Educators Applaud Historic Community Schools Grants; Commitment to Shared Decision Making to Yield Transformational Student Achievement

Statewide Technical Assistance Center key to ensuring authentic governance structures and bottom-up, democratically run public schools to meet the unique needs of local students

BURLINGAME – Today, the State Board of Education voted to approve more than $649 million in grants to establish new and expand existing community schools and selected the Statewide Technical Assistance Center that will be key to guiding the shared decision-making transformation students in local communities need. Educators know first-hand that many students arrive in the classroom with challenges that get in the way of academic success. That is why the California Teachers Association (CTA) and educators throughout the state have long been at the forefront of the movement to expand and invest in community schools.

“Today, we are seeing educators’ hard work on behalf of their students come to fruition. With this and future investments, as well as a long-term commitment to shared decision making and meaningful change, many high-poverty public schools are on the precipice of change, one that engages students, parents, families and communities, and improves student learning,” said CTA President E. Toby Boyd, a kindergarten educator. “An educational model aimed at disrupting poverty, addressing racial, economic and other inequities, and tailored to serve local student and family needs could not be more timely as we seek to help students recover academically, socially and emotionally from this pandemic.”

Educators commend Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, the California Department of Education, and the State Board of Education for their diligence in recommending planning and implementation grants for 268 school districts and county offices of education, and for selecting the Statewide Technical Assistance Center. The Center, which includes support from UCLA and the National Education Association, will assist local districts to ensure authentic governance structures and bottom-up, democratically run public schools to meet the unique needs of local students.

Governor Gavin Newsom has prioritized community schools and doubled down on that commitment by proposing an additional $1.5 billion in the May Revision to the 2022-23 state budget. The grants approved today come from California’s historic $3 billion community schools investment, the largest in the nation.

Community schools are built on four pillars:

  1. Providing services for students that address barriers to learning, including health, mental health, or social service needs.
  2. Providing added academic support and real-world learning opportunities like internships.
  3. Facilitating family and community engagement.
  4. Collaborative leadership that establishes a culture of shared responsibility.

“This is a moment for celebration, as California expands its commitment to community schools. At the same time, we know it will take more than funding to create schools that disrupt poverty and other stubborn barriers to learning. It will require hard work, meaningful community and parent engagement, and the kind of collaboration that is both transformative and challenging for many of our public schools. We must remain committed to the four pillars of community schools as we move forward,” said CTA Vice President David Goldberg. “We are hopeful that today’s action by the State Board of Education is the beginning of a long and ongoing commitment to community schools. Educators cannot wait to get to the work ahead – of meeting our students’ unique needs with their school communities’ unique vision and strengths.”

A community school is the heart of a community, uniting diverse and engaged stakeholders to make the school community stronger and support the Whole Child — meaning children are not just supported in academics, but are learning in environments that make them feel safe, valued, engaged, challenged, and healthy. Today, there are thousands of community schools nationwide, and this number continues to grow.

Take a closer look at community schools and the advocacy and transformational work of educators and CTA.


The 310,000-member CTA is affiliated with the 3-million-member National Education Association.