Office of Community Schools and Expanded Learning Time

Community schools promote positive, equitable outcomes by providing students and families with the physical and mental health, academic, and extracurricular supports needed to thrive.

Community schools serve as hubs that bring families, communities, and partners together to remove barriers to learning. Using an asset-based approach, community schools strive to strengthen connections to generate improved student outcomes. 

Maryland continues to prioritize community schools through the Blueprint for Maryland's Future. This landmark legislation is designed to improve the quality of education for Mayland students and close achievement gaps. Included in this legislation are Concentration of Poverty grants for schools that serve large populations of students experiencing poverty. These grants aim to serve students, families, and the community by establishing 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 asset-based approaches that strengthen the connections between home, school, and communities and create change for the people that they serve.

Wraparound Services

Community schools work in collaboration with community partners, local governments, and other stakeholders to identify and address structural and institutional barriers to achievement. Leveraging the power of the collective allows community schools to provide resources to students and families where they need them the most—neighborhoods that have been historically underfunded and underserved. Community schools provide a wide array of wraparound services that enhance student’s ability to be successful.

Examples of wraparound services:

  • Extended learning time

  • Extended school year

  • Safe transportation to and from school 

  • Vision and dental services 

  • Expanded school-based health center services 

  • Additional social workers, counselors, and psychologists

  • Additional mentors and restorative practice coaches

  • Healthy food in-school and out-of-school

  • Access to mental health practitioners

Concentration of Poverty Grant

In Maryland, a community school is any school that receives Concentration of Poverty Grants. The grants are formula-based and awarded to schools on an annual basis. The determining factor for eligibility is the 4-year average of the percentage of the school’s students living in poverty (excluding 2020-2021 school year), as determined by the compensatory education enrollment. This is essentially the number of students receiving free and reduced-price meals.

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future legislation provides Concentration of Poverty Grants for personnel and wraparound services in community schools and requires needs assessments and implementation plans to be submitted to the Maryland State Department of Education.

Personnel grants

Used to hire a Community School Coordinator and a professional Healthcare Practitioner. After those positions are filled, the community school can use the remaining funds to provide wraparound services.

Per-pupil grants

Calculated based on the number of students living in poverty attending the school. The grants are awarded to the school based on a sliding scale and are used to provide a wide variety of wraparound services.

Learn more about community schools in Maryland, Concentration of Poverty Grants, the Maryland Consortium on Coordinated Community Supports, and other related programs created or expanded through the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. 

View the Blueprint Deep Dive: Coordinated Community Supports in Maryland Presentation


Derek Anderson
Executive Director, Community Schools
Office of School Improvement and School Transformation
Office: (410) 767-0468