GPSN spoke with school leaders, LAUSD officials, and experts to compile best practices and recommendations for advocates and schools looking to adopt or expand the community school strategy.
Community School Insights: An Opportunity to Catalyze Transformational Change for Schools and Communities provides an in-depth look at the community schools model in Los Angeles, including the selection process, planning, and funding opportunities available through LAUSD’s Community Schools Initiative. The brief demonstrates the potential that community schools have to address systemic inequities through integrated supports and community collaboration.
The brief features a case study spotlighting Mendez High School, an exemplary community school in Boyle Heights that demonstrates the power of this approach to drive collaborative leadership, integrated supports, and community engagement.
- Research shows community schools can help close achievement gaps, improve academic outcomes, increase graduation rates, and create better school climates and cultures.
- The LAUSD Community Schools Initiative has funded and supported over 50 schools since 2017, with a goal of reaching 70 total schools by 2025. There is an established selection process and planning framework to guide interested schools.
- California recently invested over $4 billion in community school grants through the California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP), offering robust funding opportunities for schools through 2031. LAUSD combines these state grants with district funding commitments.
- The community roots, relationship building, and collaborative leadership culture at Mendez High School spotlighted in the brief offer lessons and best practices for developing an impactful community school model. This spotlight shows the opportunity to establish a school culture and environment that is responsive to the needs of students and their community.
Interviewees from community school efforts at the school site and at the district level provided invaluable expertise for this brief.