The Coalition’s Regional Centers provide many of the same benefits to affiliated schools that clusters do: a milieu in which to work together on common concerns, to build critical friendships, and to locate helpful resources. In fact, many began as smaller networks or clusters of schools engaged in critical friendships.
But as nonprofit organizations with governing boards and position in the community, CES Centers also can reach into the outside world to rally support for schools in the midst of complex change. They can bring together small clusters or networks for larger conferences and forums. They can exert pressure on districts and administrators to support systemic change; they can raise money from foundations; they can carry out long-term evaluative studies and publish the results. Finally, Centers send voting representatives to CES’s new governing Congress, giving the national network a stronger regional voice.
CES regional Centers are already up and running in New York City, Boston, Southern Maine, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Kansas City (MO), Chicago, and elsewhere. The National Elementary School Networks has also launched school-based centers across the country to foster Essential School principles in elementary schools.