The Department of Education defines full-service community schools as those that "provide comprehensive academic, social, mental, physical, and vocational programs and services to meet individual, family, and community needs." According to the Department, these services may include early childhood education; remedial education and academic enrichment activities; programs that promote parental involvement and family literacy; mentoring and other youth development programs; parent leadership and parenting education activities; community service and service-learning opportunities; programs that provide assistance to students who have been truant, suspended, or expelled; job training and career counseling services; nutrition services; primary health and dental care; mental health counseling services; and adult education, including instruction of adults in English as a second language.
Using public schools as hubs, community schools bring together many partners to offer a range of supports and opportunities to all members of a community. They help improve student learning, create stronger families, and lead to healthier communities. The schools become centers of the community and are typically open to everyone – all day, every day, evenings and weekends. As a result, children are more prepared to learn each day when they start school, families are more engaged, and neighborhoods become safer. These schools often act as a center for lifelong learning for the entire community.To learn more about community schools, see Full Service Community Schools (Varlas, 2008) and these Web sites: U.S. Department of Education; Full-Service Schooling ; and Coalition for Community Schools .