The U.S. Department of Education today announced the nine awardees of the 2014 Full Service Community Schools grants out of a pool of 147 applications. The high number of applicants despite the small number of awards available proves the continued need and demand for a comprehensive approach to student learning and development that community schools provide.
The nine new awardees represent 26 schools and a range of urban and rural places that will add to the 90 places and the 38 states already operating community schools across the country. The grants are led by partnerships among school districts and community-based organizations. The awardees include two school districts (Oakland Unified School District and San Antonio Independent School District), two institutions of higher education (Berea College in Kentucky and Montclair State University in New Jersey), and five non-profit organizations (Los Angeles Education Partnership, Youth Policy Institute also of Los Angeles, Frida Kahlo Community Organization of Chicago, Lancaster County Partners 4 Youth of South Carolina, and Southwest Key Programs of Austin, Texas).
According to Martin J. Blank, IEL president and director of the Coalition for Community Schools, “The range of partnerships and communities represented here demonstrates the increasing attention that educators and community leaders are giving toward community schools. We look forward to working with all awardees to share resources and connect them with our community school leaders as part of a nationwide peer learning network.”
These awards come on the heels of bipartisan federal legislation to authorize this program through the Full Service Community Schools Act (HR 5168), cosponsored by House Minority Whip and longtime community schools champion Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL), who has lauded the results of the community schools in his district in Peoria, Illinois.
This year’s awards come from an allocation of $10 million for community schools in the FY 2014 omnibus bill, $4.7 million of which went to these new awardees. The rest will go toward grantees in the 2010 cohort. These 26 new community schools will build upon the 64 full service community schools established in prior rounds of funding. Congress has now invested $30 million in the program since 2008.
The Coalition congratulates these new awardees and looks forward to working with them to ensure the highest-quality community schools for their students, families and communities.