Meeting the needs of the whole child is essential to help America’s students grow academically and improve their well-being. That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to increasing and supporting the adoption of community school models across the country.
Community schools meet the unique needs of the neighborhoods they serve by leveraging local non-profit, private sector, and public partnerships to bring wraparound services into school buildings, such as mental health supports, dental services, and assistance with shelter and nutrition. They operate with the assistance of school staff who coordinate with school administrators, stakeholders, and local organizations to deliver these services and more to students, their families, and members of the community. Research has shown that these schools contribute to increased student attendance, on-time grade progression, and high school graduation.
In the most recent bipartisan funding bill, the President secured $150 million for the Full-Service Community Schools program. This means the program is twice as large as last year and five times as large as when President Biden came into office.
“Schools have always been the heart of our communities—where students learn to be good citizens, where families come together for a common cause, where towns find pride…students perform their best—and are happiest—when their parents and educators work together, when their families get the support they need—as soon as they need it.” – First Lady Jill Biden Communities in Schools (CIS) Leadership Town Hall Conference, October 2022.
Today, in recognition of the need to marshal resources from across the government to support community schools, the Biden-Harris Administration is:
- Announcing new grants under the Full-Service Community Schools program. Students need integrated, wraparound services—both inside and outside of school— in order to succeed academically and feel more connected to their schools. Community schools are designed to deliver these services, and we are proud to announce a $63 million investment in 42 community schools across the country. These funds will provide critical support to our students now and equip them for future success.
- Releasing a White House Toolkit on Federal Resources to Support Community Schools [https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/2023-01-13-WHITE-HOUSE-TOOLKIT_Federal-Resources-to-Support-Community-Schools.pdf]. This vital resource will help community school advocates, coordinators, and directors, as well as other community stakeholders, identify funding sources and grant programs that can be used to support community schools and meet the unique needs of their communities.
EXPANDING THE FULL-SERVICE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS PROGRAM
The Department of Education is announcing todaythe 2022 recipients of the FSCS program grant competition. This competition will provide 42 local educational agencies, non-profits, and institutions of higher education across the country with $63 million in funding for community schools in more than twenty states. This year’s grant competition received the largest number of applications in the history of the program, demonstrating the enormous need for and interest in advancing a continuum of coordinated support to address students’ social, emotional and mental health. By continuing to expand the reach of Full-Service Community Schools, we will support students’ academic recovery, as well as the health and well-being of communities across the country.
NEW TOOLKIT HIGHLIGHTS PROGRAMS ACROSS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THAT SUPPORT COMMUNITY SCHOOLS
The Administration supports the Full-Service Community School model because of the powerful effects these schools have on students’ academic success and overall well-being. Studies have found that well-implemented community schools—with integrated student supports, active family and community engagement, expanded and enriched learning time, and collaborative leadership practices—can lead to improved student and school outcomes, particularly for students in high-poverty schools. Yet communities can face difficulties identifying resources to establish or expand Full-Service Community Schools because they exist across the federal government. Today, the White House is releasing a Toolkit of Federal Resources to Support Community Schools.
The toolkit lists relevant grant programs by federal agency and explains how those grants can be used to provide student services at community schools. It also includes new commitments from various federal agencies to support community schools, including the following:
- Prioritizing the work of community schools in federal competitive grants: The Department of Defense (DOD) has committed to including priority points for community schools in two grant programs – the Military-Connected Local Educational Agencies for Academic and Support Programs and the World Language Advancement and Readiness Program – which provide grants to dozens of school districts reaching tens of thousands of students across the country.
- Providing in-school support to students by funding community school coordinators: Several federal agencies have identified funding in grant programs – including funds provided through the Community Development Block Grant (HHS), the Demonstration Grants program for Indian Children (ED), and the Military-Connected Local Educational Agencies for Academic and Support Programs and the World Language Advancement and Readiness Program (DOD) – that can be used to support the salary of a community school coordinator. These coordinators play a critical role in helping identify and manage a community school’s services and partnerships.
- Helping community schools apply for and benefit from relevant grant programs: The Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps) and Departments of Education, Labor, Interior, and Housing and Urban Development will provide technical assistance or issue agency guidance so that community schools can better access the full range of resources available to them.