by John L. Micek, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
January 20, 2023
Community school programs in eastern and western Pennsylvania are among the 42 institutions that will share in $63 million in federal grant money aimed at expanding or establishing community school programs nationwide, the Biden administration said this week.
Community Schools in Eastern Pennsylvania, an Allentown-based nonprofit, and Communities in Schools Pittsburgh-Allegheny County, headquartered in Pittsburgh, respectively will receive $500,000 and $1.27 million in assistance, the administration said in a statement it released Wednesday.
The money, channeled through the Full-Service Community Schools grant program, will pay for capacity-building and other needs for the two institutions, according to the White House.
In a statement, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona called the schools an “essential component of accelerating our students’ learning and supporting their social, emotional, and mental health, and deepening community partnerships.
“At the height of the pandemic, community schools connected students and families with vital nutrition assistance, mental, physical, and other health services, and expanded learning opportunities,” Cardona continued.
According to the administration, this year’s round of funding received the largest number of applications in the history of the program, “demonstrating the enormous need to have a continuum of coordinated support to address students’ academic, social, emotional and mental health needs,” the administration said in its statement.
The administration pointed to studies showing that “well-implemented community schools — with integrated student supports, active family and community engagement, expanded and enriched learning time, and collaborative leadership practices — can lead to improved student and school outcomes, particularly for students in high-poverty schools.”
The new round of funding “represents a huge step toward the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of doubling the number of Full-Service Community Schools across the country and raising the bar for our support of children,” Cardona said.
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