Community schools (CS), also referred to as full-service community schools and community hub schools, represent an increasingly prominent strategy to create more equitable and effective learning environments for underserved students and families. CSs are characterized by four pillars of practice: integrated service provision, extended learning opportunities, family and community partnerships, and collaborative leadership and decision making. Through these four pillars, CSs implement a variety of practices that build on students’ and families’ assets and respond to their needs.

Given the breadth of services and programs provided by CSs, implementation of this strategy requires a combination of diverse sources of funding, both public (e.g., federal, state, school district, and city) and private (e.g., local businesses and private foundations). Successful implementation of CSs also requires strategies that build public awareness of these schools, the professional capacity of their staff—especially the community school coordinator (CSC)—and the quality of their practices. To identify funding sources and strategies that can support the expanded implementation of CSs, Child Trends conducted qualitative interviews with CS leaders in four local education agencies (LEAs).[1] The four focal LEAs were purposively selected to represent a range of district sizes, settings, and geographical areas in order to provide insights into different approaches to CS funding and implementation.

Suggested Citation

Sacks, V., Sanders, M., & Okogbue, O. (2022). District leaders’ strategies for funding and implementing community schools. Child Trends.

Our research was funded by a grant from the Richard K. Lubin Family Foundation.