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College of Community and Public Affairs

Community Schools Initiative

The Binghamton University Community Schools initiative marks our mission to build the first countywide system of university-assisted community schools in the United States, so that all children and families in Broome County  can be successful in school, work and life. Community schools allow communities and families to have the resources to support children outside of the classroom so they are better equipped for learning inside of the classroom. University-assisted community schools bring the resources of universities to bear in supporting children, youth, schools and neighborhoods.  

The initiative blossomed out of the Broome County Promise Zone, which designated Broome County as the fifth New York State Promise Zone in 2013 to create improved learning environments for schoolchildren in high-needs communities. The Broome County Promise Zone is a joint effort of Binghamton University, Broome-Tioga BOCES, the Broome County Mental Health Department and local school districts. The partnership aims to create learning environments that address the needs of schoolchildren and enhance student support so youth can take full advantage of all classroom opportunities. Initiatives include efforts to provide after-school care and summer programming, boost attendance rates and increase family engagement.

These efforts expanded into a similar model in Elmira, N.Y., Chemung County, which marked our efforts to develop university-assisted community schools throughout the two regions. With this objective, all public schools would serve as hubs of their communities; supporting children, families and neighborhoods with programs including health and social services, enrichment, recreation and arts.

Impact and service

The Broome County Promise Zone has served an estimated 450 students during its first year of operation, and an estimated 963 students in need across Broome County during its second year:

  • We served an estimated 100 families in need in this same area during our first year, and an estimated 430 families in need this same area during our second year
  • A pilot program of students at Binghamton High School has shown a 6 percent increase in attendance and a 60 percent decrease in suspensions after one year of involvement with Promise Zone

Partner schools

Broome County Promise Zone community schools are currently being implemented in six of Broome County’s 13 school districts: Binghamton, Union-Endicott, Johnson City, Whitney Point, Windsor and Broome-Tioga BOCES. Other districts are in the process of development.

Each active district has a coordinator to assess and support the specific needs of the school. Binghamton University students across all academic disciplines participate in the Promise Zone through internships and volunteer opportunities in partnership with Binghamton University Division of Student Affairs.


The University's Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) maintains this list of available community school volunteer opportunities and internships, connecting you with students to engage with and support in your community.


Broome County Promise Zone
Binghamton University
College of Community and Public Affairs
67 Washington Street
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000

Last Updated: 2/26/18