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Notable Federal Legislation

The community school strategy is an effective, efficient and scalable implementation vehicle for multiple federal programs. Click on each federal program below to review resources (toolkits, webinars, and more) on how you and others have used the community school strategy:

Full Service Community Schools

Full Service Community Schools (FSCS) federal competitive grant provides grants to implement and expand full-service community schools. Grants go to a consortium consisting of an LEA and one or more community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, or other public or private entities to provide comprehensive academic, social, and health services for students, students’ family members, and community members that will result in improved educational outcomes for children. 

  • Department of Education Guidelines - Please review all information provided by the Department on the grant, including eligibility and competitive preference priority guidelines.
  • Grantee Case Studies - Learn how 2008 and 2010 grantees, such as Los Angeles, Evansville, Indianapolis and more, have used their funding to start, scale, and sustain community schools within their communities.
  • FSCS Program Toolkit – This toolkit, created by the Illinois Federation of Community Schools, includes guidance on preparing for the Request for Proposal (RFP), grant writing tips, and links to tools and resources that applicants can use to support their applications.
  • Webinar on FSCS program – This webinar provides an overview of the federal grants and provides guidance in establishing a vision and a set of results for your community school(s).

  • Other Resources

Using Community Schools as a School Improvement Strategy

The Coalition’s ESEA Reauthorization Framework emphasizes community schools as a strategy for school improvement. The School Improvement Grant (SIG) puts emphasis on family and community engagement as central to the strategy, however, the challenge for SIG leaders lies in encouraging local school districts and schools to deeply engage their families and communities not only in planning for school turnaround, but also in ensuring that students have all the supports and opportunities they need to succeed. The community schools strategy does just that.

  • Department Guidelines Please review the Department’s newly updated guidelines for the overall school improvement strategies, and improving family and community engagement for school improvement.
  • Examples of Community Schools Using SIG funding – use these examples of community school sites that view community schools as a strategy for school improvement.
  • School Improvement Grant Implementation Webinar – The purpose of this webinar was to explore how the community schools strategy supports SIG efforts to turn around low-performing schools and to outline key elements of SIG guidelines related to the community schools approach. The presenters discussed why and how a school district is using the community school strategy to turn around low-performing schools. This webinar may be useful to:
    • State leaders responsible for Title I and SIG grants and for supporting districts and schools using the grant
    • District leaders responsible for Title I and SIG grants; and
    • School leaders implementing a SIG model.

Using Community Schools as a Place Based Strategy

Schools are crucial vehicles for any place-based initiative because they reach most, if not all, children in a neighborhood. At the center of every place-based strategy is a school. The Progress Report on the Department of Education’s Place-based Initiatives recognizes the role schools play in increasing student achievement:

Programs to affect achievement [in place-based strategies] can be targeted at
schools and neighborhoods with the highest need; school buildings provide a
physical space for both academic and non-academic service delivery; and peer
influence is an example of the spillover effect.

In addition to improving academic achievement, community school share goals with other place-based strategies, including the social, emotional, physical, and civic development of young people, their families, and the community at large. The pivotal role of public schools in place-based strategies reflects the vision of community school initiatives. As such, community schools can and should be an integral part of all place-based initiatives and place-based initiatives should clearly outline how they will mobilize and leverage assets of the school, as well as the community, to help students succeed.
  • Webinar – Members for the Community Schools Leadership Network discuss where community schools fit in the landscape of place-based initiatives and share strategies for aligning and partnering at the local level.
  • Community Schools and Promise Neighborhoodshighlights the relationship between community schools and promise neighborhoods.
  • Mapping Place Based Strategies Report – The report maps outs cities with and the need for collaboration between community schools, promise neighborhood and choice neighborhoods. It also highlights accompanying partners and Institutes of Higher Education.
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