Children at eight Vancouver elementary schools will benefit from expanded or additional services in the coming years. An agreement among Vancouver Public Schools and 13 local organizations to establish full-service community schools recently received a boost in the form of a nearly $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
The funds will be used to bolster services at eight schools that serve higher numbers of students who are underrepresented or affected by poverty. Fruit Valley, King, Marshall, Ogden, Roosevelt, Washington elementary schools already have onsite Family-Community Resource Centers. Centers will launch at Eisenhower and Sacajawea elementary schools in fall 2020, bringing the total number of VPS schools with onsite FCRCs to 20. Two mobile FCRCs support schools without centers onsite.
Over five years, the grant will help pay for a variety of services for an estimated 10,000 children and adults:
- Early learning opportunities
- In-school and out-of-school programs
- Family and community engagement activities
- Post-high school and workforce-readiness services
- Community-based support
- Social, health, nutrition and mental health services
- Juvenile crime prevention programming
Goals include supporting children’s kindergarten readiness; fostering successful transitions from one academic year to the next; helping students read at grade level; enhancing student and family engagement; and increasing students’ social, emotional, behavioral, physical and mental health.
The model for full-service community schools will be developed and implemented sustainably as part of the Strengthening Neighborhoods Collaborative. The agreement to provide a comprehensive, coordinated pipeline of services includes the following organizations:
- Vancouver Housing Authority
- Free Clinic of Southwest Washington
- Southwest Washington Accountable Community of Health
- Clark County Public Health
- Council for the Homeless
- Partners in Careers
- The Children’s Center
- Children’s Home Society of Washington
- Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools
- Educational Service District 112
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington
“Access to high-quality early education opportunities have proven to have lasting gains, leading to better educational, health, social and economic outcomes later in life,” said Lead Early Childhood Education Specialist Kelly Mainka. “Our community’s children are the promise for a brighter future. It is our commitment to use these resources to pave a better path forward for our children and families.”