Community schools promote positive, equitable outcomes by providing students and families with the physical and mental health, academic, and extracurricular supports needed to thrive.
Community schools serve as hubs that bring families, communities, and partners together to remove barriers to learning. Using an asset-based approach, community schools strive to strengthen connections to generate improved student outcomes.
Maryland continues to prioritize community schools through the Blueprint for Maryland's Future. This landmark legislation is designed to improve the quality of education for Mayland students and close achievement gaps. Included in this legislation are Concentration of Poverty grants for schools that serve large populations of students experiencing poverty. These grants aim to serve students, families, and the community by establishing community schools.
While all schools provide support to students, community schools work in collaboration with community partners, local governments, and other stakeholders to provide wraparound services that address barriers to learning and success. Community schools leverage the power of neighborhoods through asset-based approaches that strengthen the connections between home, school, and communities and create change for the people that they serve.
Community schools work in collaboration with community partners, local governments, and other stakeholders to identify and address structural and institutional barriers to achievement. Leveraging the power of the collective allows community schools to provide resources to students and families where they need it the most—neighborhoods that have been historically underfunded and underserved. Community schools provide a wide array of wraparound services that enhance student’s ability to be successful.
Examples of wraparound services:
Extended learning time
Extended school year
Safe transportation to and from school
Vision and dental services
Expanded school-based health center services
Additional social workers, counselors, and psychologists
Additional mentors and restorative practice coaches
Healthy food in-school and out-of-school
Access to mental health practitioners
Concentration of Poverty Grant
In Maryland, a community school is any school that receives Concentration of Poverty Grants. The grants are formula-based and awarded to schools on an annual basis. The determining factor for eligibility is the 4-year average of the percentage of the school’s students living in poverty (excluding 2020-2021 school year), as determined by the compensatory education enrollment. This is essentially the number of students receiving free and reduced price meals.
The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future legislation provides Concentration of Poverty Grants for personnel and wraparound services in community schools and requires needs assessments and implementation plans to be submitted to the Maryland State Department of Education.
Used to hire a Community School Coordinator and a professional Healthcare Practitioner. After those positions are filled, the community school can use the remaining funds to provide wraparound services.
Calculated based on the number of students living in poverty attending the school. The grants are awarded to the school based on a sliding scale and are used to provide a wide variety of wraparound services.
Learn more about community schools in Maryland, Concentration of Poverty Grants, the Maryland Consortium on Coordinated Community Supports, and other related programs created or expanded through the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.
View the Blueprint Deep Dive:
Coordinated Community Supports in Maryland Presentation
Dr. Lynne E. Muller-O'Keefe
Interim Director of Community Schools, Division of Student Support, Academic Enrichment, and Educational Policy
Office: (410) firstname.lastname@example.org