While all schools provide support to students, community schools work in collaboration with community partners, local governments, and other stakeholders to provide wraparound services that address barriers to learning and success.
Community schools leverage the power of neighborhoods through assets-based approaches that strengthen the connections between home, school, and communities and create change for the people that they serve.
In 2019, Senate Bill 1030 (5-203) defined community schools as “a public school that establishes a set of strategic partnerships between the school and other community resources that promote student achievement, positive learning conditions, and the well-being of students by providing wraparound services.”
MCPS Community Schools serve as hubs that provide students, families, and communities with needed wraparound services. We provide equitable services and outcomes to students, families, and communities.
Community Schools will provide the health, mental health, academic, and extracurricular support services needed to flourish. We focus on family and community engagement, culturally responsive relationship building, mental and emotional health, trauma informed practices, restorative practices, and physical health and wellness in addition to MCPS’ quality instruction. Our goal is to promote equity while prioritizing the critical needs of students and caregivers urgent to their wellbeing.
Community Schools Coordinator
Student and Family Support and Engagement
Community schools have been present in some of Maryland’s local school systems for more than 25 years.
Prior to The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, both Baltimore City and Montgomery County had established community schools. A 2016 evaluation of Baltimore City’s community school strategy found that community schools had higher rates of daily attendance in elementary and middle schools and decreased rates of chronic absenteeism in community schools that had been established for five or more years. Additionally, families of students attending community schools were more likely to report being connected to the school, and students in grades 6, 9, and 10 were less likely to transfer to another school than students who did not attend community schools.
Recognizing the value of early community school strategies in Montgomery County and Baltimore City, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation in 2019 that defined and described various aspects of community schools. In 2021, The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future became law. The Blueprint reflects Maryland’s commitment to establishing and sustaining high-quality community schools that meet critical needs. Maryland is now home to more than 300 community schools serving students from 17 local education agencies.
A dedicated staff member coordinates support programs to address out-of-school learning barriers for students and families. Mental and physical health services support student success.
Enrichment activities emphasize real-world learning and community problem solving. After-school, weekend, and summer programs provide academic instruction and individualized support.
Parents, students, teachers, principals, and community partners build a culture of professional learning, collective trust, and shared responsibility through site-based leadership teams and teacher learning communities.