animated graphic of teacher and students by garden

The time is right now for Community Schools!

Across the U.S., community schools are having a moment of increased attention and support in response to a growing understanding—brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic—that schools function as central hubs of their communities. When COVID-19 hit and schools began to shut down, community schools had the relationships and infrastructures in place that enabled them to mobilize support services and connect with their students and families meaningfully and quickly. The pandemic has also brought attention to stark inequalities brought about by structural racism, which community schools can help to address through a more collaborative and equitable approach to education.

A number of states, including California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New York, New Mexico, and Vermont, are investing in community schools, along with a proposed $400 million to the federal Full-Service Community School grant program. In early March, the California Partnership and LPI held a legislative briefing on community schools. Building on last year’s $45 million investment in community schools, both the California legislature and the governor have included $3 billion in funds for the expansion of the CA Community Schools Partnership Grant Program in the FY 2021-22 budget.

Network members are making strides in supporting full-service Community Schools efforts in states and nationwide. Check out new websites, briefs, stories, and articles in this Fall 2021 update.

  • Our national partners, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have shared case studies from Albuquerque, New Mexico (2016), Baltimore, Maryland (2018), Chicago, Illinois (2021), Minnesota (2021), and St. Paul, Minnesota (2016). Additionally, AFT’s American Educator has stories highlighting rural efforts in Rome (NY) and Massena (NY), among other partner/researcher articles. You can find other AFT resources, such as:
  • The California Teachers Association (CTA) published a featured post on their blog, Community Schools: Building the Heart and Hub. Check out the great drawing at the top! Their comprehensive page on Community Schools is a great resource with information, videos (including the Partnership’s animated explainer), and links to the work of other partners. 
  • The Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership organized dozens of state and local leaders for Virtual Hill Day 2021 during the annual celebration of Coordinators Appreciation Week (#CoordinatorsRock) in September. The Coalition also released two publications highlighting local Community School stories during the pandemic and the important role of Community Schools in the future. The other is a guide created by youth to serve as a tool for powerful youth engagement:





Our network has also collaborated on the following toolkit, brief, and stories: