Calaveras Unified School District Awarded $1.1M Community-School Grant

Valley Springs, CA…Calaveras Unified School District (CUSD) has been awarded a $1,187,500 California Department of Education (CDE) grant to establish “community school” programming at San Andreas Elementary School over the next five years, beginning with the 2024-2025 school year.

The CDE’s website defines a community school as one that takes a “whole-child” approach to school improvement by working with students, families and teachers, and partnering “with community agencies and local government to align community resources to improve student outcomes.” These partnerships are aimed at expanding academic programming, providing various social and health services, and promoting family and community engagement.

San Andreas Elementary School (SAE) principal Dan Mayers envisions the school as a hub for programs and services to meet the needs of its students and their families. “Adopting the community-school strategy is the answer to the question I have long asked: How do we address the needs we see in many of the students and families we serve?” he said. “A community-school approach will allow us to address factors that impact students’ and families’ well-being, which in turn affect students’ ability to learn.”

The grant funds come at a time of district budget cuts. While these funds only may be used for SAE’s community-school expenses as outlined in its grant implementation plan, the monies will make available programs and services that wouldn’t be possible otherwise due to current budget conditions.

Some of the key features of SAE’s implementation plan include: developing a Community Resource Center; offering more after-school and intersession learning opportunities; providing professional development for teachers on trauma-informed practices and social-emotional learning strategies; regularly convening a Decision Making Council with representation from all interest-holders; hiring a community-schools coordinator; and developing a measure of student well-being.

“I’m looking forward to being able to connect with the various agencies and organizations in Calaveras County to better serve our families, who are the foundation for our students’ success,” Mayers said. “I want to determine the needs of our students and coordinate supports to target those needs.”

Efforts to coordinate those supports already are underway. As part of the needs-assessment process that was conducted to inform the grant application, Mayers established a Decision Making Council, which currently is comprised of representatives of several social-services organizations, teachers, parents and a grandparent. The council will meet regularly throughout the school year.

Hiring a community-school coordinator is top priority, according to Mayers. This person will be responsible for facilitating community partnerships as well as developing and implementing community-school programming.
For more information on community schools, visit