Implementing Full-Service Community Schools in a Rural Setting: Early Lessons from Leslie County, Kentucky

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Begley, Lewis, and Ostrander are three of the five site coordinators who have been working in Leslie County Schools since 2020, when the district was awarded a Full Service Community SchoolsProgram (FSCS) grant, a program of the US Department of Education focused on improving the integration of social and health services into high-poverty school districts. By 2018, the FSCS model had been implemented in an estimated 5,000 schools across the country.1 Despite 20 percent of all US public school students residing in rural areas, only an estimated eight percent of FSCS grants have been awarded to rural communities.* In an effort to combat this discrepancy, the FSCS grant now prioritizes
districts that qualify for the Small Rural School Achievement or the Rural and Low-Income School programs. To capitalize on this opportunity, Partners for Rural Impact (PRI), an educational organization in Eastern Kentucky supporting rural local education agencies in achieving high quality and equitable learning outcomes for all students, has set out to support rural districts in applying for and implementing FSCS grants.

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