Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) continues to expand its Community Schools program, which aims to provide essential resources to students, families, and communities. Initially launched with Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School in the 2021-2022 academic year, the program now supports five schools within the district.

The Community Schools program focuses on furnishing additional mentors, therapeutic coaches, expanded school-based health center services, access to mental health practitioners, and the provision of healthy meals. The initiative is part of a broader effort by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). It is supported by the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, a framework designed to “improve the quality of education for Maryland students and close achievement gaps,” according to the MSDE’s website.

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) Community School Coordinators help to assess the needs within a school and community, foster and coordinate partnerships, provide essential wraparound services to students and their families and commit to create equitable educational opportunities. Credit: Charles County Public Schools

“MSDE identifies eligible schools each school year and notifies our school system which schools are eligible to receive Concentration of Poverty grant funds through the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund,” said Bethany Goodwin, CCPS Community School District Liaison. She emphasized that MSDE is encouraging the growth of community schools throughout Maryland.

After successfully implementing the Community Schools program at Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School, led by Andrill Harris, Indian Head Elementary School joined the program in the 2022-2023 academic year: three more schools—Dr. Gustavus Brown, J.P. Ryon, and Eva Turner elementary schools—will be part of the program in the 2023-2024 school year.

Each participating school is assigned a Community School coordinator, a liaison, and leader within the school community. Marissa Ackerman, the coordinator at Indian Head Elementary, said, “I look forward to working collaboratively to build a strong school community that knows and understands how to rely on and trust each other because we genuinely care.”

Ackerman further detailed the program’s commitment to holistic support, adding, “This year I am excited that our team was able to bring an on-site food pantry and a school-based health center that will open next year. Most of all, I look forward to watching our students grow in every way, knowing they are safe, loved, and cared for at Indian Head.”

Community School coordinators work with various stakeholders, from school leadership and staff to students, families, and community members. The coordinators are responsible for assessing school and community needs, fostering partnerships, providing essential wraparound services, and ensuring equitable educational opportunities.

Bethany Goodwin anticipates that the program will extend to additional schools in the coming years, marking continuous growth for this initiative. For more information about the CCPS Community Schools program, visit the CCPS website.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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