Accessing Essential Services

Students spend just 20 percent of their waking hours in school. What happens outside of school, in the other 80 percent of their time, directly impacts educational success. When children have access to an appropriate range of prevention, intervention, and enrichment experiences, they thrive both personally and academically.  

Out-of-school factors like housing instability, a lack of nutritious food, and inequitable healthcare keep too many students, specifically students of color and those from low-income families, from reaching their potential. These racial and economic inequities have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. When schools reopen, educators can support children by providing connections to community-based essential services.  

Essential services include resources that address families' basic needs, such as food and housing. They also include enriching community-based learning, such as dance clubs and internships, which allow students to develop new skills and nurture their strengths. This guide provides strategies for schools to identify each child's strengths and needs, develop meaningful family partnerships, connect students with community resources, and expand learning through enrichment. 


accessing essential services


Begin Action Guide



Our Back-to-School Blueprint is an interactive series of research-based, online action guides to help schools prepare to reopen. The Blueprint aims to help schools implement practices that will not only address the pressing issues facing our students right now, but also become building blocks for a more supportive and high-performing system in general.