Issue Report ● Education
For Immediate Release: 
December 2, 2015

Today the House will consider the Every Student Succeeds Act Conference Report, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Through this bill, Congress is working to ensure that children across the country have access to a quality education and the important resources and opportunities that make the American Dream possible. By offering grants to districts serving low-income students, as well as funding for afterschool programming, STEM education, and arts education, the Every Student Succeeds Act will help young people prepare for college and careers. Also included in the Every Student Succeeds Act is the Community Support for School Success program, which includes grant funding for Full-Service Community Schools to coordinate education with social services to ensure that they are delivered more efficiently and effectively so that students can succeed in school. 

The Full-Service Community Schools model is included in the Every Student Succeeds Act through the Community Support for School Success program:

  • The Every Student Succeeds Act includes the Community Support for School Success program, which authorizes at least 10 grants, if not more, annually for the Full-Service Community Schools [FSCS] program. These grants will provide assistance to FSCS programs to improve the coordination and integration, accessibility, and effectiveness of services for children and families.
  • Each new Full-Service Community School grant will provide a minimum of $75,000 each year (up to five years, with a possible two year extension) to help FSCS programs strengthen their network of social services that help students succeed in school.
  • A FSCS program must coordinate at least three of the existing pipeline services, listed below, when receiving a grant, as well as provide at least two additional pipeline services at two or more public elementary or secondary schools:
    • High-quality early childhood education programs
    • High-quality school and out-of school time programs and strategies
    • Support for a child’s transition to elementary school, from elementary school to middle school, from middle school to high school, and from high school into and through post-secondary education and into the workforce
    • Family and community engagement and supports including engaging or supporting families at school or at home
    • Activities that support workforce readiness including job training, internship opportunities and career counseling
    • Social, health, nutrition and mental health services and supports
    • Juvenile crime prevention and rehabilitation programs 
  • Funding is set aside for grants to FSCS entities in rural areas
  • Evaluations of the effectiveness of these grants will be monitored through the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences

Full-Service Community Schools are public elementary or secondary schools that house a wide range of existing social services under one roof, including:

  • Primary health and dental care;
  • Mental health and counseling services;
  • Nutrition services;
  • Mentoring;
  • And adult education, job training, and career counseling services for parents.

By integrating education and the delivery of health and social services, students are more likely to succeed in the classroom and their parents are prepared to support their children’s learning, particularly those in low-income communities. The Full-Service Community School model is proven to help close the achievement gap for our most vulnerable students. Since Fiscal Year 2010, the Full-Service Community School program at the Department of Education has awarded 32 new grants in 13 states.

Evidence of the impact of the Community School Model is mounting across the country; take a by-the-numbers look at how they are growing:

  • +150: Number of communities implementing community schools
  • +5,000: Number of community schools across the country
  • +10,000: Projected number of community schools in the country by 2020
  • 9: Number of states introducing community school legislation
  • +200: Number of national state and local partners in education, youth and community development, health and social services and related sectors promoting community schools, including the School Superintendents Association, After School Alliance, American Federation of Teachers, Boys and Girls Clubs, National Association of School Psychologists, National Education Association, School-Based Health Alliances, United Way Worldwide, and YMCA USA

Full-Service Community School programs enjoy broad support:

Martin Blank, Director of the Coalition for Community Schools and President of the Institute for Educational Leadership: “The inclusion of the Full-Service Community Schools program in the Every Student Succeeds  Act reflects a broader vision for our public schools – a vision that recognizes that educators must work in partnership with community resources to help all young people thrive.  New language in other parts of the bill requiring states to go beyond academic measures in state accountability systems and in state and local report cards provides incentives for the kinds of partnerships at the heart of Full-Service Community Schools.”

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers: “We’re thrilled that through Rep. Hoyer’s leadership, the ESSA bill includes the Full-Service Community Schools program. This is a big win for students, families and educators because the wraparound services that are part and parcel of community schools help level the playing field for disadvantaged students and their families. In addition to providing a strong academic program, community schools provide social, emotional and health services needed to educate the whole child and mitigate the impact of poverty. This is particularly important today since more than half of all public school students are poor.”

Jeffrey Levi, PhD, Executive Director of Trust for America’s Health: “It’s great to see the Full-Service Community Schools legislation included in ESEA reauthorization. The legislation will expand the number of full-service community schools, which perform the vital service of connecting students and their families to community organizations that offer primary, dental and mental healthcare, literacy help and career counseling, among other services. This will result in healthier students—who do better in school— and happier and more productive families.”

Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus Campaign for Children: “Providing educational spaces where children’s academic, health, and mentoring needs are met benefits the students, their families, and the schools. By including the FSCS in the ESEA reauthorization, we move closer to eliminating a blind-spot in federal policy, recognizing that what happens outside the classroom affects what happens inside the classroom.”

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