SSS

Student Support Services

About Community Schools

 

Purpose of Grant Program

These “Community Schools” are public schools that emphasize family engagement and are characterized by strong partnerships and additional supports for students and families designed to counter environmental factors that impede student achievement. Fundamentally, Community Schools coordinate and maximize public, non-profit and private resources to deliver critical services to students and their families, thereby increasing student achievement and generating other positive outcomes. 

Background

The demands on schools in distressed communities are far greater than in less challenged areas, and span a variety of disciplines that include but are not limited to academics.  Communities in distress need to be able to rely on their schools to not only provide a quality education to every child, but also to serve as the hub for varied support services for children and their families. 

These critical services address a variety of needs, from health care to counseling, from nutrition to job preparation.  We must all work together to support these schools as neighborhood solutions, many of which are the primary point of contact between at-risk families and critical service providers.

The Community Schools Strategy and Theory of Action 

Community Schools are public schools that emphasize family engagement, characterized by strong partnerships and additional supports for students and families designed to counter environmental factors that impede student achievement.  While some of the specific attributes of a community school program vary based on the needs of its respective community, all Community Schools share three foundational pillars:

  • A rigorous academic program with strong supports to prepare all students for college, careers, and citizenship,  and that supplements quality curriculum with expanded learning opportunities that keep students engaged, coupled with high levels of accountability for results; 
  • A full range of school-based and school-linked programs and services that, based on a needs assessment of the community,  address the comprehensive needs of students and their families and that work with families as essential partners in student success; and
  • Partnerships that demonstrate collaboration with the local community, including by engaging families and other community stakeholders and drawing on a broad set of resources, incorporating local and State government agencies, non-profit service providers, institutions of higher education, and the philanthropic and business communities in order to extend the impact and depth of services and programs.

It is important to emphasize that Community Schools do not seek to duplicate effective services that already exist in their communities; rather, through partnerships, these schools leverage existing high-quality programs and assets by linking them to the school and providing robust services to students and their families. 

Last Updated: July 14, 2017