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Community Schools

The California Community Schools Partnership Program will transform educational outcomes for our most vulnerable students through establishing whole child, whole family, and whole community connections at the school sites.

Transforming California Schools Logo - Community Schools

The pandemic has exacerbated long-standing disparities in educational outcomes and has driven unprecedented learning loss for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. One response to this crisis is the community school movement, which has galvanized the first comprehensive rethinking of the role of schooling in the US since the end of the Cold War.

What Is a Community School?

A community school is a public school that serves prekindergarten through grade twelve and has community partnerships that support improved academic outcomes, whole-child engagement, and family development. Community school partnership strategies include integrated supports services, extended learning time, and collaborative leadership and practices for educators and administrators.

Community schools can increase equitable student learning outcomes by addressing the conditions for teaching and learning. Community schools support the needs of the whole child by strengthening family and community foundations with approaches that sustain mental and behavioral health through healing-centered practices, social–emotional learning, and restorative justice.

Community schools also ensure that students, families, and community members are embraced as full partners in every aspect of decision-making that affects the conditions for teaching and learning. Authentic power sharing and shared decision-making in all aspects of school governance is another cornerstone of community school implementation.

Community schools use this community-driven shared decision-making approach to increase access to nurses, counselors, and social workers. This creates campuses that are community hubs where students and families have easy access to the services needed to close opportunity gaps.

To support this effort, the California Department of Education (CDE) has launched the California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP) that operationalizes California’s nation-leading investment in community school implementation. To guide this once-in-a-generation investment toward equity outcomes, the CDE has written the CCSPP Community Schools Framework that outlines the core commitments the CDE expects from CCSPP community schools. A copy of the approved framework is available in Item 2 of the State Board of Education Agenda for January 2022.

For more information about the CCSPP, subscribe to the CCSPP-Info listserv by sending a blank message to

Additional information can be found on the CDE CCSPP Frequently Asked Questions (DOCX).

Community schools is one key part of State Superintendent Tony Thurmond’s Transforming School Initiatives.

Questions:   Executive Office | 916-319-0800
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, January 30, 2024
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