Community Schools Gaining Traction Under State’s New Funding Formula

Efforts to create full-service community schools that focus on serving the “whole child” with a wide array of services are gaining traction under the state’s new funding formula for schools.

The convergence of more money for low-income students and a new mandate to work with families under the Local Control Funding Formula has created “a unique point of time” for community schools to thrive, said Renee Newton, director of the Center for Community School Partnerships at UC Davis.

Alana Shackelford, director of Partnerships and Community Engagement at Vallejo City Unified, put the message more forcefully to a packed audience of 200 educators at the Community Schools Fundamentals Conference last week in Oakland.

“Our students are tired of the system that was really designed for them to fail,” she said. “Our children and our families are back in the driver’s seat.”

The community school concept, loosely modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone begun by Geoffrey Canada, is built on a model of serving the “whole child” by partnering with community organizations to offer a range of enrichment, health, social and other services for children and their families.

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