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Blueprint for PGCPS: Community Schools

Background

45 schools with our highest numbers of students living in poverty need additional supports to ensure students reach their highest potential. We will expand our wraparound services including additional health care practitioners, social workers and counselors, extended learning programs, transportation to school and many other initiatives to improve college and career readiness.

Update for School Year 2020-2021

Currently, 65 schools are identified as Community Schools under the Concentration of Poverty grant; Forty-five (45) of these schools were in place for the full 2019-20 school year, while an additional 20 schools were added beginning in the 2020-2021 school year. 

After each school receiving funding completed its needs assessment of required wraparound services for students by July 1, 2020, every school hired a community school coordinator and provided full-time health coverage by a healthcare practitioner. Funding from the state flowed directly to PGCPS and the school system allocated funding to each of the schools. Specifically, the funding was distributed in the following ways: 

  • Community School Coordinators: An employee of PGCPS who acts as a liaison between the school and the community to establish and maintain partnerships that support students, families, and the local community. 
  • Health Care Practitioner: Currently, sixty three (63) Community Schools have a Registered Nurse (RN) assigned to the schools (including all 45 Community Schools that were in place during SY2019-20). 
  • Wraparound Services: Each of the schools received $50,000 to support wraparound services. The funds were allocated directly to the schools and, with supervision by the Office of Community Schools, the schools will spend these funds on support services such as extended learning opportunities for students, English classes for parents, language classes for staff to help them communicate better with their parents, family engagement opportunities, and other services that will support the well-being of students, staff, and parents. 
  • Mental Health Supports: Many of the Community Schools’ school administrators have expressed the need for additional mental health supports (i.e., therapist, clinicians). To maximize funding efficiencies, approximately $6.7 million of the Concentration of Poverty grant funding will be allocated at the district level to hire additional mental health professionals to serve the 65 Community Schools and to provide mental health support to the community schools. 

The pandemic restructured PGCPS' ability to deliver in-person services and caused an unexpected shift to distance learning. As a result, all 45 schools had unspent Concentration of Poverty funds at the end of the 2019- 2020 school year. Additionally, students, faculty and staff did not return to the buildings due to safety regulations and technology barriers. Consequently, grant funds reserved for extended day staff salaries and wages, bus transportation, supplies, and materials were reallocated to support distance learning services and support programs. These services and programs include but are not limited to PSAT/SAT tutors, virtual art and dance clubs, enrichment activities focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and mathematics (STEM), book clubs, poetry, prose and spoken word clubs, and a financial literacy club.

December Survey 2020

Community Schools Update as of April 1, 2021

The concentration of poverty grants are awarded to public schools that educate students where at least 70% of them are eligible for free and reduced-price meals. The Director of the 65 identified community schools has diligently staffed each one with a community school coordinator. This role is vital to the success of our community schools as the coordinator establishes and maintains a connection between the school and its broader community. Thus, our 20 new Community School Coordinators will take part in The New Coordinator’s Boot Camp with Children’s Aid on April 29th and 30th.

Further, the District Steering Committee hosted a Mid-Year Reconvening with over 300 participants. Topics discussed included: mental health, the Parent Hotline, and how to leverage resources from the Department of Social Services. Since food scarcity is the number one concern for families, an additional highlight since January 2021, was the collaboration with PGCPS Food and Nutrition and the Bowie Produce Company, Inc. to create Family Food Boxes:

  • $110 feeds a family of 4 for 1 week.
  • $50 provides a fruit and vegetable box.