Community Schools Corner

Community schools are public schools that partner with families and community-based organizations to provide well-rounded education opportunities and supports for students’ school success. Each community school is a unique reflection of local needs, assets, and priorities.

ACT Now is the recipient of two federal Full-Service Community Schools (FSCS) State-Scaling grants, one for Rural School Districts and one for Suburban/Urban Districts. With these grants, we will provide financial support, technical assistance, and targeted professional development to districts across the state in the implementation and expansion of the community school model. 

If you are interested in becoming a partner school, district, or Lead Partner Agency, please review the resources on our website.

On May 9th and 15th, ACT Now hosted identical informational webinars to introduce the project and answer initial questions. Click below to watch the recording and access the slide deck.

These resources are meant to aid you in your conversations about partnering in this project and transforming your community to a community school strategy.

If you have additional questions, please submit them here by Monday, 5/20 or contact Lesley Rivers ( 

Please fill out the below interest forms to indicate your desire to join the FSCS State-Scaling cohorts by Friday, May 31st at 5 pm CST.

Here are the pdf versions of each interest form. Use these to see the full scope of the questions we are asking. When you’re ready to declare interest, please use the survey links to submit your answers.

CHICAGO-AREA CBOs: If you are interested in applying as a Lead Partner Agency (LPA) with a CPS school, please fill out the form in partnership with the school you’d like to apply with and support. We will share this information with CPS and use it to help us select the final CPS schools that will join the Urban/Suburban cohort. 

In early June, ACT Now will send out invitations to selected schools and districts for the Round 2 Interviews. The final cohort will be voted on in mid-July.

FY24 Community Schools Trainings (2023-2024)

This year, ACT Now is Together in Community with our community schools (CS) partners across the state. Each quarter, we will host a variety of professional development and networking opportunities for CS providers on topics suggested by you.

To register for the virtual events, you must have an ANCAL account. If you already have one, please log in and search for the event in the calendar.

Family Engagement and Supports for CS (Q1)

  • Wednesday, 9/13/23 in the Chicago Suburbs
  • Wednesday, 9/20/23 at Cedar Ridge Elementary School in Bloomington, IL
  • Wednesday, 10/4/23 at MFS Learning and Wellness Center in Chicago

Advocacy and Awareness for CS (Q2)

Building Community Partnerships (Q3)

Statewide CS Full-Day Convening (Q4)

Resources from Past Community Schools Providers Meetings

Starting in FY23, ACT Now began archiving our training recordings and resources in our online training system, the ACT Now Center for Afterschool Learning (ANCAL). ANCAL  is FREE for all Illinois afterschool and out-of-school time (OST) professionals.

To access these materials, you must be a member and/or log in.

After surveying the community schools field in the spring, ACT Now worked to restructure our professional development opportunities for providers across the state! Now, each quarter this year, ACT Now will focus on a different pillar of the community school model as we work towards creating a unified statewide coalition.


Quarter 1 (Statewide Convening): The Extended Learning Day

Quarter 2 (Statewide Virtual Convening): Family & Community Partnerships

Quarter 3 (Regional In-Person Convenings): Integrated Students Supports

Quarter 4 (Statewide In-Person Convening): Collaborative Practices and Leadership

  • May 3, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.