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Faculty meet to discuss safety after the Sayre High School shooting. Ira Harkavy, Vanda McMurtry ran 02/05 Credit: Jeff Russ , Jeff Russ

The Netter Center for Community Partnerships will be co-hosting a webinar on Friday about how institutions of higher education support local schools.

Representatives from four universities will be speaking about their engagement with the local community during the webinar. Ira Harkavy, director of the Netter Center, will be one of the speakers.

The conference grew out of a themed issue of the Peabody Journal of Education titled “Higher Education’s Role in Public School Reform and Community Engagement.” Harkavy’s piece was the lead article in that edition of the journal.

One of the underlying premises of the conference is that America needs a democratic school system in order to have a functioning democracy. Thus, colleges and universities need to utilize their full set of resources to help local schools, the conference speakers will argue.

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Harkavy, specifically, will discuss the “University-Assisted Community Schools” approach that the Netter Center has been developing for the last 20 years.

Assistant Director of the Netter Center Rita Hodges described Penn’s university-assisted community approach as one in which the University is the “lead partner in working with public schools in the local community to become hubs for the entire community.”

One of Penn’s university-assisted community programs include the Moelis Access Science program, which allows Penn undergraduates to tutor public school students in math and science.

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The webinar will be co-hosted by the Coalition for Community School and the Anchor Institution Task Force. Leaders in research relating to community partnerships at the University of Buffalo, Boston College and the University of Tennessee will also be speaking.

Presentations will take place at the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, D.C.

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