December 9, 2021
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Advisory Board to Guide $3 Billion Community Schools Strategy to Transform California Schools
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced today the formation of an Advisory Board to help guide the work of the California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP). The CCSPP is the largest investment in school transformation anywhere in the nation. It is a $3 billion project that will support schools that provide wraparound services for students impacted by the pandemic. Community schools integrate comprehensive, community-based services and programs that strengthen the health and well-being of students, families, and communities.
In California, community school programs accelerate school transformation processes so that students, families, educators, and community leaders work together to maximize assets and address gaps in order to remove long-standing barriers to academic achievement. Through the strength of this collaboration, community schools improve the conditions for teaching and learning so that youth of color and low-income students and their families are welcomed as partners in the efforts to ensure every child’s dream can come true through public education.
Examples of successful community schools strategies have thrived in California schools for years. The CCSPP expands these strategies statewide through an equity lens that will bring needed change to schools and communities most impacted by the pandemic. “I am excited to be leading the implementation of the community schools strategy at this moment in time when resources have never been more urgently needed by our students and families,”Thurmond said. “I have seen the significant benefits for students and have been working to expand the community schools model since 2012, when I helped the West Contra Costa Unified School District become a Full Services Community Schools District.”
Thurmond has sponsored community schools’ initiatives during his terms as a school board member and state legislator. Under his leadership, the California Department of Education (CDE) is currently implementing a $45 million community schools grant program. Thurmond is a trained social worker who worked for years on the front lines creating invention programs for students and their families in the East Bay. He has made the delivery of “whole child services” like community schools a centerpiece of his strategy to close equity gaps and provide a high-quality education for all of California’s 6 million students.
This community schools effort is expected to provide resources to a projected one-third of California schools across urban, rural, suburban, and frontier communities. The resources and investments that are part of this effort are expected to play a major role in helping students recover from the challenges of the pandemic and are important parts to a set of strategies funded by Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature. The community schools strategy is a key component of the Transformation of California Schools effort being led by Thurmond and the CDE. Other parts of this effort include Universal Preschool, Universal Meals, Expanded Learning programs, anti-racism training, mental health programs, and billions of dollars in resources to support the recruitment, training, and diversification of the workforce in California schools.
State Superintendent Thurmond will use the Community Schools Advisory Board to help guide the many elements of the implementation of the CCSPP. The Community Schools Advisory Board will not have purview over decisions that relate to the grant process itself, but will advise the State Superintendent on all programmatic elements of this historic school transformation effort. They will also help develop strategies for identifying future funding opportunities that make community schools sustainable as a cornerstone of education practice in California.
Individuals with expertise and direct experience related to community schools will be prioritized for the advisory board. Those interested in serving on the steering committee should email firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, December 17, 2021.
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100