What Will ESSA Mean for Community Schools?

The Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaces No Child Left Behind, contains promising language to expand the programs and reach of community schools. For a general summary of its potential for community schools, please read the following ESSA commentary in The Washington Post by Martin Blank, the Executive Director of the Coalition for Community Schools: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2016/03/11/is-a-new-day-really-dawning-with-no-child-left-behinds-successor-law/?postshare=7661457703376842&tid=ss_mail

In particular, Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act contains key provisions in support of community schools, including:

  1. The mention of community partners who can provide needs assessments and a range of services within schools
  2. The use of non-academic indicators to measure school improvement
  3. The improvement of “school conditions for student learning” and identification of resource inequities
  4. Comprehensive needs assessments and schoolwide programs for targeted schools

In January, the Coalition for Community Schools submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Education in support of community school policies related to ESSA. The letter and other information about how ESSA can support community schools is available here:


New York City’s Bid for Community Schools

The Children’s Aid Society (CAS) opened its first community schools in 1992 and 1993 in the Washington Heights section of New York City to offer expanded social services and academic supports to its significant immigrant population. Since then, the organization has slowly expanded throughout some of the highest-poverty neighborhoods in the city, including East Harlem, the South Bronx and State Island. Today CAS collaborates with 19 community schools that are based on a “developmental triangle” of strong academic instruction, enrichment opportunities, and an array of health and social services designed to remove barriers to students’ success.

Then in 2014, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged $150 million to 94 “renewal schools” over the next two years, which added instructional time, professional teacher training, summer school programs and health/mental health services. The New York Times has recently published several interesting articles about the successes, challenges and research at these and other community schools throughout the country, and I will continue to post this information. Given New York City’s size and the scale of resources (now $400 million) devoted to the community school model, other communities are keeping close watch on its developments. Below are a few of the most recent articles about community schools in New York City.




For more information about the concept and fundamentals of community schools:


-Carolyn Birbiglia

Reading Room

August 22, 2016
Erie set to launch community school pilot program in GoErie.com

August 16, 2016
Community schools partnership works to embrace Milwaukee's children in On Milwaukee

August 9, 2016
NEA publishes article in support of community schools in NEA Today

August 6, 2016
David Kirp on school health services and NY community schools in The New York Times

August 2, 2016
Dallas community schools and politics in The Dallas Observer

July 2016
How marginalized families are pushed out of PTAs in The Atlantic

July 13, 2016
Pittsburgh School Board to vote on 'community schools' approach in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

June 26, 2016
Kids Count reports RI ranks 27th in child well-being in Providence Business Journal

June 24, 2016
Kids Count reports more RI kids in poverty but fewer uninsured in RI NPR

June 23, 2016
How community schools can beat summer learning loss in SFGate

June 6, 2016
When half of the pupils are homeless, schools serve important role in The New York Times

May 22, 2016
The lifetime benefits of early childhood parental supports and home visits in The New York Times

May 18, 2016
Community schools in NY find creative ways to boost attendance in DNAinfo

May 4, 2016
"Place-based" work helps students in rural Kentucky in HomeRoom: The Official Blog of the US Department of Education

April 29, 2016
Community schools seen as way out for some schools in NY state receivership in Syracuse.com

April 13, 2016
Philadelphia officials discuss April’s national community schools conference in Albuquerque: momentum clearly gaining in Philadelphia Public Schools "The Notebook"

April 4, 2016
Albuquerque finds success with its 20 community schools in The Albuquerque Journal

March 23, 2016
Philadelphia mayor plans to establish 25 community schools over next four years in Philly.com

March 11, 2016
The Director of the Coalition for Community Schools, Martin Blank, comments on the potential impact of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in The Washington Post

March 10, 2016
The Coalition for Community Schools publishes its latest research paper, “Transforming Struggling Schools into Thriving Schools”

March 1, 2016
New York State sets $250 million funding goal for community schools

February 22, 2016
Two superintendents discuss community school successes and lessons

February 11, 2016
David Denby of The New Yorker urges an increase in health and social services to improve student outcomes

Become a Friend of RIPCS

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Map of Rhode Island’s Community Schools