DMPS Awarded Federal Grant to Expand ‘Community Schools’ Model

DES MOINES, Iowa – Des Moines Public Schools has received a federal grant to expand its “Community Schools” model.

DMPS District Community School Coordinator Jill Padgett said a community school is different than a traditional school.

“What Community Schools does is it helps our students see their schools and themselves as a part of a larger community and a larger system, so that they can truly be successful at the next stage of their life,” Padgett said.

Community Schools follow four key pillars, which include: integrated student support, family and community engagement, out of school time learning and opportunities, and collaborative leadership with practice.

The $2.5 million grant will be used over the next five years to support four schools in the district. It is funded through the U.S Department of Education.

Padgett said the district looks at data to determine where a community school agenda is needed.

“We will look at demographic data. We will look at the demographic make-up of our school buildings. We will look at resource utilization of the communities around our buildings,” Padgett said.

With the grant money there are currently 18 out of the 59 schools in the district using this teaching method.

Padgett said all community schools include a food pantry that is sponsored by the Food Bank of Iowa. Any student is welcome to use the pantry.

Padgett said the ultimate goal is to have a community school model in all district buildings that the data sees fit for.