Rep. Susie Lee Introduces Wrap-Around School Services Bill to Invest in K-12 Students Outside of Classroom
Las Vegas, Nev. – U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (Nev.-03) introduced the Communities Serving Schools Act, which would provide grants to state and local education agencies to invest in wrap-around school services that assist with the health, well-being, and stability of students outside of the classroom.
Wrap-around services are programs that support the whole child by providing students, particularly those in underserved, low-income communities, with help that leads to success in and out of the classroom, like tutoring, after school programs, college prep, nutrition, and mental health support.
“Even though it’s always been true, this pandemic has reminded us that student success goes well beyond the classroom,” said Rep. Lee. “It’s a fact that if students have access to nutrition, tutoring, after school programs, mental health support, and other vital services, they will perform better in school. It’s also a fact that students from low-income neighborhoods and communities of color rarely have enough access to these services. During my two-plus decades of work with Nevada schools and students, I have seen this first-hand. I know that if we truly want to make education a national priority, we have to improve these wrap-around services, especially for our most underserved communities. The Communities Serving Schools Act will invest in the health, well-being, and stability of our students by expanding wrap-around services for those kids and families who need it most.”
Communities in Schools issued the following statement of support:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has increased stressors for students and families across the country. As students return to learning, they will bring with them trauma, social and emotional needs, and learning loss. Policymakers and education leaders must equip schools with a comprehensive set of services to address disruptions to learning and the collective and individual trauma that will have deep implications on learning.
“The social and economic effects of the pandemic and the national conversation over systemic racism have increased the need for additional supports. It has also given us the opportunity to re-examine and transform our education system to better serve all students. The Communities Serving Schools Act, in coordination with other funding sources, creates the innovation and capacity to make this transformation a reality.
“A growing body of research shows that students succeed when schools embrace a whole child perspective that integrates social, emotional, and academic development and addresses out-of-school factors that interfere with learning. To implement an evidence-based wraparound services model that can provide all these services, schools typically need to partner with an outside organization. This legislation creates a grant program funding eligible schools, in partnership with a nonprofit or community-based organization, to provide wrap-around services addressing the whole child. With the increased likelihood of an achievement gap widening, now is the time for schools to implement a whole child strategy that lasts beyond the aftermath of the pandemic.”
The Communities Serving Schools Act provides $1 billion in grants to local education agencies to invest in wrap-around services that assist with the health, well-being, and stability of students outside of the classroom.
The grant funds shall be used for: (1) implementing a planning period to assess the needs of the school and select appropriate/relevant programs and services; (2) partnering with a nonprofit community-based organization with a demonstrated record of providing high-quality, evidence-based wraparound services for children; (3) hiring an on-site coordinator who will align services with student needs, connect students to said services in an efficient manner, ensure integration of these services within the school, and track program data on an annual basis.
Making Public Education a National Priority
One of Rep. Lee’s top priorities in Congress has been public education, and increasing investment in both K-12 and higher education.
- Last week, Rep. Lee hosted a COVID-19 K-12 Education Roundtable with the Nevada Parent Teacher Association to discuss schooling during the pandemic, and serious issues parents and students are facing like internet access for at-home learning, food assistance for students, child care for working parents, funding for school districts and state and local governments, and more.
- Rep. Lee and the House of Representatives passed a comprehensive coronavirus relief package, the Heroes Act, on May 15th, nearly three months ago, which includes vital emergency funding for public education, including:
- $90 billion for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund;
- Nearly $58 billion for K-12 schools to continue delivering instruction, including purchasing education technology and hotspot devices;
- Nearly $27 billion to support public higher education, and more.
- Rep. Lee helped introduce the Rebuilding America’s Schools Act to invest in public school infrastructure, which included her amendment to address overcrowding in K-12 classrooms. Nevada leads the nation in regards to largest average class size.
- In April 2019, Rep. Lee and U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) introduced the Keep Our Promise to America’s Children and Teachers (PACT) Act, which would fully fund Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) on a mandatory basis over the next 10 years.