Introduction: The District of Columbia Community School Model
In the District of Columbia, public schools include both traditional public schools in DC Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools. Many of the students who attend District schools come from low socioeconomic backgrounds, with a high number qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch through the National School Lunch Program. Communities of low socioeconomic status experience many risk factors, including, but not limited to, poor academic achievement, truancy, poor mental and physical health, and homelessness. However, according to the Institute of Educational Leadership (IEL), in many urban areas, the “community schools” model has been an effective approach to ensure that students and their parents/caregivers have access to school and community programs and services that help them build resilience and achieve success in life. Nationally, community schools have proven to be successful in reducing absenteeism, improving health and well-being of students and their families, and increasing the rates of high school graduation and college attendance.