Bring wraparound services into schools or nearby locations
Unaddressed nonacademic needs of students – for reliable and affordable health care and mental health services, stable housing, physical activity, adequate nutrition and other community supports – can quickly derail academic progress even in high-quality schools. As but one example, homelessness poses a serious threat to success in school, making it essential that city and school leaders work together to expand access to services that provide immediate shelter and longer-term housing solutions for families with children. Strong counseling and mental health services can also support young people’s social development and promote a more positive school culture. Students and their families are more likely to take advantage of key services and supports when they are easily available and conveniently located in or near public school buildings.
Support the creation and expansion of community schools
Using public schools as neighborhood hubs, the community schools model brings together diverse partners, including city governments, to offer a range of supports and opportunities to children, youth and families. Community schools can include health and social services, out-of-school time programs, adult education, environmental education, service-learning opportunities, and financial empowerment programs. Each community school has its own site coordinator to help cultivate and manage these partnerships, bringing an integrated focus on student learning and family well-being. City leaders can ensure that municipal agencies are fully engaged in and contributing resources to community school efforts, while at the same time utilizing these schools as anchors and assets in broader initiatives to strengthen neighborhoods.
Develop dual-generation programs that bolster the skills of parents as well as children
A growing body of research suggests that children’s academic achievement and broader well-being are enhanced when their parents acquire new skills and greater economic stability. Dual-generation approaches seek to fuel an intergenerational cycle of opportunity by simultaneously investing in the education and skills of young children and their parents. City leaders can seek to ensure that municipal agencies bring key services and resources to the table as part of such innovative strategies, including child care services, literacy and workforce development programs, and opportunities for afterschool and summer learning.