Today, the U.S. Department of Education released a Notice Inviting Applications for the Full-Service Community Schools (FSCS) grant program that provides academic support and strengthens connections among schools, parents and families, and their surrounding communities. This program aligns with the priorities and vision set forth by the Biden-Harris Administration and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in support of high-quality educational opportunities for all students.
Full-service community schools play an important role in providing academic supports, integrated health and social services, and engagement opportunities to students while also creating stronger connections between families, communities, and their local public schools. These priorities align with the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to scale evidence-based approaches to support students’ academic, social, emotional, and physical well-being. President Biden requested Congress increase funding for the FSCS Program to $468 million in his fiscal year 2023 budget.
“When we invest in Full-Service Community Schools, we invest in the success of students, the well-being of families, and the strength of entire communities,” said Secretary Miguel Cardona. “These grants will help community schools provide quality wraparound services to students and their families, from access to health care and nutritional assistance, to tutoring and enrichment opportunities, to mental health supports and violence prevention programs. For low-income rural and urban communities hit hard by the pandemic, Full-Service Community Schools will help us meet the holistic needs of students, drive our recovery, and pave the way to a more equitable future.”
The Department released the Notice of Final Priorities, definitions, and requirements for the FSCS competitive grant program as well as the Notice Inviting Applications. The program will award $68 million to support community schools across the country. Through this commitment, the Department will help spur the planning and capacity-building, development, implementation, operation, and coordination of effective services for children and families, particularly in urban and rural areas with high rates of poverty.
The Full-Service Community Schools Program requires grantees to provide a continuum of coordinated supports to students that include social, health, nutrition, and mental health services and supports. The new program priorities emphasize quality implementation of the four pillars of community schools: integrated student supports that address out-of-school barriers to learning through partnerships with social and health service agencies and providers; expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities; active family and community engagement; and collabortive leadership and practices.
Additionally, three priorities were included to assist in scaling programs from their capacity-building or developmental phase to district and statewide phases. Recognizing the impact of school and community safety on learning, the Department is also interested in applications that are coordinating across multiple agencies and organizations to address community violence prevention and intervention.