New and Alternative Sources of Student Support and Funding

Philanthropy has been, and will continue to be, a potential source of funding for a variety of education programs and initiatives. In addition to these funds, city or county funding streams and services may be tapped by schools and districts to help meet the needs of the whole child. Leveraging these alternative resources can help provide students with necessary supports and services. Integrating quality services and funding streams can support the healthy development of students and in turn support their academic achievement.

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Communities in Schools (CIS): This dropout prevention model is more than 30-years old and is designed to provide a range of services to at-risk students inside their school buildings. To facilitate integration of services, CIS places a site coordinator in its partner schools to work with school staff to identify at-risk students and their specific needs. CIS coordinators work with businesses, service agencies, health providers, and parent and volunteer organizations to secure the necessary services to support students and empower them to stay in school. CIS reports an annual per student cost of $192, and spans a network of 25 states and the District of Columbia.

Strive: The Strive model brings together community leaders from the business, civic, and academic sectors with the goal of building an education coalition to support the success of every child. Based on a common community vision, coalition partners focus on what works, and coordinating and aligning resources to support these strategies across the cradle to career continuum. To facilitate this work, Strive has developed a Cradle-to-Career Roadmap designed to track progress. This progress is reported to the community and used by funders to align their giving. Additional link here.

Community schools: Community schools are a set of partnerships between schools and community-based organizations to provide comprehensive academic, health, and social services to students and their families. These schools serve as a central location to connect the school community with available services and opportunities, creating the conditions for students to achieve in school and beyond. When schools and community partners collaborate to address community challenges such as poverty, violence, poor physical health, and family instability—and align their resources to achieve common results—children are more likely to succeed academically, socially, emotionally, and physically.

  • Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) – Multnomah County, Oregon’s SUN initiative is a county-led community schools effort. In collaboration with the City of Portland, six area school districts, dozens of community-based organizations, and the state of Oregon, the SUN initiative currently operates in 60 schools. Under the initiative, the city and county pool their various resources to provide students with social services and enrichment opportunities. Leveraging local resources has also attracted new funding, including philanthropic support, to ensure that an array of services is available to students and their families.
  • Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC) – This district-wide community school system in Indiana includes a network of more than 70 community organizations, businesses, and faith-based partners that have leveraged their funding streams to serve students in 42 schools. By blending district, state, and federal resources, EVSC is able to provide students and families with afterschool and summer programs, early childhood programs, parent education and involvement programs, programs for non-English speaking families, physical education and sports programs, substance abuse programs, programs to strengthen families and youth, and various health programs.

School-based health centers: There are approximately 2,000 school-based health centers around the country providing health care services to students, ranging from medical and dental care, to mental-health and social services. These centers are funded by a network of local health care organizations such as community health centers, hospitals, local health departments, nonprofits, universities, mental health agencies, and in some cases, school districts. Local, state, federal, and philanthropic dollars also support the work of these centers. Additional link here.

  • Lutheran Family Health Centers (LFHC) – Lutheran Family Health Centers in Brooklyn, NY, operates 15 school-based centers in every elementary and junior high school in Sunset Park. These centers provide students with primary medical care, mental health counseling, and dental services. LFHC is also a Promise Neighborhoods grantee.
  • Health Centers in Schools – Located in Baton Rouge, LA, this nonprofit organization operates health centers in 11 East Baton Rouge public schools. Each Center provides medical and mental health services and is staffed with a registered nurse, a nurse practitioner, a mental health therapist, a clinic coordinator, and a social worker. Specialists, including vision and dental providers and psychiatrists, can also be brought to the Centers to provide specialty services. Funding to support these centers comes in part from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ Office of Public Health, as well as a group of 30 local partners.
  • HealthConnect in Our Schools – This initiative is an alternative model of school-based health care. It is part of a three tiered, quality-driven health initiative in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Teams consisting of nurses or nurse practitioners, health technicians, and social workers provide health and mental health services to students in 180 schools. Each team works with two schools to administer basic services to students. The work of HealthConnect is funded by The Children’s Trust, the Florida Department of Health, and the Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Educational Service Agencies: Educational service agencies are public entities created by state statute to work with local schools and districts to provide high-quality educational support programs and services typically associated with central office administration. These agencies work with multiple schools and districts, enabling them to share costs and avoid redundancy in spending. To provide cost effective services and supports, these agencies combine local and state funds with grants, awards, fees, and other revenue generating streams.

  • Heartland Area Education Agency – This Educational Service Agency in rural Iowa works with 54 public school districts and 30 accredited private schools to provide services, programs, and resources in support of students, teachers, parents, and leaders. Specifically, Heartland AEA is using open source software and content to provide educational programs and services including professional development for teachers and administrators, online coursework for faculty and students, and is using other technologies to promote collaboration and provide supports.
  • Special Education Cooperatives – These cooperatives operate in a similar fashion as educational service agencies and provide special education supports to area schools and districts. They often pool resources to stretch investments and provide students with the services they need. For example, schools or districts may collaborate on hiring staff to serve students at multiple sites; a cost effective approach compared to contracting out for special education services or duplicating staff across neighboring schools while some needs may go unmet.

Additional resources:

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