Receiving $1,273,989 in the first year, the organization will receive $8,454,492 over five years.
PITTSBURGH - Jan. 30, 2023 - PRLog -- Communities in Schools of Pittsburgh-Allegheny County (CISPAC) is pleased to announce they have received a Full-Service Community School (FSCS) grant from the United States Department of Education (USDOE) totaling $8,454,492 over five years. As the only agency in Pennsylvania to receive a multi-district grant, CISPAC received the top score in all of Pennsylvania from the grant's reviewers. The organization is one of 42 recipients nationwide and one of two in the state. Their grant makes up a portion of $63 million in FSCS grants from the USDOE.
A successful community school strategy creates a network of support, in school and beyond, to help break down barriers students face that limit academic performance - providing basic needs like food and clothing, trauma support, mentoring, and other community engagement. This grant provides support to expand the community school program in Duquesne City School District, East Allegheny School District, South Allegheny School District, and Sto-Rox School District, with elementary, middle, and high schools all receiving assistance from this grant. The project aims to improve student outcomes around attendance, behavior, and course performance, enhance student enrichment opportunities, improve school climate, support collaborative leadership, improve the quality and availability of workforce development and employment opportunities, and more.
Increased support from the FSCS grant will add staff to homeless services and provide training opportunities for school faculty and staff to better identify students needing support. Funds will also go towards supplying more goods and services; CISPAC is already supplying over $120,000 annually in food, clothing, and other basic necessities to families in need. CISPAC will also grow its staff from 20 members to about 50, using funds to support the salaries of new staff members. They are now hiring for these additional positions.
"The most important thing to us is helping students receive the support they need, which is exactly what this federal award will do," says CISPAC Executive Director Bridget Clement. "After that, our hope is that this award will help us draw attention to our community school strategy and the work CISPAC has done to become the expert in community school implementation in Western Pennsylvania."
Though Pittsburgh is hailed as a vibrant technology- and healthcare-savvy city, many residents still suffer from issues like institutional racism, lack of social support, transportation barriers, and scarcity of equal opportunity— these are the communities that CISPAC strives to serve. The educational attainment gap in every community they serve reveals communities in crisis. For example, Sto-Rox School District was ranked #1 on ACLU-PA's school-related arrests and referrals to law enforcement list, outpacing Pennsylvania and Philadelphia County. These arrests and referrals lead to detrimental outcomes, like suspension and alienation from education as a whole.
With the funds from this award, CISPAC can expedite the implementation of its community-school model. Past implementations have seen success, and the four aforementioned districts are excited to build upon that and maximize results for their students in need. CISPAC's transformational change has truly just begun, and, with this award, the organization will be able to expand its reach and deepen its services. More partnerships will be essential to truly embed the community-school culture into Allegheny County.
For more information on CISPAC, click here.
About Communities In Schools of Pittsburgh – Allegheny County
CISPAC is part of the Communities In Schools® network that ensures all students have what they need to stay in school and on a path to a brighter future. Working directly inside more than 2,500 schools and community sites across the country, we connect 1.62 million students to caring adults and community resources designed to help them succeed in school and life. With a proven mix of evidence-based practice and human capital, we do whatever it takes to empower kids to realize their full potential. To learn more about CISPAC, visit cispac.org (http://www.cispac.org).
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