EVSC Receives $2.5 Million Grant to Fund Full Service Community School Opportunities



November 16, 2010

EVSC Receives $2.5 Million Grant to Fund Full Service Community School Opportunities

The Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation has received a $2.5 million grant ($500,000 over five years) that will be used to coordinate education, health, social services and community programs district-wide, so that children and families can succeed in school and in our community, said Superintendent Vince Bertram during a news conference today (11-16-10). The U.S. Department of Education grant will help EVSC expand its Full-Service Community Schools initiatives. The EVSC was among 11 school districts selected nationally from more than 250 applicants from around the nation.

“Through this program, the EVSC plans to transform high poverty and persistently low achieving schools into Full-Service Community Schools (FSCS). Elements will include early childhood learning centers, after school and summer programs, a college access network, access to health services, social and emotional supports and alternatives to suspensions and expulsions,” Bertram said.

A full-service community school is a public elementary or secondary school that works with its local educational agency (LEA) and community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, and other public or private entities to provide a coordinated and integrated set of comprehensive academic, social, and health services that respond to the needs of students, students’ family members, and community members. In addition, a full-service community school promotes family engagement by bringing together partnering organizations in order to offer a range of supports and opportunities for students, students’ family members, and community members.

In 2000, the EVSC spearheaded the development of a district-wide community school initiative called the School-Community Council. To date, more than 70 community organizations, businesses, and faith-based partners are collaborating to support schools. Components of the FSCS program are already in place at some EVSC schools. Schools that will be targeted with this grant funding include the Academy for Innovative Studies (6-12), Cedar Hall Community School (preK-8), Culver Family Learning Center (ages 3-5); Lincoln School (K-8); and McGary Middle School (6-8).

“We have a committed community and they have been working alongside us to address the diverse needs of our families and children,” said Cathlin Gray, associate superintendent for family, school, and community partnerships. “This grant will allow us to strengthen and grow that work. The grant will also be used to align our work to the School District’s Expectations for Excellence –

We believe that ‘Achieving our mission of Equity and Excellence for ALL children is a shared responsibility among EVSC faculty and staff, families and students, and our community.’ ”

On hand for the announcement today, was Martin Blank, president of the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, D.C., and director of the Coalition for Community Schools. Patricia Weinzapfel, project director for the Full-Service Community Schools grant, explained that Blank has been to the EVSC four times to help assist the community as the school district and area organizations worked to form these partnerships to aid students. Weinzapfel noted that Blank actually was a large catalyst in funding being available for the grant program. “He was a pioneer in helping secure dollars at the federal level to support the Full Service Community School Grants – the very grant we are announcing here today.”

The EVSC’s Full-Service Community School (FSCS) initiative will enhance existing resources and integrate services into a comprehensive network of programs. The FSCS mission in the EVSC is to establish school sites as places of community to enhance youth and family development. According to the Department of Education website on the grant program, the FSCS grants come from the Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE), which is authorized by section 5411 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). It supports nationally significant programs to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education at the state and local levels and help all children meet challenging academic content and academic achievement standards. The FSCS program, which is funded under FIE, encourages coordination of academic, social, and health services through partnerships among(1) public elementary and secondary schools; (2) the schools’ local educational agencies (LEAs); and (3) community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, and other public or private entities.