Last week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) issued a notice inviting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2022 for the Full-Service Community Schools (FSCS) program. The FSCS program will provide $68 million in funding to support the planning, implementation, and operation of federal FSCS. The program will improve the coordination, integration, accessibility, and effectiveness of whole child services for children and families. This is particularly valuable for learners attending schools with high poverty rates.
The Southern Education Foundation (SEF) strongly supports school-based efforts that integrate and increase access to whole child services, such as education, family, health, and other comprehensive student needs, through community partnerships. We encourage states, school districts, and local community-based organizations to utilize this funding opportunity to address the comprehensive and diverse needs of local communities. For example, potential community school grantees can propose integrated efforts to close academic opportunity gaps, address the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, improve family engagement services, or expand food or nutritional services.
About Full-Service Community Schools
According to the U.S. Department of Education, a full-service community school is “a public elementary or secondary school that uses established partnerships between schools and community organizations to provide well-rounded educational opportunities and meet the social, emotional, physical and mental health and academic needs of students.” SEF appreciates the Department’s commitment to whole child supports by elevating the comprehensive needs of students by administering this year’s grant competition and proposing to increase the FSCS program to $468 million in the President’s FY 2023 budget request. These actions will allow more schools, students, families, and communities to benefit from a comprehensive set of services.
The FSCS FY 2022 application, however, includes five absolute priorities and two competitive preference priorities. The absolute priorities must: (1) serve a minimum of two or more full-service community schools eligible for a schoolwide program; (2) serve at least two full-service community schools in a small or rural setting; (3) propose projects that initiate or coordinate findings outlined in the needs assessment; (4) propose projects to implement and sustain full-service community schools in two or more school districts; and (5) partner with the state and include a written commitment from the State Education Agency (SEA) to participate in the partnership and to sustain the program beyond 2 years after the term of the grant.
Additionally, the competitive preference grant priorities include: (1) meeting student social, emotional, and academic needs and (2) strengthening cross-agency coordination and community engagement to advance systemic change. Applicants can earn up to five points for each of the competitive preference priorities.
The estimated annual average grant award amount will range from $450k – $7.5 million, administered to roughly 40 successful grantees.
- July 13, 2022: Application became available.
- August 12, 2022: ED encourages applicants to submit their notice of intent to apply so ED will be able to develop a more efficient process to review grant applications. The notice should be sent to FSCS@ed.gov. However, applicants who do not send a notice of intent to apply may still apply for funding.
- September 12, 2022: Deadline for Transmittal of Applications.
- November 10, 2022: Deadline for Intergovernmental Review.
- U.S. Office of Elementary and Secondary (OESE) Full-Service Community Schools Program
- U.S. Department of Education: Professional Learning Series on Community Schools
- Southern Education Foundation’s Public Policy Priorities
- Southern Education Foundation’s Community Schools Fact Sheet
- Southern Education Foundation’s Community Schools Report: Transforming Struggling Schools Into Thriving Schools
- Partnership for the Future of Learning: Community School Playbook
By Fred Jones