[ A Closer Look ]

Interested in having a community school in your district?

Resources are available to help you get started.

Apply for federal grants

With strong bipartisan support, community schools have received steady funding increases over the past few years at the federal level. From the Full-Service Community Schools Grant program, to the Promise Neighborhoods federal grant program and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, the U.S. Department of Education offers a variety of resources. Visit PublicSchoolsUniteUs.org/CommunitySchools for information.

NYSUT advocacy continues at the state level

In the upcoming legislative session, NYSUT will continue to advocate for allocating $100 million in state budget funds specifically for community schools.

Thanks to NYSUT advocacy last session, the 2022 state budget included COVID-19 recovery grants, which provide $100 million for the 2022–23 and 2023–24 school years to address student well-being and learning loss due to the pandemic. Districts can use the funds to hire mental health professionals; expand school-based mental health services or evidence-based mental health supports for students; and to create or expand summer, after-school or extended day or year programs for students.

For every $1 invested in establishing and supporting a community school, the national average return on investment is $7.30

Community schools are a good investment!

  • For every $1 invested in establishing a community school and hiring a school director/coordinator, the national average return on investment is $7.30.
  • The average ROI for a community school director/coordinator is $14 for every $1 invested.
  • According to data from the UFT’s United Community Schools, a $100,000 investment in a community school director/coordinator can reap $600,000 in services and grants.

Why is my union advocating for this?

“Union involvement in community schools is important because our members are closest to the front lines when it comes to working with students and their families,” said Andy Pallotta, NYSUT president. “Educators have a deep understanding of the kind of issues they face and are best suited to help find solutions.”

Unions also have the organizational structure and expertise to help get community schools established. From a strong political voice, to technical capacities, to connections within the state education system, unions are integral to helping districts navigate the community school process.

best practices graphic
best practices graphic

Best practices

Have a plan and a vision:

  • Educate union members about how they can help with planning and implementation.

Form an internal task force:

  • Train building reps and union leadership.

Conduct a needs and asset assessment:

  • Organize resources to meet the needs of students, families and school staff.
  • Look at your existing partners. Are they the right ones? Are they being used effectively?

    Build capacity:

    • Leverage labor-management relationships.
    • Engage in curriculum planning and professional development.
    • Hire a community school director/coordinator.

    Identify sustainable funding sources:

    • Explore grants and other resources you may qualify for.