Original article written by Lauren Camera for US News
Though their popularity has waxed and waned for more than a century, a full court press is underway from the White House, states and education officials to make community schools stick.
Community schools are public schools that focus on the immediate needs of the communities they serve, from providing health and dental clinics to establishing food banks and clothing drives to providing stable housing or language and job attainment classes.
Their purpose is to understand what the families of their students need and then find a way to provide that support – something that often happens naturally in communities with more economic, social and political capital but which is often left unchecked in low-income and socio-economically diverse neighborhoods.
Research shows that community schools have a wide range of positive impacts on students and throughout the community, from improving attendance, academic achievement and graduation rates, to reducing disciplinary actions and increasing the physical and mental health of students and their families. One analysis found that community schools yield up to $15 in social benefits for every dollar invested. And they've proven especially important for underserved students and their families, who experience higher rates of economic insecurity, food scarcity and mental health challenges.
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