Brookfield Local School District is pursuing an idea of creating a community learning center to serve
students, their families and the greater community.
“The purpose is that schools provide services and resources that the students, the families and the
community needs,” Brookfield High School teacher Mary Arp told the school board July 21. “They do
that by building partnerships with organizations and groups in the community.”
Major cities such as Cincinnati and Akron have school-based CLCs. Arp and Supt. Toby Gibson have
visited much smaller operations in Ashtabula and Campbell.
“The reason why a lot of schools have been looking at community learning centers is because student
performance is impacted by things that are out of the students’ control,” Arp said. Schools have seen
“direct results with an increase in attendance, decrease in behavior problems, increase in test scores.”
The centers vary by community, and the services they offer should be based on the needs of the
community, she said.
“What is it the community needs? You’re not gonna be successful if you’re not targeting those things,”
She noted that Ashtabula’s center runs a dental clinic and is starting an in-house physician’s office for
students and staff.
Brookfield already offers some of the services that CLCs elsewhere offer, such as food assistance and
mental health services, she said.
“But, we can do more and we can do better,” she said, noting that evening programs for adults are not off
The school does not have to provide every service offered by a CLC itself, Arp said, but should partner
with other organizations and know what services are available to students and residents outside of the
Arp said a committee will be put together and community organizations contacted, and then a community
survey will be prepared to try to ascertain what kinds of services should be offered in Brookfield.
Gibson said he has talked to the township trustees and they are willing to participate.
The school could use Student Wellness and Success funds from the state and COVID-19 pandemic funds
from the state and federal governments, while many CLCs get grants and donations to keep their doors
Arp noted it can take a long time to get a center opened, and the services offered can change over time.
“It’s helping our kids, their families and our community be the very best that they can be,” Arp said.