One of the key pillars of CCE’s work is The Reciprocity Project, a bold and innovative approach that empowers communities to reimagine schools as reciprocal institutions designed to increase community health, wholeness, and prosperity. This work transforms schools from instruments of the status quo into agents of opportunity. In this process, not only does student academic performance improve in a culturally respectful and responsive manner, but so do community-developed outcomes.
To date, schools have been missed opportunities for community development. Instead of dismantling negative social determinants, the factory model of most schools institutionalizes a structural effort to maintain the status quo and limit opportunities for success. The education sector continues to show that it does not recognize the magnitude of this problem, and as a result offers few viable solutions.
We need a new approach grounded in community voice and agency, with reciprocity schools that focus on supporting, not sorting; serving, not silencing; and recognizing that the answers are already in the communities we serve. Our model proposes 3 New Rs: Respect, Relationships, and Reciprocity. We also depend on Community Voice & Ownership Results-Based Accountability. In collaboration with the communities we serve, we identify what we did, how well we did it, and if anyone is better off.
We have already started this vital work of reciprocity. To scale this effort, we will go wherever we are welcomed, work with whomever wants change, and stay for however long it takes to break down inequities. We are experienced listeners and learners, scholars and storytellers. Most of all, we are passionate partners, aiming to empower communities based on the assets they already possess. Our ears and community voices will combine to create bold new choices.
Be the change education needs. Start building a better playing field for everyone.