Kronick details the evolution of UACS

Bob KronickKronick's Chronicles

Oh no, I have not left the KnoxTNToday scene, I’ve just changed days of the week.

I finished last week with a quote from Fannie Lou Hamer, “If you see something, do something.”

In 1999, I had this realization that schools were excellent places for learning communities. True learning communities with day and after-school programs operating within the school building. Shelly McGill termed those shifts one and shifts two. This made for a seamless organization where both shifts saw the children as “our” children. But I am ahead of myself.

In 1998, I took my seed of a community school idea to Superintendent Charles Lindsay who said for me to go for it. My bias was and is to start where the need is the greatest so as good fortune would have it, I went to Sarah Moore Greene Elementary School where I met Principal Blenza Davis, the consummate educator.

Davis welcomed me with a group of university students, many of whom came from the Human Services Program I wrote about last week here, and we germinated the first University Assisted Community School (UACS) in Knoxville.

Jamie Coble, a nuclear engineering student at the time, along with Michael Catalana, who led our clinic designed to bring care to those children who needed it, both did an outstanding job of providing incredible leadership. Sarah Moore Greene was fortunate to have Josephine Chun as a nurse to support this effort as well.

The UACS seeds continued to grow, and Dr. Elisa Luna was another valuable person in the development. We will continue to explore the historical expansion of the UACS in later weeks, but I want to share the cross-sectional framework or the roots if I stay with the seed analogy, of the start of UACS.

In the early 2000s, when pre-school became a part of the UACS community, I realized we were on to something. Research and development became a part of my life, and this led me to a long and satisfying relationship with the Netter Center for Community Partnerships.

During this time, I met Joy Dryfoos, who I consider the modern-day leader of community schools. She passed away in 2012 and her bio is titled as “an American sociologist who is credited with the creation of the concept of full-service schools.”

Dryfoos came to Knoxville, and we found out how far behind we were during her visit.

As a result of our long association, Dryfoos asked me to write the entry on community schools for the Journal of Education and I have presented at the Netter Center and written with Ira Harkavy and his colleagues.

As the roots took hold and strengthened, the UACS came into “really being” what it was intended to be. Next week, friends.

Bob Kronick is professor emeritus University of Tennessee. Bob welcomes your comments or questions to


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