“The Learning Policy Institute, the Center for Universal Education at Brookings, Children’s Aid National Center for Community Schools, the Coalition for Community Schools and the below members of the Community Schools Forward task force provide this policy memo to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) related to community schools and the federal Full-Service Community Schools (FSCS) Grant Program, planned national and local evaluations, and supporting new entrants into the field.
The memo begins by describing the most recent turn to community schools as a response to the United States’ persistent failure to provide for the well-being of the most vulnerable children and families, a reality exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It then argues for community schools, not as a substitute for other much-needed policy changes in support of children and families, but as a way to employ a long-standing whole-child approach to schooling that coheres with a growing body of research about how all children learn. From there, we explain how the vision and theory that have emerged from this knowledge base, together with the accumulated wisdom from the field, should drive support for implementation and evaluation that take the complexity of community schools into account. The memo concludes with the following five recommendations that should help policymakers and education leaders translate the burgeoning interest in community schools into practices that live up to the promise of this transformative approach.”
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