West Sac’s Washington Unified School District Receives $200K to create Community Schools with United Way

Two preschool girls play with stamps and an orange stamp pad to make shapes on a piece of white paper

Washington Unified School District in West Sacramento has received a $200,000 grant through the California Community Schools Partnership Program to launch two full-service community schools as neighborhood hubs that provide access to a variety of services that support children, strengthen families and improve community health. The district will partner with United Way California Capital Region, which has nearly 100 years of experience convening community groups and coordinating services among providers.

“Washington Unified School District is laser-focused in its commitment to excellence, equity and empowerment for every student, every day,” said Dr. Cheryl P. Hildreth, superintendent for the school district. “Investing in community schools takes our commitment to the next level, ensuring that students have increased access to services that reinforce academic and social-emotional development.”

Through case managers and site-level coordinators, the community schools will provide access to health care, mentoring, expanded learning programs, adult guidance and other services. Each school will include a Wellness Center that provides direct support and trauma-informed care to students and will hire a restorative justice and equity coordinator to reduce punitive actions and promote trust, respect and sense of safety between the school, students and families. The district is launching the community schools to improve academic success and overall health of its students while decreasing chronic absenteeism and adverse disciplinary actions.

United Way will help with the planning process, including establishing a core leadership team, deploying a needs assessment and asset mapping analysis, engaging school representatives, providing students with leadership opportunities, convening agencies to expand school-based service delivery models, and developing a shared vision and implementation plan.

“We are excited to be working with the Washington Unified School District in the City of West Sacramento and look forward to partnering to ensure students have even more opportunities to succeed,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region, and a West Sacramento city council member. “At United Way, we’ve made a 20-year commitment through our Square One Project to end poverty for local families starting in schools. Our partnership with Washington Unified will play an important role in that work.”

Washington Unified School District is the premier provider of high-quality education in West Sacramento, serving nearly 7,500 students across seven K-8 schools and three high schools. The district offers cutting-edge opportunities featuring free college savings accounts for kindergarteners, Spanish dual language immersion, visual and performing arts, career technical education, AVID, MESA, before and after school care, and more. For more information: www.wusd.k12.ca.us.

United Way California Capital Region has been working for nearly 100 years to create stronger, healthier, more compassionate communities, now serving Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. When the local United Way saw poverty rising in 2016, it found one place in each community to reach the most people in need: School was square one for ending family poverty. United Way’s 20-year Square One Project works with schools to support families, help children succeed, and strengthen schools with resources to address increased poverty and further exposed racial inequality. For more information: www.YourLocalUnitedWay.org