Taking “Extra” out of “Extra-Curricular”

Taking “Extra” out of “Extra-Curricular”

This blog post by Sarah McBroom was originally published April 3, 2019, by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (WRF). We are grateful to WRF for allowing us to share its content, and we encourage you to click here to see the organization’s original content and learn more.

Click here to read “Community Schools: Support Outside the Classroom” from ForwARd Arkansas to find out how Community Schools effectively support rural students and families.

What if your kid could go to school, the dentist, and tee-ball practice while you went to yoga and got help with your taxes . . . all in one day, in one building?


ForwARd Arkansas and the Arkansas Coalition for Community Schools have taken action to develop a unique, regional Community Schools model to provide critical support for small rural districts. The result? Last month, the Arkansas Senate adopted a resolution to recognize Community Schools as a strong model to improve achievement and strengthen family and community engagement.

Community schools offer expanded learning and enrichment time with before-school, after-school, weekend, and summer programs for students and their families. Community Schools are a “one-stop shop” children and parents can count on for tutoring, music education, art opportunities, yoga classes, computer courses, adult literacy, GRE preparation . . . you name it, Community Schools do it.

The Community Schools model makes the schoolhouse a hub and a cornerstone for building a more vibrant place to live. Community Schools provide medical, dental, and vision care for students as well as mental health services, housing support, transportation, nutrition education, and immigrant-integration resources for youth and families.


We know that student success requires support beyond the classroom.

  • Research shows Community Schools improve academic achievement, reduce racial and economic achievement gaps, and increase daily school attendance as well as high school graduation rates.

  • Research also shows Community Schools provide a strong return on investment—up to $15 for every dollar invested.

  • Federal funding can be used to support Community Schools, and research shows this model meets the standard for “evidence-based approaches” to support schools identified for comprehensive and targeted support and intervention under the Every Student Succeeds Act.


All children need access to an excellent education in order to create a more equitable Arkansas. This will require innovative solutions that meet the unique needs of students and their families, especially in rural communities.

Click here to read “Community Schools: Support Outside the Classroom” from ForwARd Arkansas to find out how Community Schools effectively support rural students and families.

As program associate at the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Sarah McBroom is responsible for providing management and administrative support to implement the Foundation’s education and community change strategies. She conducts research, analyzes data relevant to assessing progress toward Foundation goals, and coordinates program-related activities.

The Arkansas Coalition for Community Schools and ForwARd Arkansas have joined together in partnership to support the development, and implementation of Community Schools in Arkansas.