Explore opportunities for community educators to support learners and complement professional educators.
Connecting schools and communities
When schools and communities build strong connections, students benefit. But making connections is not always easy, and making connections matter can be challenging.
In partnership with schools and community organizations, we are building tools, resources, and opportunities to increase the number and coordination of community educators positively impacting students. Community educators are youth-serving professionals and volunteers who provide capacity and insight in service of deepening and personalizing student learning. They enrich learning environments by forging authentic relationships, sharing expertise and expanding networks.
We engage with school systems, leaders and educators to build the skills and mindsets to partner with community educators in impactful ways.
Supporting Community Educators
We support the field of community educators including: volunteers, organizations and industry to be ready to take on meaningful roles within schools and to answer the call for people-powered supports for students.
In Next Education Workforce™ models, community educators work as part of extended teams, where they leverage their knowledge and skills to complement the work of professional educators in support of learning.
Ways to get involved
Community Educator Learning Hub
Our catalog of nanocourses boosts the skills that community educators bring into a learning space. Take the first step by exploring a course today!
Communities of Practice
On-going virtual opportunities to learn together about practices, challenges, and opportunities in leveraging new roles to support students.
Access the collection of resources for community educators, professional educators and school leaders to sustainably and meaningfully incorporate community educator roles into a learning environment.
Frequently asked questions
Who are community educators?
Community educators are youth-serving professionals and volunteers who provide capacity and insight in service of deepening and personalizing student learning. They enrich learning environments by forging authentic relationships, sharing expertise and expanding networks.
In Next Education Workforce models, community educators work as part of educator teams, where they leverage their knowledge and skills to complement the work of professional educators.
How do community educators complement professional educators?
There are endless ways that professional educators and community educators can partner to support deeper and more personalized learning for young people. Examples of community educator roles are:
- Project-based mentors: community educators joining a learning environment throughout a unit, to make community connections to classroom content.
- Literacy accelerators: small group reading tutors trained to support literacy practices in the classroom alongside professional educators (these community educators could be specially trained volunteers, teacher academy students, or youth-serving professionals from community-based organizations.)
- Community educator roles are unique to the needs of each learning environment, see innovative ways that schools are leveraging community educators in our resource collection.
I work in a school. Where do I find community educators?
There is so much expertise to support classrooms and schools within our communities that is untapped. Tools and suggestions to get started on finding and connecting with community educators can be found in our connecting with community educators resource collection.
Within your school district, there may also be a community partnership or volunteer management team that can introduce you to community partners your district already has relationships with that match your need.
Community educators that are youth-work professionals can also be found through local community-based organizations. Next Education Workforce is creating a searchable directory of Arizona organizations that have school programming. Find and connect with a new organization today.
I’m interested in working as a community educator. Where can I find training?
MLFTC is building a catalog of nanocourses designed to be accessible training resources for community educators to boost their skills in teaching and learning. Nanocourses are created with community educators in mind, they are only 15 minutes each, strive to balance context knowledge with actionable techniques and cover a wide range of competencies that are helpful for community educators to know and be able to do.
Enroll in the Community Educator Learning Hub today!
We host a variety of ways to engage collectively, from professional learning opportunities and communities of practice for schools and organizations to deepen their practice with community partnerships, to convening events that bring our field together.
Join us for our Arizona Community Educator Initiative Community of Practice on April 4, 2023. This series is designed to build a community of practice for professional educators to learn best practices from and with each other, to increase the number and impact of community educators in learning spaces. A link to join virtually via Zoom will be provided upon registration.
- Who is it for? School and school system leaders
- What is the time commitment? 90 minutes
- What is the format? Virtual
- What is the cost? Free, plus a $50 stipend (for Arizona educators only)