WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate voted to adopt U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act – legislation to reform No Child Left Behind – to create a grant program to expand the community school model to more schools across the country. Community schools bring together students, families, service providers, and neighborhoods to provide important services to help students better access the learning opportunities and support services they need to succeed.
“Challenges at home can undermine classroom performance and leave students struggling to keep up,” Brown said. “Community schools have a proven track record of connecting students and their families to critical services. This amendment will help expand this model so more students can access essential resources like medical care and after-school care. This will ensure that students can focus their attention on succeeding in school.”
“Community schools create the best possible conditions for students to learn and grow,” Darlene Kamine, executive director of Cincinnati’s Community Learning Center Institute, said. “By making schools community hubs, we not only support our children’s educational needs, we harness community resources and services to strengthen families and neighborhoods.”
Too many students face a myriad of challenges including hunger, homelessness, and a lack of access to health care. Community schools help students and their families overcome the barriers to accessing these urgent needs by using schools as hub for social services. Open year-round, these schools can help provide physical and mental health services, access to housing services, nutritional assistance, and after-school programming. Ohio has 89 community schools in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, and Toledo. There are also plans to develop community schools in Columbus and Youngstown.
The Full-Service Community Schools Amendment would allow the Secretary of Education to award grants to help public elementary or secondary schools function as full-service community schools. The amendment also sets aside dedicated funding for rural applicants. A one-pager on the amendment can be found here.
Last week, the Senate unanimously voted to pass a bipartisan amendment introduced by Brown and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to amend Part A of Title IV of the Every Child Achieves Act to ensure that each community school program receiving funds can use these funds to have a site resource coordinator for their school or local education agency. Site resource coordinators would work with the community and non-profits to identify and source additional resources to benefit students. A one-pager on the amendment can be found here.