Community Schools

“Every Community School should have a school-based health center”

– José Muñoz, Director, Coalition for Community Schools

Community Schools

A graphic showing the four pillars of Community SchoolsA community school is a school that utilizes a “whole child” approach to education. They integrate a focus on academics with health, social services, community development and community engagement. A robust community school will include the following four pillars:

  • Integrated student supports,
  • Family and community engagement,
  • Collaborative leadership and practices for educators and administrators, and
  • Extended learning time and opportunities.

SBHCs Are Aligned with Community Schools

California’s school-based health center (SBHC) model is a strong complementary asset to the goals and vision for community schools in the state. SBHCs are a way for community schools to bring reliable, affordable, quality health care services to students and their families in an accessible and coordinated way. 

  • SBHCs address the five outlined student needs in the Community Schools Framework
  • SBHCs create a site in a community school where school and community resources can be organized together and co-located
  • SBHCs allow for the community school to provide wrap-around services and care to students to help close the achievement gap and break down physical and mental health barriers to learning
  • Having support for basic needs allows students to participate fully in their education

SBHCs & Community Schools Work Together 

Graphic showing relationship between SBHCs and Community Schools

“Our SBHC staff have developed a rare institutional trust with students, families, and community members, which is essential for providing care. During shelter-in-place, our SBHCs and health partners have been able to lean into these existing relationships with our students and families … The bottom line is that SBHCs provide essential health care in Oakland’s most high-need neighborhoods.”

– Curtiss Sarikey, Oakland Unified School District, from School-Based Health Centers: Trusted Lifelines in a Time of Crisis



State Funding: California Community Schools Partnership Program

The California Department of Education introduced a new investment for the planning, implementation, and support of community schools through the California Community Schools Partnership Program. RFAs for planning, implementation, and technical assistance grants have been released with coordination grants to be released soon. The first round of RFAs were due April 1, 2022, but the CDE plans to release another round for planning and implementation grants in the fall of 2022. The goal of this program is to improve student outcomes through supporting schools in partnering with community agencies and local governments.

Funds through the Community Schools Partnership Program cannot be used for construction of School-based Health and Wellness Centers but can be used to purchase mobile health units to provide health, dental, vision and mental health services. LEAs can use this opportunity to launch new services using their own personnel, or partnering with community health providers.

More information can be found on CDE’s website.

How LEAs and Partners Can Braid New Funding to Support SBHCs

The California School-Based Health Alliance (CSHA) has a new guide for 2022 to assist in local planning and strategy that shows local education agencies (LEAs) and partners how they can braid together new state funding opportunities – including those for full-service community schools – to support new school-based health centers (SBHCs) or expand and improve existing SBHCs.