Binghamton University Community Schools (BUCS) has been selected to receive a five-year, $1.7 million contract from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to become one of three Technical Assistant Centers (TAC) in the state to further the community schools’ goals and provide additional support for students.

The new contract is part of an NYSED initiative to support community schools by providing additional resources to students and faculty members as well as out-of-classroom support to children who have difficulty thriving in school due to various environmental factors. BUCS follows the community schools’ model, in which universities team up with schools and other communities to provide resources, such as health and social support, for students from prekindergarten to 12th grade. BUCS is designed to help students in poverty succeed in school by instilling the importance of learning during school, after school ends and in the summer, along with increasing family engagement between parents and their children to better support their academics and development.

Since a team of faculty and doctoral students at the College of Community and Public Affairs (CCPA), who are also involved with BUCS, wrote and designed the grant, BU was also awarded the grant. BU’s grant will provide technical aid to more than 300 districts in the central and western parts of the state, and will impact more than 600,000 students. The TAC will help community members and school faculty members with various skills, such as training and professional development, and provide guidance and resources.

At BU, BUCS is a collaboration between the CCPA and the Center for Civic Engagement. The TAC grant will be overseen by the Office of Student Support Services. Elizabeth Anderson, an associate professor in CCPA’s department of teaching, learning and educational leadership, will direct the five-year initiative.

For Laura Bronstein, dean of the CCPA, working as a social worker and as an academic has helped her see the importance of community schools. According to Bronstein, the initiative will have a positive influence on BU students and their progress with helping in community schools.

“Community schools are among the best ways we have to interrupt the intergenerational cycle of poverty, where children and youth can be supported to be the first in their family to graduate high school and pursue college and/or a career of their choosing,” Bronstein wrote in an email. “These efforts by students are enhanced by the research and evaluation conducted on this topic by faculty, by the nation’s first certificate program in community schools that launched this year at Binghamton and now by the TAC, which provides an opportunity to share our expertise with others across New York state.”

Bronstein said the grant will also help the CCPA and its students become more involved in Broome County schools, which will assist students, faculty and parents while providing students with valuable experience.

“I am thrilled that Binghamton University students are so invested in our local community, and one way they show this is by working in community schools in Broome County,” Bronstein wrote.