What is Investing in Community Schools? How to Invest and what it is?

Investing in community schools is gaining momentum across the USA as a strategy to address educational inequities and improve student outcomes. These schools are more than just places to learn; they’re hubs that integrate academic support with social services, healthcare, and family engagement to create a holistic learning environment where students can thrive.

Community school building with students and parents

Here’s why investing in community schools is a smart move:

  • Improved academic achievement: Studies show that students in community schools have higher attendance rates, graduation rates, and test scores. This is likely due to the wraparound support services that address students’ basic needs and create a more stable learning environment.
  • Reduced chronic absenteeism: Community schools can help address the root causes of absenteeism, such as lack of access to healthcare or transportation, by providing on-site services and resources.
  • Stronger social-emotional development: Community schools offer a sense of belonging and connection, which can help students feel more supported and empowered to learn.
  • Equitable access to opportunities: Community schools level the playing field for students from underserved communities by providing them with the same resources and opportunities as their peers in wealthier districts.
  • Community revitalization: Community schools can serve as anchors for their neighbourhoods, providing a space for residents to connect, access resources, and build a stronger community.
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The Biden administration is investing heavily in community schools:

  • The Department of Education recently awarded nearly $74 million to expand “full-service community schools” across the country.
  • This funding will support schools in hiring additional staff, providing on-site services, and partnering with community organizations.

Here are some examples of successful community school programs:

  • The Doorways to College program in Chicago: This program provides academic support, mentoring, and college readiness resources to students from low-income families. As a result, 90% of program participants graduate from high school and 80% enrol in college.
  • The Health Leads program in Boston: This program connects students with on-site health screenings and referrals, leading to a decrease in chronic absenteeism and improved academic performance.
  • The PACT program in San Antonio: This program provides families with access to parenting workshops, job training, and legal aid. As a result, families are more engaged in their children’s education, and students are more likely to succeed in school.

Investing in community schools is an investment in the future of our nation. It’s a way to ensure that all students, regardless of their background, have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Let’s keep the momentum going and support this critical movement!

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