Caring School Community Initiative


The Caring School Community initiative is a grant-funded opportunity to help districts and schools create caring and inclusive learning environments, foster children’s academic and social/ethical learning, and strengthen the connections among students, between students and teachers, and between home and school.

With generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the initiative provides ongoing professional development and leadership support at no cost to qualified districts. Professional development will include initial training for each school as well as ongoing support for school leadership teams.

The final deadline for applying has been extended, but we strongly encourage districts to apply earlier to ensure their first pick of professional development days. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of support do districts get with this initiative?

Districts participating in the initiative receive both initial training for all participating schools as well as yearlong support for school leadership teams. Professional development will focus on building capacity in these leadership teams to sustain ongoing implementation.

How many schools need to participate?

At least 5 schools need to implement the CSC program and participate in professional development activities. However, if you have a smaller district and are still interested, please contact us. A few exceptions can be made.

What are the other requirements to participate?

Participating districts are expected to do the following:

Commit Schools to the Initiative
  • Commit at least five schools to implementing the CSC program and participating in professional development activities.
Purchase Materials
  • Purchase classroom materials for every teacher and a Leader’s Package for each school.
Identify Lead Staff for Initiative
  • Establish a leadership team for each school. Leadership teams should include the principal and at least two other school leaders. Team members might be a primary and intermediate teacher, instructional coach, or counselor.
  • Provide a district-level liaison to help coordinate professional development.
Support Professional Development
  • Provide time and any required stipends for teachers’ participation in professional development.
  • Support principal with time for training and leadership.

What is the cost to districts?

The grant pays for professional development costs of participating schools. Districts are responsible for purchasing classroom materials for all homeroom teachers and at least one Leadership Kit for each school. Classroom packages are $225 each. Leader’s Packages are $425 and include all materials used by teachers at each grade as well as supports specific for school leaders such as calendars, agendas for staff development meetings, and tools for observation and scheduling.We are happy to provide a quote for interested districts.

When does professional development start?

Professional Development generally starts in the late summer/early fall.

Who should be on a school’s CSC Leadership team?

Leadership teams should include the principal and at least two other school leaders. Team members might be a primary and intermediate teacher, instructional coach, or counselor.

Is there language that I can use in applying for other grants?

Yes. We have put together some language about the Caring School Community program and its benefits that you can use in other applications. Click here to download.

What research do you have that CSC works?

Outcome data from two federally funded evaluations of the Caring School Community program prove that creating a strong sense of community increases not only students’ safety and sense of well-being, but also their academic performance. These gains are particularly impressive because the CSC program does not include either reading or math instruction. See the brochure for more details.

What recognition has CSC received?

What districts participated in the grant last year?

  • Antioch Unified, CA
  • Folsom Cordova, CA
  • Jefferson County Public Schools, KY
  • Petaluma Unified, CA
  • School District of Philadelphia, PA
  • Pomona Unified, CA
  • Oakland Unified, CA
  • Sacramento City Unified, CA
  • South San Francisco Unified, CA

For more information contact:

Ginger Cook, PhD
CSC Project Manager
Center for the Collaborative Classroom
800.666.7270, ext. 263