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Community Schools

Community schools serve as hubs that promote positive, equitable outcomes by connecting students, families, and school communities with local supports and resources to help them thrive. Community schools address the whole child and leverage partnerships that promote student achievement, positive learning conditions and student well-being through additional services like academic and language supports, nutrition supports, as well as behavioral and general health care that go beyond traditional classroom education.

Howard County Public School System is planning to designate its first-ever community schools for the 2023-24 school year. These sites will be funded through the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, a law mandating the use of programs and innovative approaches to eradicate achievement gaps and ensure opportunity for every student. Under Blueprint, community schools receive funds from a Concentration of Poverty Grant (CPG). Additional grant funding through the Maryland Leads Initiative from the Maryland State Department of Education will be used and alternative funding sources will be sought as new community schools are added within the system.

Community schools implement
six key practices:

  • Powerful student and family engagement.
  • Collaborative leadership and shared power and voice.
  • Expanded and enriched learning opportunities.
  • Rigorous, community-connected classroom instruction.
  • Culture of belonging, safety, and care.
  • Integrated systems of support.

Programs and Services

Community schools provide services essential to students’ ability to learn and thrive in school. Because students’ and families’ needs vary by community, the services provided at individual schools vary as well.

Examples of services provided by community schools include:

  • Enhanced behavioral health services, including access to mental health practitioners school staff trained in trauma–informed interventions
  • Improving the learning environment at the school
  • Any professional development for teachers and school staff to quickly identify students who need behavioral health resources
  • Improving student attendance
  • Additional social workers, mentors, counselors, psychologists, and restorative practices coaches
  • Extended learning time, including before and after school, weekends, summer school, and an extended school year
  • Safe transportation to and from school and off–site apprenticeship programs
  • Vision and dental care services, establishing or expanding school–based health center services, enhancing physical wellness, including providing healthy food for in–school and out–of–school time, and connections to community providers
  • Providing family and community engagement and supports
  • Connecting families to Judy and Patty centers and other family support programs
  • Enhancing student enrichment experiences, including educational field trips, partnerships, and cultural arts programs institutions
  • Contact

    For more information about HCPSS’ community schools, please contact