Community Schools at LAYC Career Academy

Community Schools at LAYC Career Academy


William is too hungry to pay attention in class.


Deja cannot answer the teacher’s question because she can’t see the smartboard.


Jose lost his brother and has been overwhelmed by grief for the last three months.
These are things that our students encounter every day at LAYC Career Academy. To ensure that students have what they need to achieve their academic goals, LAYC Career Academy employs a community schools strategy through a partnership with the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC Career Academy’s founding organization) and the generous support of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). A “community school” is a public and private partnership formed to coordinate educational, developmental, family, and health programs during school and non-school hours for students, families, and local communities. Community schools improve academic achievement, reduce absenteeism, build stronger relationships between students, parents, and communities, and improve the skills, capacity, and well-being of the surrounding community residents.

At the heart of any successful community school is a top notch coordinator. In this case, it is Carolyn Greenspan. She works closely with our Student Support Department to assess the needs of the student body and then facilitates events that address issues for a wide swath of the student population. Carolyn plays the same role at two other adult education programs for 16- to 24-year-old students, Youthbuild PCS and LAYC’s Digital Pathways Program, allowing all the schools to participate in these types of events together.

The community schools program has brought many free resources to Career Academy students, including:
  • A mental health counselor who spends a full day per week at our school
  • Eye exams and glasses
  • Dental exams
  • Screenings and training on safe sex and sexually transmitted diseases
  • Cooking classes
  • Flu shots
  • Monthly visits from a food truck
  • Health insurance, food stamp and TANF enrollment
  • Transportation assistance
  • A food pantry and groceries
Carolyn is known for being visionary, kind and relentless. She is a constant presence at the school who is always looking for solutions to problems and more resources to benefit students. According to Carolyn, “We want our students to achieve a successful transition to adulthood, so to do that we have to focus on more than just their academics. With easier access to services that address their physical health, emotional health and overall well-being, students will have the tools that they need to grow and achieve their goals. It is great to partner with a school like LAYC Career Academy that has that same perspective.”