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What is a Full-Service Community School?

Children need intellectual, social, physical, and emotional supports in order to be ready to learn. The National Research Council cites these supports as important predictors of future adult success.∗ Full-service schools are places where children receive those supports in an integrated and coordinated fashion.

Full-service schools are also known as “community schools.” The national Coalition for Community Schools offers this definition:

A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. . . . Using public schools as a hub, community schools bring together many partners to offer a range of supports and opportunities to children, youth, families and communities -- before, during and after school, seven days a week.


Boston’s Full-Service Schools Roundtable adds:

A full-service school is a place where:

  • Families can get the help they need —health, mental health and social services—to support their children.
  • The school building is open before and after school, in the evenings, on weekends and during the summer.
  • One or more community- based agencies partner with the school.
  • Teachers, parents, students and community partners are accountable for outcomes.


As the U.S. Department of Education states, “Full-service community schools provide comprehensive academic, social, mental, physical, and vocational programs and services to meet individual, family, and community needs.”



∗ Eccles, J.S., and J. Gootman, 2002, Programs to Promote Youth Development. Washington, DC: Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Institute of Medicine, National Research Council.

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