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The CCSPP application deadline is right around the corner

A young Black boy focuses on his assignment at school, pencil in hand.

Photo by Santi Vedrí on Unsplash.

In case you’ve been living under a rock these last few months, the deadline for applications for the next round of the California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP) implementation grant funding is right around the corner. Those of you who are in the midst of compiling application components, while engaging interest holders in what this work could look like (and probably doing your day jobs, too!), might be wondering if all this work is, well, worth it. Our answer is a resounding YES – for two reasons.

The first reason is obvious. If you’re awarded the CCSPP grant, you’ll get access to money and support to accelerate your community school (CS) development. The seed funding provided by these grants could allow you to hire a Community School Coordinator (CSC), build out the infrastructure necessary to support CS implementation, engage interest holders in new and more authentic ways, and build teams to lead this work long-term. You’ll have an opportunity to put in place a sustainability plan, to intentionally strengthen community partnerships, develop team capacity around CS work, and solidify a set of practices to support your community schools.

The second reason might be less obvious, so hear me out.

Even if you submit an application and are not awarded the CCSPP grant, going through the application process still lays the groundwork for strong CS development. How do we know this? CSLX is close to wrapping the final session of the CCSPP Grant Series Cohort, our 100% virtual offering we designed with our partners at Collective Agency to provide a high level of support, guidance, tools and resources for LEAs applying for this round of CCSPP funding. We’ve learned a lot from this group–particularly how tricky some of the application requirements seem to be. But one of our biggest takeaways? Working with a team to just complete the application gives you the opportunity to:

  • Engage and build meaningful connections with interest holders in new ways that can strengthen relationships between schools, families and caregivers, and the community beyond the grant application process (or even the lifetime of the grant funding!);

  • Take time to think through your districts’ strategies around community school work, so you can align initiatives, develop shared leadership structures, and figure out what you’ll do differently as part of your CS development work, and;

  • Chart a sustainable course for your community schools, whether you receive the CCSPP grant or not.

And, we’ve also learned that there are A LOT of questions swirling around the current CCSPP Request for Proposals (RFA) – things ranging from the application components to strategies for engaging interest holders and how to document that work. So, we created a home for a number of resources (this “Some Questions, Some Answers” document being one of them) to address not just the wonderings of CSLX team members, the CCSPP grant cohort series participants and our partners, but also the expertise of veteran CS practitioners, and the California Department of Education (CDE). Take a look and let us know what you think.

And if you’re still on the fence about applying, you gotta decide NOW. It’s not too late to start the process, but we’re at the 11th hour–and there’s no guarantee that this opportunity will come around again. Take another look at the Request for Proposals (RFA), review our set of original and curated resources, and read the CDE’s official CCSPP FAQ. Start aligning work you’re already doing or planning to do with the S-TAC’s implementation plan template. Pull out your Trapper Keeper and collect artifacts that illustrate how you’ve connected with interest holders, structures you have in place to engage families, students and partners in decision making teams, and needs assessment and asset mapping processes (as examples). And remember, the beginning of a new calendar year is a great time to renew (and maybe repair) connections with families, caregivers, community partners and other interest holders, and to start forging new relationships. We know this is a busy time of the year, but we encourage you to add acting-on-the-CCSPP-application to the list. The process is more than worth it.

And if you’d like additional guidance, join us for Office Hours to talk through your application questions on Monday, January 29th at 9am PST. You can register here, but be sure to do so soon–space is limited.

Melissa Mitchell is Director of Resource Development at the Community Schools Learning Exchange (CSLX). She brings over 15 years of experience supporting community school development, from providing coaching and direct technical assistance to schools, districts, practitioners and community partners, to working with legislators and policymakers to develop supportive-state level policies that advanced community school development across Illinois. Get in touch with Melissa via email at