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Community Schools

While all schools provide support to students, community schools work in collaboration with community partners, local governments, and other stakeholders to provide wraparound services that address barriers to learning and success.

Community schools leverage the power of neighborhoods through assets-based approaches that strengthen the connections between home, school, and communities and create change for the people that they serve.

In 2019, Senate Bill 1030 (5-203) defined community schools as “a public school that establishes a set of strategic partnerships between the school and other community resources that promote student achievement, positive learning conditions, and the well-being of students by providing wraparound services.”

What is a Community School?

Community Partners

  • Provide Comprehensive Services
    (health, mental health, social services, community education/development)
  • Link Families to Existing Resources
  • Provide Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Supports
  • Support Families at All Levels from Prenatal through High School

Integrated Student Supports

A dedicated staff member coordinates support programs to address out-of-school learning barriers for students and families. Mental and physical health services support student success.

SMCSO COPs Unit delivers cold weather gear for needy residents

Angela Nero from George Washington Carver Elementary School

Angela Nero from George Washington Carver Elementary School accepts generous donation from St. Mary's Sheriff's COPs Unit.

Dorothy Cole from Lexington Park Elementary School

Dorothy Cole from Lexington Park Elementary School accepts generous donation from St. Mary's Sheriff COPs Unit

SMCPS Community Schools

Community School OST Photo 1

Expanded and Enriched Learning Time and Opportunities

Enrichment activities emphasize real-world learning and community problem solving. After-school, weekend, and summer programs provide academic instruction and individualized support.

Community School OST Photo 2

Integrated Student Supports

Parents, students, teachers, principals, and community partners build a culture of professional learning, collective trust, and shared responsibility through site-based leadership teams and teacher learning communities.

Our Partners

  • ​​​​​​ Hollywood Church of the Nazarene
  • Lexington Park United Methodist Church
  • LifeStyles
  • Mt Calvary UMC and St Matthews UMC
  • Our Lady's Church at Medley's Neck
  • Southern Maryland Food Bank and Outreach services- Snack Saks
  • St Mary's Caring soup kitchen
  • St Mary's College of Maryland Athletics
  • St. Mary's County (Lexington Park) Sheriffs COPS Unit
  • St. Mary's County Health Dept.
  • The Nu Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc
  • To Tell the Truth Ministries
  • Trinity Lutheran Church
  • University of Maryland Extension St. Mary's
  • Word and Spirit Church

Community School Staff Roles

  • COMMUNITY SCHOOL COORDINATOR (CSC) Community schools provide a variety of wraparound services tailored to meet the needs of the students, families, and communities. Under the direction of the Program Coordinator of Community Schools, in collaboration with the elementary school principal, the Community School Coordinator will plan and provide overall comprehensive support for the designated Community School. This position will be a part of the school's leadership and support teams. The Community School Coordinator will work with the school's leadership team, school staff, community agencies, parents and other relevant stakeholders to develop a comprehensive needs assessment for the schools and strategic plan to support the community school focus of wrap-around services for students including (but not limited to): extended learning for students in out-of-school time opportunities, expansion of school-based health and wellness services for students, expansion of family engagement and support services for families, supports/programs to improve student attendance and training for school staff and community partners to successfully meet the community schools mission and vision. This position will work in a collaborative partnership between SMCPS and EASMC. The Community School Coordinator will meet the commitment to students by serving as an advocate, a role model, and a supporter of diversity (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, developmental differences, learning styles, and exceptionalities). This position will be evaluated by the school principals in coordination with the central office Program Coordinator of Community Schools.
  • SCHOOL HEALTH NURSE  In collaboration with the Community Schools Coordinator, the school health nurse implements a structured wellness program for diverse populations, advocating and promoting wellness, a healthy and active lifestyle, and healthy eating behaviors in assigned schools.  The school health nurse will provide materials and resources for school staff to engage and instruct students in matters related to wellness, fitness, and positive emotional and behavioral health.  Supports the goals and objectives of the SMCPS Community Schools model. 
  • PARENT/FAMILY ENGAGEMENT ASSISTANT helps build and strengthen positive relationships with families, and works collaboratively with school leaders, staff, and community organizations to develop and implement family engagement activities. They support families by guiding them through the school system, helping to build their ability to advocate for their student’s academic success, especially those who may be facing language, cultural or economic barriers.
  • IRT/INTERVENTIONIST meets the instructional needs of the Community School and school system by effectively delivering instructional programs.  The IRT works with other staff within the school to mentor, model, guide, and enhance the delivery of instruction to students and/or work with individual students or small groups to provide focused instruction.  The IRT will support instructional stratagies and materials for the teaching staff and students who participate in the Community School OST (Out of School Time) and Family Engagement Programs.

History of Maryland Community Schools

Community schools have been present in some of Maryland’s local school systems for more than 25 years.

Prior to The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, both Baltimore City and Montgomery County had established community schools. A 2016 evaluation of Baltimore City’s community school strategy found that community schools had higher rates of daily attendance in elementary and middle schools and decreased rates of chronic absenteeism in community schools that had been established for five or more years. Additionally, families of students attending community schools were more likely to report being connected to the school, and students in grades 6, 9, and 10 were less likely to transfer to another school than students who did not attend community schools.

Recognizing the value of early community school strategies in Montgomery County and Baltimore City, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation in 2019 that defined and described various aspects of community schools. In 2021, The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future became law. The Blueprint reflects Maryland’s commitment to establishing and sustaining high-quality community schools that meet critical needs. Maryland is now home to more than 300 community schools serving students from 17 local education agencies.

Commmunity School OST Photo 3