Tulare, Fresno County schools gets $75 mill in grant money

(Kenny Goodman)

Schools in Tulare and Fresno County receive about $75 million to further the implementation of their community schools program, takes on a comprehensive approach to educating

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – School districts in Tulare and Fresno Counties will be granted 10% of Sacramento’s largest single investment in community schools.

The California State Board of Education approved $750 million in community schools implementation  on May 18. And according to the California Department of Education (CDE) this is the largest investment in community schools anywhere in the nation.

“This is an important moment for California’s public schools,” Tony Thurmond, state superintendent of public instruction said. “I have been a longtime advocate for community schools because they break down the barriers that limit student and family access to needed services and resources.”

Thurmond went on to say that they ensure that the school site itself becomes a community hub that elevates families’ strengths and deepens relationships between the campus and the community.

A community school is considered a “whole-child” school improvement strategy where the district and school work closely with teachers, students, families and partners. There are three different grant opportunities through the California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP): planning, implementation and extension grants. Implementation Grants are for new community schools, or for the expansion or continuation of existing community schools.

This approval builds on successful efforts to accelerate student learning through an integrated approach focused on academics, health and social services and family and community engagement according to a press release from the CDE. The implementation grants were approved by the The California State Board of Education (SBE). Of the 128 school districts, county offices of education and charter schools who were granted approval, eight are in Tulare and Fresno Counties. This funding will provide these awardees with five-year grants of up to $500,000 per year to work with families, educators and partners to implement community schools.

In Tulare and Fresno Counties, the districts who were granted funding include:

  • Tulare City Schools – $16,862,500
  • Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District – $9,025,000
  • Dinuba Unified School District – $8,312,500
  • Visalia Unified School District – $2,612,500
  • Fresno County Superintendent of Schools – $14,012,500
  • Selma School District – $13,062,500
  • Kingsburg Elementary Charter School District – $7,837,500
  • Parlier Unified School District – $3,562,500

This is the third round of community schools grants the CDE has awarded that account for more than $750 million in total. The program is designed to transform educational outcomes for students through a whole child and whole family approach. This approach brings an array of services to the school site in order to strengthen students’ assets and improve conditions for teaching and learning. Community schools partner with education, county and other nonprofit entities to provide integrated health, mental health and social services alongside high-quality, supportive instruction with a strong focus on community, family and student engagement. California has 1,027 community school sites across the state.

SBE President Linda Darling-Hammond stated in a press release from the CDE that she is grateful to the Governor, the Legislature and the California Department of Education for their dedication to this program.

“Community schools provide supportive, nurturing, and inclusive learning environments to help all students thrive in academics and in life,”  Darling-Hammond said. “In addition, they provide much-needed community resource hubs.”

Thurmond sponsored community schools legislation in 2019 and since the passage of the Community Schools Partnership Act, the CDE is leading the nation in implementing work to support the whole child and transform public education under his leadership.

  • To date, the CDE has awarded more than $1.4 billion in grant awards for planning and implementation grants and more than $100 million in technical assistance contracts through the CCSPP.
  • The CDE and the SBE designed the California Community Schools Framework, which has become a national model for transformational community schools implementation guidance.
  • The CDE has awarded a total of 419 planning grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) across the state and 204 implementation grants to LEAs supporting 1,028 school sites, most of which have an unduplicated student count of over 70 percent, making the CCSPP the most equity- and racial-justice-driven transformation program in the history of California’s public education.

“Our community schools’ goals are straightforward,” Thurmond stated in the CDE release. “We intend to change academic outcomes for all of California’s students, but our investment will start in communities that have shouldered the burden of economic disinvestment for decades.”

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