The Comer Process draws upon theories of child development to replace traditional school organization and management with a system that works for schools and the students they serve. When fully implemented, the process suffuses a school with positive changes, stability and an instructional focus that supports the school's curriculum and renewal efforts.
The Comer Process is based on these key assumptions:
Academic learning rests on a foundation of consistent progress along six pathways critical to human development: physical, psychological, linguistic, social, ethical and cognitive.
Many of today's children come to school with developmental gaps that impair their ability to learn.
All students should meet the high standards dictated by today's workplace and citizenship needs.
All students can reach high levels of academic achievement. They are entitled to the opportunity to reach their highest potential.
Schools must provide children with the developmental opportunities they lack.
Schools cannot meet this challenge alone, but can mobilize people, including parents, to help meet the developmental needs of the students.
Three teams make the Process happen at each school:
The School Planning and Management Team develops a comprehensive school plan, sets academic, social and community relations goals and coordinates all school activities, including staff development programs.
Team members: administrators, teachers, support staff and parents.
The Student and Staff Support Team promotes desirable social conditions and relationships by addressing student services, individual student needs, resources and prevention.
Team members: principal and staff members with expertise in child development and mental health.
The Parent Team involves parents in the school by developing activities through which parents can support the school's social and academic programs.
Team members: parents.
All three teams adhere to three guiding principles:
No Fault: Focuses on solving problems rather than placing blame.
Consensus Decisions: Through dialogue and understanding, build consensus about what is good for children and adolescents.
Collaboration: Encourage the principal and teams to work together.
Studies of Comer schools indicate significant effects:
Improved school climate
Higher student attendance rates
Higher student achievement
Better collaboration among staff members
Greater focus on the child as the center of the education process