By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The first day of school in Philadelphia saw the opening of the first round of community schools, where a broad range of neighborhood services and resources will be offered in addition to education.

City officials, led by Mayor Jim Kenny, took a tour of Dobbins High School on Wednesday, one of nine community schools to open in year one of the five-year initiative. Director Susan Grobeski says the focus this fall will be on needs assessment.

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“We actually have a coordinator who will be working with parents and teachers and the principal and community stakeholders to start identifying some of the community priorities,” she said.

Her goal is to development strategic plans for each school and implement them after January. Mayor Kenny is hoping community schools will become key neighborhood hubs.

“You do that by paying attention to health, nutrition, wellness, trauma issues, social services, dentistry, optometry,” the mayor said, “everything we have to do to make the kids’ lives healthier and better makes the community better.”

The city is paying for the initiative with money from the sugary drink tax that was approved by Council this summer.

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Kenny’s goal is to open 25 community schools over the next five years.




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