways community linkages empowered students. At Tech, mentors and counselors focused on encouraging students to find pathways out of poverty, as the schools struggled to pay off debt and avoid state takeover or closure due to low performance. Hope provided its students with opportunities to engage in civic activities and get social and academic support from churches and community centers; its eventual closure further illustrates how the convergence of the state’s curriculum requirements and funding undermined neighborhood links to schools. In contrast, Kappa developed strong links to local colleges and employment opportunities in a suburb adjacent to Detroit. Like Hope, Kappa attracted students whose parents enrolled their children in charter schools, but it had the resources to thrive.
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