ACLU of Maryland's Education Reform Project today endorsed the "Community Schools" strategy embedded in House Bill 1139 sponsored by Del. Mary Washington (Baltimore City). Community schools represent a vision for educational services that leverage community assets to better serve the multifaceted needs of under-served children by coordinating additional programs and supports.

These types of wrap-around services are desperately needed in areas of concentrated poverty, like Baltimore City, and will also support children in high-poverty schools across the state.  Hallmarks of the strategy include robust after-school programs and a coordinator to bring needed services for childre>"n and families into the school. Wolfe Street Academy, an award winning community school, is proof that incorporating holistic methods of student and family engagement can increase test scores, student attendance, and strengthen the school climate.

The Community Schools bill seeks to expand a strategy that recognizes that to close the achievement gap, Maryland must strategically address the well-known opportunity gaps in our current systems. The ACLU, based on a state constitutional mandate, has consistently called for adequate funding to support student success at every school across the state. The ACLU will work for passage of this bill and for the Community Schools strategy to be incorporated into the state's education funding formula.