SACRAMENTO — All California-based school districts, county offices of education, and classroom-based charter schools can apply for grant funding through the California Community Schools Partnership Program, a $45 million initiative to support and expand existing community schools, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced Friday.
These community schools use a “whole-child” school improvement strategy where the district and school work closely with teachers, students, and families. Many operate year-round, morning to evening, and serve children and adults.
The schools partner with community agencies and local government, providing an integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement.
Services can include adult education classes and healthcare services for families in neighborhoods where economic and social barriers prevent access.
“Among countless other impacts, the COVID-19 global pandemic has highlighted and increased the divide between disadvantaged students — many of whom are students of color — and their more affluent peers. This program is a way to directly support our most vulnerable students and their families,” Thurmond said.
“I encourage all eligible local educational agencies (LEAs) to apply,” he said. “These funds will provide health, mental health, and student support services to students and families at community schools and provide training to LEA personnel to help develop best practices for integrating student supports and social-emotional learning.”
The public community schools aim to meet individual student needs as they learn academic and life skills. Although students may graduate from a community school, the goal of these schools is to help students move to other levels of education, training, or employment while assisting their families.
Matching funds are not required for the CCSPP, but in-kind contributions can be used as a match. An LEA may use CCSPP grant funding for any allowable expenditure incurred on or after March 13, 2020, the date the president declared the national emergency due to COVID-19.
The CCSPP was appropriated from the Federal Trust Fund (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief [ESSER] Fund). Funds are also appropriated as part of California Senate Bill (SB) 820, Chapter 110 and the Budget Act of 2020.
To find more information on the ESSER fund and grant funding, visit the California Department of Education (CDE) Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act ESSER Funding webpage and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Elementary and Secondary Education ESSER Fund webpage.
See the CDE website for the CCSPP application. Applications are due December 4, 2020, by 11:59 p.m.
The CDE will hold a series of webinars to assist LEAs with the grant funding application process. Two webinars have already been scheduled. Eligible LEAs are required to register in advance for the webinars, which are scheduled November 10 and November 18.