One bill, introduced by Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex), would create a five-year community school pilot program. According to the National Education Association, or NEA, community schools are “public schools that provide services and support that fit each neighborhood’s needs.”
Essentially, community schools are a collaboration between state and local government, nonprofit organizations, educators, health professionals, social workers, and youth and community development specialists to provide a more holistic educational experience for students.
The trend has spread across the nation, with community schools sprouting up in 39 states, the National Education Association said.
The federal government has allocated about $140 million to community school initiatives, according to the NEA.
“Community Schools are an ongoing national conversation. And I can state without reservation that they are the future of public schools, not just here, but throughout the country,” Jasey said, at Thursday’s committee hearing. “ New York, for example, has had community schools in New York City for more than 25 years. It’s time that we caught up.”
New Jersey’s bill would enable 21 schools, one in each county, to apply to be part of the pilot program.