“From Los Angeles to West Virginia, educators and school staff have stepped up in ways they never would have imagined, from delivering lunches to coordinating vaccines. It’s become apparent in recent months that public schools following the “community school” strategy have been some of the most successful at navigating the ups and downs of the pandemic.
Many community schools even offer things like food, clothing, and bill assistance to community members with no ties to the school.
Community schools are public schools that bring together community partners—including nonprofits, local businesses, and public institutions—to support students, families, and nearby residents. This support ranges from after-school educational programming for both students and parents to health care, such as dental services and mental health resources. Many community schools even offer things like food, clothing, and bill assistance to community members with no ties to the school.
Southside K-8 School in the town of War, West Virginia, exemplifies this approach. Since becoming a community school in 2014, it has offered free dental and other wraparound services to students, movie nights for families, gym access for residents, and more.
During the pandemic, Southside and other nearby community schools have leveraged school bus routes to deliver books, meals, and schoolwork to families. They’ve also opened wireless access points to facilitate online schooling. By May 2020, they had distributed nearly 40,000 books to students sheltering at home.”
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