Spotlight: Center for School-Community Collaboration
Dr. Michelle Schmitt, CSCC director

Dr. Michelle Schmitt

One of the VCU School of Education’s eight affiliated centers, the Center for School-Community Collaboration brings together schools, community groups, and government agencies for a common goal: to improve the lives of Virginia’s youth through evidence-based policies and practices in prevention science.

“Our mission is positive youth development,” Dr. Michelle Schmitt, the center’s director and an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Education, said. “That means we provide support on issues ranging from substance misuse and suicide to bullying and delinquency.

“None of these are school problems alone: they are community problems that appear in schools.”

Among the many productive partnerships with state agencies the CSCC has developed over its 28-year history is their relationship with the Virginia Department of Education. The mutually-beneficial relationship helps the center get its personnel and programs into the Virginia school system, while, in turn, providing resources and know-how that support the VDOE’s mission.

“Access to the schools is an enormous opportunity, and our relationship with the VDOE certainly grants that privilege to us,” Schmitt said. “It allows us to do meaningful work that matters and has a direct impact.”

“We couldn’t do the work we do without [Center for School-Community Collaboration at VCU] as a partner,” Maribel Saimre, Ed.S., school psychology specialist for the VDOE, said. “Having their expertise and academic perspective allows us to move forward with our vision at a rate that we couldn’t do otherwise.”

To learn more about the center and the types of training and supports they provide, visit the Center for School-Community Collaboration website.