Community Schools Program
Community schools are schools that develop and utilize partnerships that connect the school, students, families, and surrounding community to the resources needed in order to thrive. They highlight the assets in traditionally underserved communities and leverage partnerships, ultimately providing students, families, and communities with essential services and support. Maryland is home to nearly 360 community schools throughout the State, serving students and families from birth to adulthood. Through strategic partnerships, community schools work to provide access to high-quality academics, health services, mental health support, academic enrichment, out-of-school time programming, crisis support, adult education classes, leadership development, and more. Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School became eligible as the first Charles County Public Schools Community School for the 2021-2022 school year. This 2022-2023 school year, Indian Head Elementary School joins the Charles County Public Schools Community Schools team.
Community School District Liaison
Community School Coordinators
- Concentration of Poverty Grant FAQs
- Stages of Development in a Community School
- Roles and Responsibilities of the Community School Coordinator
Concentration of Poverty Grant FAQs
- What is a community school?
- How do I know if I have community schools in my local school system?
- Do I need to designate a point of contact for community schools if I am not receiving the Concentration of Poverty grant?
- What happens if my local school system cannot spend all of our grant funding by June 30, 2020?
- Does a LPN qualify as a school health worker under the Concentration of Poverty grant?
- Can I use Concentration of Poverty funds to provide professional learning to community school coordinators?
- Is MSDE providing a needs assessment to local schools systems?
- How can Concentration of Poverty funds be spent?
- What are the reporting requirements for this grant? Will a template be provided by MSDE?
- Will MSDE approve my budget and spending?
- Will MSDE provide support and professional learning for community school coordinators?
What is a community school?
In 2019, Senate Bill 1030 (5-203) defined community schools as “a public school that establishes a set of strategic partnerships between the school and other community resources that promote student achievement, positive learning conditions, and the well-being of students by providing wraparound services.”
How do I know if I have community schools in my local school system?
Community schools can either be identified by a local school system or through receiving the Concentration of Poverty grant. Schools with 75 percent or more students eligible for free and reduced meals received the Concentration of Poverty grant established in SB 1030 (5-203). The personnel grant is to be used to hire a community school coordinator and professional health care practitioner. Any remaining funding should be used to administer a needs assessment and to provide wraparound services as described in the legislation.
Do I need to designate a point of contact for community schools if I am not receiving the Concentration of Poverty grant?
What happens if my local school system cannot spend all of our grant funding by June 30, 2020?
The expectation is that the grant awards should be fully expended by June 30, 2020. Additionally, local school systems are required to report the use of these funds to the Governor and select committees of the General Assembly. However, the Blueprint for Maryland's Future Fund is a special non-lapsing fund, meaning that unexpended funds at the end of the year do not revert and therefore allow for carryover.
Does a LPN qualify as a school health worker under the Concentration of Poverty grant?
SB 1030 (5-203) states that eligible schools should provide full-time coverage by at least one professional health care practitioner, who is a “licensed physician, a licensed physician’s assistant, or a licensed registered nurse” practicing within the scope of the license. Based on that language, an LPN would not qualify under this specific grant.
Can I use Concentration of Poverty funds to provide professional learning to community school coordinators?
If the funding provided to an eligible school exceeds the cost to employ a Community School Coordinator and a school health practitioner, excess funding can be used to administer a needs assessment and provide wraparound services. SB 1030 (5-203) provides numerous examples of wraparound services, including “...any professional development for teachers and school staff to quickly identify students in need of these resources.”
Is MSDE providing a needs assessment to local schools systems?
At this time, the MSDE is not providing a needs assessment to local school systems. However, the MSDE will provide technical assistance on selecting, administering, and compiling data for the needs assessment. Additionally, the MSDE is working with a work group of community schools stakeholders to create a model needs assessment that could be used by community schools.
How can Concentration of Poverty funds be spent?
- Senate Bill 1030 (5-203) states that Concentration of Poverty funds must first and foremost be used as a personnel grant for two mandated positions: a community school coordinator and professional health care practitioner. Eligible schools may use any remaining funds to provide wraparound services, which are defined as:
- Extended learning time, including before and after school, weekends, summer school, and an extended school year;
- Safe transportation to school
- Vision and dental services;
- Establishing or expanding school-based health center services;
- Additional social workers, mentors, counselors, psychologists, and restorative practice coaches;
- Enhancing physical wellness, including providing healthy food for in-school and out-ofschool time and linkages to community providers;
- Enhancing behavioral health services, including access to mental health practitioners and providing professional development to school staff to provide trauma-informed interventions;
- Providing family and community engagement and supports, including informing parents of academic course offerings, language classes, workforce development training, opportunities for children; and available social services as well as educating families on how to monitor a child’s learning;
- Establishing and enhancing linkages to Judy Centers and other early education program that feed into the school;
- Enhancing student enrichment experiences;
- Improving student attendance
- Improving the learning environment at the school; and
- Any other professional development for teachers and school staff to quickly identify students who are in need of these resources.
What are the reporting requirements for this grant? Will a template be provided by MSDE?
Will MSDE approve my budget and spending?
At this time, the Director of Community Schools at the MSDE is not managing Concentration of Poverty grant funding or reporting. Leaders responsible for the management of the Concentration of Poverty grant should align grant spending with the language on SB 1030 (5-203). Budget documents, including C-1-25s and amendment requests, should be submitted to the Office of Finance.
Will MSDE provide support and professional learning for community school coordinators?
Yes. The MSDE is committed to providing community school coordinators, school-based leaders, and leaders in local school systems with technical assistance and professional learning on best practices in developing and enhancing community schools. The MSDE is assisting in developing networks of practitioners who can share successes and strong practices throughout the State. Please check the website for more information on upcoming events, including meetings, professional learning opportunities, networking events, and more.
Stages of Development in a Community School
Stage 1: Emerging
Schools are notified that they are eligible for the Concentration of Poverty personnel grant. School leaders form a community school steering committee that includes school leadership, teachers, parents, community members, and students, and other relevant stakeholders. The steering committee works with the local school system or lead agency to hire a Community School Coordinator, who also sits on the steering committee. The role of Community School Coordinator is defined and made clear to all stakeholders. The district or school leadership also hires a fulltime professional health worker if one is not already employed. The community school steering committee works with the district and/or lead agency to administer a needs assessment, collect data, and analyze the data.
Stage 2: Developing
The community school steering committee works with stakeholders to develop a mission and vision. They use the data gathered from the needs assessment to develop a logic model. The steering committee agrees on defined outcomes and data points for collection. The community school uses the data collected to identify community partners that can provide services to the community school and families. The steering committee and Community School Coordinator guide the planning and implementation of wraparound services that meet the needs of students, families, and the community at large. The Community School Coordinator takes an increasingly clear leadership role within the school community. The school provides learning opportunities for staff, families, and community members about the community school strategy.
Stage 3: Maturing
This stage is characterized by increasingly strong, respectful, communicative relationships between students, school staff, families, and the community at large. The Community School Coordinator and steering committee lead the implementation of wraparound services that serve to strengthen outcomes for students and families. The community school steering community, community partners, and school leadership teamwork hand-in-hand to implement programming, collect data, and adjust using a continuous improvement cycle. The school continues to provide learning to staff, families, and community members that increases buy-in and strengthens the community school strategy.
Stage 4: Excelling
The school has become a fullservice community school with seamlessly academic, student support services, wraparound services, parent organization, community partnerships, etc. The community school steering committee, community school coordinator, school leadership team, and community partners work closely to set goals, identify outcomes, collect and analyze data, and adjust planning and programming as needed. Students and families have access to a wide range of responsive services and interventions designed to meet their needs. The school acts as a community hub, welcoming students, families, and community members for a variety of programming designed to strengthen the health and welfare of students, families, and communities. There is shared leadership, and all stakeholders, including students and families, have a voice.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Community School Coordinator
This document serves as guidance for local school systems (LSSs) interested in establishing or further developing the position of the Community School Coordinator. It describes the essential responsibilities of a Community School Coordinator. LSSs and individual schools may adapt and customize the role based on their own unique needs. The decision regarding the position title for the Community School Coordinator should be made by the local school system based on their needs and hiring practices.
Summary: The Community School Coordinator (CSC) serves as a leader and liaison within a community school. The CSC works collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders, including school leadership, school staff, students, families, community members, community partners, and others to:
- Assess the needs of schools, students, families, and community
- Foster and coordinate a variety of partnerships
- Provide essential wraparound services to students and their families
- Commit to equitable educational opportunities for all
Responsibilities: The responsibilities of the CSC may include but are not limited to:
- Lead a community school leadership team composed of a variety of stakeholders, including school leadership, staff, students, families, and community representatives that guides the community school strategy
- Conduct a needs assessment
- Create and implement a strategic plan
- Create and foster partnerships on behalf of the community school
- Use data to inform partnerships and programming ○ Share data with stakeholders ○ Use data to align goals and resources
- Align the community school strategy with school goals and out-of-school-time (OST) programs in implementing identified strategies and achieving desired outcomes (e.g., biweekly meetings with OST partners)
- Connect students and families to resources and services
- Engage with families and the community through responsive, two-way communication
- Build and maintain relationships with a variety of stakeholders
- Collaborate and coordinate with school leadership and staff 2
- Communicate professionally and effectively
- Report regularly to a variety of community school stakeholders
- Participate in school-based teams or committees that target attendance, intervention, or other needs of students and families
- Train, supervise, and lead school volunteers