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Cunha awarded grant

Cunha Middle School has been awarded $250,000 over four years to continue its implementation of the “full service” community school approach. Every year the grant will increase. Cunha will receive $40,000 in 2006, $50,000 in 2007, $75,000 in 2008, and in 2009 the grant will increase to $85,000. In addition, Stanford University’s John W. Gardner Center has awarded Cunha $25,000 per year, for the next three years. The grant dollars that Cunha will receive are part of a $1.2 million four-year grant from the San Francisco-based Stuart Foundation, in partnership with The Peninsula Partnership for Children Youth and Families (a division of Peninsula Community Foundation), the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities and Redwood City 2020. All of these funds will be used to sustain and expand the community school approach, which Cunha has been adapting and implementing over the last three years.

Cunha, Belle Haven Elementary Full-Service School in east Menlo Park and Kennedy Middle School in Redwood City are the three schools in San Mateo County that are being developed as demonstration or proof of concept schools, as part of a larger effort to develop a county wide policy that supports community school efforts in San Mateo County. Community schools take a holistic approach to improving student achievement, not only by providing the highest quality instruction, but also by offering a wide range of on-site support, services and after-school activities to engage parents and communities in children’s learning.

The Community School Model was originally developed by the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) of New York in 1992. CAS whose mission is to provide high quality, cutting edge services to children and families observed that there was a declining trend in public educational outcomes. The Community School Model was developed because CAS wanted to make a positive impact on public education and address any barriers that might hinder a child’s ability to lean. The Community School Model demonstrates that by partnering with parents and the community institutions in serious and professional collaborations, schools are able not only to deliver effective programs and services but also transform the institution formally known as the school into one that is multidimensional, vibrant, and alive – the Community School. Community Schools serve the whole child: all the developmental domains (cognitive, social, physical and psychological) services that help eliminate barriers to learning. Interest in the Community School Model was so great that CAS created a National Assistance Center for Community Schools in 1994. They provide technical assistance in the process and operations involved in creating a Community School.

Cunha Middle School is among hundreds of schools across the nation that have successfully engaged in implementing a community school approach – a strategy for change and improvement in learning and youth development. Cunha Intermediate School serves grades 6, 7, & 8 in the coastal area of Half Moon Bay, 25 miles south of San Francisco. It has a student population of about 750 students.


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