School–community collaborations and measures supporting academic achievement in two underprivileged Montreal neighbourhoods: An evaluation of processes and effects
High failure and dropout rates are characteristics of schools in impoverished communities, and most OECD countries are dealing with this problem (Centre pour la recherche et l’innovation dans l’enseignement 1996, 2001). Many analysts have pointed out that dropout rates are generally two and a half times higher among poor children (Moreau 1995). To cope with this issue, educational systems are developing a variety of institutional measures such as reforming teaching practices, getting parents involved and investing in specialised professional resources (Deniger 2003; Levasseur and Tardif 2005). Moreover, educational systems are seeking to develop various school-community collaborations as a new approach to respond to the academic and social problems of children from disadvantaged communities (Deschesne et al. 2003; Deslandes 2001; Dryfoos 1994; Sanders 2003). These
developments entail links between schools and community actors who work with children and families, including community organisations, municipal agencies and health and welfare institutions (Violette and Hodder 2005). These links are intended to produce concrete measures such as programmes, projects and interventions that promote academic achievement, for example, after-school homework help services, family programmes (equipping parents), social programmes (cultural, sports, recreation, socialisation and violence prevention), health programmes (health education, food security, physical and mental health intervention) and community projects (neighbourhood socio-economic revitalisation) (Saysset and Boyer 2006).