The $4 billion California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP) is the nation’s largest investment in the success of high-needs students through a whole-child approach. Community schools partner with education, county, and nonprofit entities to provide integrated health, mental health, and social services alongside high-quality, supportive instruction with a strong focus on community, family, and student engagement.
Superintendent Thurmond is excited to continue to support the next phase of community schools transformation. “I have been a longtime advocate for community schools. Years ago, as a school board member, I introduced a policy to turn West Contra Costa Unified into a full-service community schools district. We have come a long way in our efforts to make community schools a reality throughout the state of California,” Thurmond said. “Community schools aim to break down the barriers that limit student and family access to needed services and resources, ensuring that the school site itself can become a place for a variety of services. Students cannot learn and families cannot prioritize education unless their basic needs are met and families have a pathway to elevate their assets—whether that is through wellness programs, nutritional programs, job training, counseling, or language and biliteracy programs.
“Our goals related to community schools are straightforward,” Thurmond continued. “Transform school climate through the implementation of restorative practices and steer away from punitive disciplinary practices that exclude and punish rather than embrace and repair.”
Thurmond sponsored community schools legislation in 2019 and, since the passage of the Community Schools Partnership Act, the CDE is leading the nation in implementing work to support the whole child and transform public education under Superintendent Thurmond’s leadership. Specifically:
- The CDE is awarding more than $700 million in grant awards for Planning and Implementation grants and more than $100 million in Technical Assistance grants through the California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP).
- The CDE and the SBE designed the California Community Schools Framework, which has become a national model for Transformational Community Schools implementation guidance.
- The CDE has awarded a total of 419 planning grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) across the state and 76 implementation grants to LEAs that support 458 school sites, 447 of which have an unduplicated student count of over 80 percent, making the CCSPP one of the most authentic equity- and racial-justice-driven transformation programs in the history of California’s public education.
Thurmond’s history with community schools, and the tremendous workload undertaken by his administration to prioritize this, are why he chose to host his inauguration event at Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles, a state-of-the-art facility that consists of six different pilot schools ranging from kindergarten to twelfth grade and enrolls more than 4,000 students.
The planning grants approved today by the SBE will provide 226 school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools with grants of up to $200,000 to work with families, educators, and community partners to plan for community schools. Grantees may apply in future years for grants to implement plans at schools.
With today’s vote, the CDE is awarding the third round of community schools grants that account for more than $700 million in total. The list of planning grants approved today can be found under Item 9 on the SBE March 2023 agenda. SBE President Linda Darling-Hammond stated, “Community schools provide supportive, nurturing, and inclusive learning environments to help all students thrive in academics and in life. In addition, they provide much-needed community resource hubs. I am grateful to the Governor, the Legislature, and the California Department of Education for their dedication to this important program.”
Community schools are a critical part of Thurmond’s Transforming California Schools Initiative. He is engaged in a series of visits to schools engaged in learning acceleration and attending to student mental health and the well-being of families. As part of that effort, he will continue to visit schools that have received CCSPP funding to highlight the transformational work happening on community school campuses. Next, Thurmond is scheduled to attend the grand opening of the Nicolas Community Center at Nicolas Junior High School in the Fullerton School District on Thursday, March 30.