DC Community Schools Initiative Sustained in FY 2015 Budget
Now that budget season is over and summer is in full swing, it’s a good time to reflect on some of our fiscal year 2015 budget wins. DCFPI was one of many groups to successfully make the case that the District should continue its support for Community Schools past the first year. And we’re excited that the approved budget now includes $1 million to do just that! Not only is this a win for the Community Schools grantees that have already laid the groundwork for their sites, but also for DC children and families who want to invest in their neighborhoods.
The Community Schools model uses the school as a community hub for social services and enriched learning opportunities for students and families. Right now, six DC grantees have funding to develop a ‘Community School.’ Since schools cannot do it alone, each grantee is made up of several partners, including community-based service providers. Together, they bring trained individuals into a school setting to focus on issues such as parental involvement, early childhood services, or youth development. The partners also connect students and their families with outside supports, including medical, dental and mental health services, even outside of normal school hours. The renewed resources in the FY 2015 budget will give the six grantees more time to develop and really start the work for at-risk students and their families.
Sustaining the Community Schools model also makes sense, given the city’s recent investments in at-risk students through a new weight in the school funding formula. As school leaders consider the best ways to spend these dollars to meet the needs of their low-income students, they should consider the Community Schools model as part of a larger school improvement strategy. For example, schools could hire a resource coordinator to organize and manage the community partnerships that provide a comprehensive strategy for students to succeed.
DCFPI looks forward to following the progress of the current Community Schools grantees in FY 2015!
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