By: Lauren Perrodin

In July 2021, California passed a historic $3 billion investment in the California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP). It’s meant to provide funding and sufficient resources to high-poverty schools in California. It levels the playing field so that no matter what zip code a child lives in, they have access to the same resources and support as anyone else.

Let's explore what community schools are, why they’re significant and what whole-child education really entails.

What is a community school and why is it important?

A community school is a publicly funded school that focuses on what the community needs to be successful. It allows children to learn in an environment where they feel heard, challenged and safe while offering them the opportunity to excel. The program marries academics, health and social services for the local youth.

Through this initiative, the community addresses the conditions of teaching and learning in the area before program implementation. It uses social-emotional learning and restorative justice practices to heal the community. Schools become safe places for families and students to have easy access to services they need to close opportunity gaps — a whole-child support system.

These efforts are supported by local education agencies (LEAs), or the local entity in education that supplies public schools with funding, resources and planning.

What does the whole-child CCSPP entail?

This program is allocated through June 20, 2028, and is a youth-based behavioral health and education initiative. It aims to support not only a child’s academic well-being but also their mental and physical soundness. This program includes:

  • Increased staffing for high-needs schools.
  • Professional learning for educators.
  • Universal transitional kindergarten.
  • Child care programs.

Families need multiple layers of support to ensure a child’s success in school. A safe environment where a child feels they can relax, allows them to focus more on their education, instead of worrying about outside issues. In short, this program allows a child to be just that — someone whose only responsibility is to learn, play and grow.

How will CCSPP be implemented?

The planning phase for this program will conclude in 2023. Next, the state will begin establishing new community schools or expanding existing community centers to support the initiative. Starting in 2024 through the end of 2025, California will begin coordinating grants to further ensure that community schools are properly funded.

Teachers need no additional credentials to teach in a community school, but it's always good to expand your knowledge base. UCR University Extension offers credentials and certificates to help support teachers wanting to expand their skill set.