Project Director

Scott, Cathy

Department Examiner

Shi, Junrong; Wilson, April; Foster, Owen


School of Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Over the years, the once thought of as stable suburban community has seen a significant increase in poverty and homelessness which has impacted students in similar ways as it has students in urban area schools and has resulted in the implementation of community school programs. According to Pew Research Center in 2020, there were 37.2 million people living in poverty, 16.2 million live in the suburbs, 15.1 million reside in urban communities – and collectively 11.6 million are minors. Community school programs have grown in popularity as an intervention in urban communities to address challenges that students have encountered which create barriers to education. Commonly identified barriers are the lack of affordable housing, transportation, behavior and mental health conditions, sense of belonging, academic enhancements, along with bullying and living in unsafe neighborhoods. These programs seek to address those barriers by promoting equity within the school through the creation of an inclusive environment – a community, which ensures that students, families, and school staff have access to resources necessary to overcome barriers and develop a healthy norm in and out of the classroom. There is limited research regarding the student outcomes of community schools in suburban communities. This qualitative study helps fill the gap by examining a suburban area community school program to identify its effectiveness in addressing student outcomes by interviewing ten program constituents. The study resulted three themes: educational resources, access to resources, and social emotional learning skills.


I have to start by thanking Dr. Amanda Bennett as she encouraged me as a honors transfer student to become a part of Innovations in Honors. The program has given me a great sense of belonging on campus and has introduced me to designed thinking and the importance of developing multi-disciplinary teams to attack social injustices. Dr. Cathy Scott was my advisor, the first person from the Social Work Program that I met, and she later became my Thesis Director; she has the patience of Job as she has consistently encouraged me through this process and has added to my professional knowledge. Dr. Scott has shown me that in the Social Work profession there are no failures, just teachable moments which identify gaps in the profession and opportunities to advocate for future clients. Without the support of my family none of this is possible. You've grown accustomed to me always being accessible and you're now supporting me as I pursue my dreams of empowering others to change their trajectories. This journey hasn't been easy but you've stood strong beside me - I am forever thankful. It pleases my heart to know that I've made you proud.

IRB Number



B. A.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Arts.




Academic achievement; Community schools; Suburban schools


community schools; suburban; urban; rural; social emotional skills; student outcomes


Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | Social Work

Document Type



39 leaves