MLK Middle School – How the Community Schools Strategy Improved Student Outcomes

Mar 14, 2019


Breakout Room #2


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Middle School has been able to increase almost all academic outcomes for students, including African American students. Since the 2015-16, when the Community School strategy was implemented, our students, including African American youth have increased by almost 10% in Math & English SBAC scores. Our suspensions and office disciplinary referrals have decreased by almost 90%. We implemented the Community School strategy in the 2015-16 year, and we saw immediate results. Our classrooms & hallways calmed down, students had more instructional minutes and learning increased. Students and teachers alike received more support to be successful. As MLK continues to implement the Community Schools strategy, we are able to continuously align across the entire school community: students, teachers, families, community partners. We have coordinated systems that communicate and collaborate with one another. We gather & analyze data to inform the strategies & programming. We have a shared vision and distributed leadership. Community Schools is an evidence-based strategy that any schools can implement. We will share the MLK story, with emphasis on specific actions we engaged.


Administrators, Central Office Staff, Social Workers, Nurses, Counselors, Community Partners

Audience Takeaways:

Participants will build an understanding of the Community Schools strategy and learn some practical tools they can bring back to their school communities.


Michael Essien received his undergraduate degree in African American Studies from UC Berkeley and masters in Urban Education Leadership from UC Berkeley’s Principals Leadership Institute. He taught Geometry, Algebra 2 & Trigonometry, and Special Education for 21 years in Oakland Public Schools. Also, Michael taught in the UC Berkeley M.E.S.A. (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) Program for over a decade. Currently, Michael is an administrator at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Middle School in the San Francisco Unified School District. As the leader of MLK Middle School, Michael has transformed the learning environment for students and teachers and has significantly reduced referral and suspension data will increase student proficiency on SBAC. He believes in the Community School Model and a “whole school approach” to address challenges for students and teachers. Michael’s approach to address equity issues is getting noticed and has been documented in the San Francisco Chronicle and the focus of a podcast by KQED.

  • Leslie Hu

    Community School Coordinator

    San Francisco Unified School District


    BIO: Leslie is in her 4th year as the Community School Coordinator at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Middle School in San Francisco, CA. She was previously a school social worker for 7 years. She graduated from Boston University with a Master’s in Social Work and San Francisco State University with a Bachelor’s in

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