Outline of the state of Tennessee

School-Community and Interagency Partnerships

School-Community and Interagency Partnerships

State law encourages districts to establish school-community partnerships to address student needs.

2017 Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-6101. Improvement and coordination of services.

The state departments of education, mental health and substance abuse services, and intellectual and developmental disabilities shall take the following actions to improve and coordinate services for behavioral/emotionally disordered children. Any policy change required as a result of these actions will be presented to the state board of education for review and approval:

  • (1) Delineation of each state and local agency's responsibilities;
  • (2) Development of joint agency planning and training, especially between Tennessee's state and local agencies of mental health and substance abuse services, intellectual and developmental disabilities and education;
  • (3) Development of a systematic process for securing funding for a continuum of related service options;
  • (4) Development of a definition of the target population;
  • (5) Development of ongoing needs assessment process that addresses:
  • (A) The complex and diverse needs of the children and their families; and
  • (B) The resources of schools, mental health/intellectual and developmental disabilities providers, and public/private agencies;
  • (6) Prepare an inventory of a continuum of existing services and options, known private or public agencies and families;
  • (7) Development of an interagency agreement on the principles to be included in a plan of care as they relate to intervention or treatment goals. The plan of care shall have:
  • (A) Child involvement if developmentally appropriate;
  • (B) Measurable outcomes;
  • (C) Identification of agency or agencies that shall monitor the plan of care;
  • (D) Family involvement; and
  • (E) Sensitivity to unique cultural needs; and
  • (8) Development of interagency training plan in the area of truancy prevention.
Policy Type

Family and Community Engagement

The ESSA state plan descrives the need for the state and districts to promote authentic partnerships between schools, families, and communities in the implementation of programs to support students.

Policy Type

Rules of the Tennessee Department of Education 0520-01-03.03 ADMINISTRATION OF SCHOOLS.

(b) District and School Improvement Plan. Each local board of education shall have each school under its jurisdiction develop, maintain, and implement a school improvement plan. The plan shall be updated every two (2) years and include areas such as curriculum, instruction, professional development, and community partnerships, and address the long-range strategic plan of the local board of education.

Policy Type

Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-2401. Short title.

This part shall be known and may be cited as the “Tennessee Community Schools Act.”

Policy Type

Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-2402. Legislative findings.

The general assembly finds and declares that:

  • (1) All children are capable of success;
  • (2) Schools are the centers of vibrant communities;
  • (3) Strong families build strong educational communities;
  • (4) Children succeed when adults work together to foster positive educational outcomes;
  • (5) Schools work best when families take active roles in the education of children;
  • (6) Schools today are limited in their ability to dedicate time and resources to provide a wide range of educational opportunities to students because of the focus on standardized test outcomes;
  • (7) By providing learning opportunities outside of normal school hours, including programs on life skills and health, students are more successful academically, more engaged in their communities, safer, and better prepared to make a successful transition from school to adulthood;
  • (8) A community school is a traditional school that actively partners with its community to leverage existing resources and identify new resources to support the transformation of the school to provide enrichment and additional life skill opportunities for students, parents, and community members at large. Each community school is unique because its programming is designed by and for the school staff, in partnership with parents, community stakeholders, and students;
  • (9) Successful community schools currently exist in this state. Such schools should be models for replication;
  • (10) Research shows that community schools have a powerful positive impact on students, as demonstrated by increased academic success, a positive change in attitudes toward school and learning, and decreased behavioral problems;
  • (11) After-school and evening programs offered by community schools provide academic enrichment consistent with state Standard and general school curriculum; an opportunity for physical fitness activities for students, fine arts programs, structured learning “play” time, and other recreational opportunities; a safe haven for children and teens; and work supports for working families; and
  • (12) Community schools are cost-effective because they leverage existing resources provided by local, state, federal, and private sources and bring programs to the schools, where the students are already congregated.
Policy Type

Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-2403. Part definitions.

As used in this part:

  • (1) “Community consortium” means a partnership established between an LEA and one (1) or more community partners for purposes of establishing, operating, and sustaining a community school;
  • (2) “Community partner” means a provider of one (1) or more community services or a community organization or for-profit or nonprofit entity with a desire to improve conditions in the community;
  • (3) “Community school” means a public and private partnership to coordinate educational, developmental, family, health, and before-school and after-school-care programs during school and nonschool hours for students, families, and local communities at a public school with the objectives of improving academic achievement, reducing absenteeism, building stronger relationships between schools, students, parents, and communities, and improving the skills, capacity, and well-being of the surrounding community residents; and
  • (4) “Community services” include:
  • (A) Primary medical and dental care that is available to students and community residents;
  • (B) Mental health prevention and treatment services that are available to students and community residents;
  • (C) Academic-enrichment activities designed to promote a student's cognitive development and provide opportunities to practice and apply academic skills;
  • (D) Programs designed to increase school attendance, including reducing early chronic absenteeism rates;
  • (E) Youth development programs designed to promote young people's social, emotional, physical, and moral development, including arts, sports, physical fitness, youth leadership, community service, and service-learning opportunities;
  • (F) Early childhood education, including the voluntary pre-K, Head Start and Early Head Start programs;
  • (G) Programs designed to:
  • (i) Facilitate parental involvement in, and engagement with, their children's education, including parental activities that involve supporting, monitoring, and advocating for their children's education;
  • (ii) Promote parental leadership in the life of the school; and
  • (iii) Build parenting skills;
  • (H) School-age child-care services, including before-school and after-school services and full-day programming that operates during school holidays, summers, vacations, and weekends;
  • (I) Programs that provide assistance to students who have been truant, suspended, or expelled and that offer multiple pathways to high school graduation, a GED® or other alternatives to high school completion;
  • (J) Youth and adult job-training services and career-counseling services;
  • (K) Nutrition-education services;
  • (L) Adult education, including instruction in English as a second language, adult literacy, computer literacy, financial literacy, and hard-skills training; and
  • (M) Programs that provide remedial education and enrichment activities.
Policy Type

Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-2404. Authority to form community consortiums to establish community schools — Centers of communities — Designation of individual to lead implementation of programming — Eligibility for community school grant.

(a) LEAs and schools are authorized and encouraged to form community consortiums with a variety of community partners to establish a community school or schools with an integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement that will lead to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities.

(b) The community schools, formed pursuant to subsection (a), shall strive to become centers of their communities providing programs and services for persons of all ages. They shall be open to everyone throughout each day, including in the evenings, on weekends and in the summer.

(c) A community school must designate an individual to lead and coordinate the planning and implementation of programming for the school.

(d) A community school is not eligible for any community school grant available under this part unless the school has developed a plan that provides for:

  • (1) Integrated student supports;
  • (2) Expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities;
  • (3) Active family and community engagement; and
  • (4) Collaborative leadership and practices.
Policy Type

Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-2405. Board and department to support and encourage LEAs in creation of community schools -- Funding -- Qualifications for community school grant -- Duties of grant recipients.

(a) The state board of education and the department shall support and encourage LEAs in the creation of community schools. All policies, guidelines, and rules and regulations adopted by the state board pursuant to this part shall actively foster the formation, development and operation of community schools. Such policies, guidelines, or rules and regulations shall permit teachers to receive in-service credit for teaching classes for parents, such as parenting classes, at the community school outside of normal school hours.


  • (1) The department shall strongly encourage LEAs and schools to combine multiple funding sources to create community schools and to support the schools. Federal funds that may be used for such purposes include, but are not limited to, grants provided under Titles I and IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act (Pub. L. No. 114-95).
  • (2) The department is encouraged to provide LEAs and schools with technical assistance, directly or through a resource and referral directory established and maintained by the department, to locate other available funding sources to create community schools and to support the schools, such as competitive grants, foundation awards, and private donations.


  • (1) Subject to the availability of funding from private sources for creation and support of community schools, the department shall make community school grants available to fund community schools and to enhance programs at community schools. If funding is available for community school grants, then a request-for-proposal process shall be used in awarding the grants. Proposals may be submitted on behalf of a school, an LEA, or a consortium of two (2) or more schools or LEAs. Proposals shall be evaluated and scored on the basis of criteria consistent with this part and other factors developed and adopted by the state board.
  • (2) No funds shall be appropriated for the 2014-2015 fiscal year for the creation and support of community schools. However, nothing in this part shall prohibit the general assembly from appropriating funds in fiscal years subsequent to the 2014-2015 fiscal year for creation and support of community schools.

(d) In order to qualify for a community school grant under this section, a community school must:

  • (1) Meet the requirements of § 49-6-2404(c) and (d);
  • (2) Have, at a minimum, the following components:
  • (A) Before and after school programming each school day to meet the identified needs of students;
  • (B) Weekend programming;
  • (C) Four (4) weeks of summer programming, which may be conducted during consecutive or nonconsecutive weeks;
  • (D) A local advisory group composed of school leadership, parents, and community stakeholders that establishes school-specific programming goals, assesses program needs, and oversees the process of implementing expanded programming;
  • (E) A program director or resource coordinator who is responsible for establishing the local advisory group, assessing the needs of students and community members, identifying programs to meet those needs, developing the before and after school, weekend, and summer programming, and overseeing the implementation of programming to ensure high-quality, robust participation;
  • (F) Programming that includes academic excellence aligned with the curriculum, life skills, healthy minds and bodies, parental support and community engagement, and that promotes staying in school, nonviolent behavior, and nonviolent conflict resolution;
  • (G) Maintenance of attendance records in all programming components;
  • (H) Maintenance of measurable data showing annual participation and the impact of programming on the participating children and adults;
  • (I) Documentation of true collaboration between the school and community stakeholders, including local governmental units, civic organizations, families, businesses, and social service providers; and
  • (J) A nondiscrimination policy ensuring that the community school does not condition participation upon race, ethnic origin, religion, sex, or disability; and
  • (3)
  • (A) Conduct a baseline analysis of the school, the contents of which must be developed by the department of education in consultation with the LEA and any community partner providing community school programming; and
  • (B) Transmit the data collected from the analysis conducted under subdivision (3)(A) to the department at intervals determined by the department in order to measure the effectiveness of the community school programming implemented at the school.

(e) Each grant recipient under subsection (c) shall:

  • (1) Conduct periodic evaluations of the progress achieved with funds allocated under a grant, consistent with the purposes of this part;
  • (2) Use the evaluations to refine and improve activities conducted with the grant and the performance measures for the activities;
  • (3) Make the results of the evaluations publicly available, including providing public notice of the availability; and
  • (4) Identify best practices and lessons learned for the purpose of helping other LEAs and schools in the formation of community schools and to revise the community school policies of the state board and the department.
Policy Type

Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-2406. Study and report.

The office of research and education accountability (OREA) in the office of the comptroller of the treasury shall study and report on the formation and operation of community schools. OREA shall specifically identify best practices that can be replicated by other LEAs and schools desiring to form community schools. OREA shall examine whether community schools have improved student learning, family engagement with the schools and the communities, school effectiveness in decreasing the dropout rate and increasing the graduation rate, and physical and mental health of the students and other members of the community. OREA shall examine whether community schools have met their educational and community goals. OREA shall file its report containing its findings and conclusions and any recommendations concerning community schools with the education committee of the senate and the education administration and planning committee of the house of representatives by November 1, 2018.

Policy Type

Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-2407. Community of schools — Formation of community consortiums — Services for persons of all ages — Rights, privileges, and obligations.

(a) Although §§ 49-6-2401 — 49-6-2406 support the formation of a community school, schools in some neighborhoods may need to join together to form, with the help of community partners, a community of schools, instead of a community school. The state board of education and the department shall support and encourage LEAs in the creation of communities of schools that can provide a continuum of services for students and their parents from pre-kindergarten to grade twelve (pre-K-12) and even through postsecondary education. (b) LEAs and schools are authorized and encouraged to form community consortiums with a variety of community partners to establish communities of schools with an integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement that will lead to improved student learning, stronger families, and healthier communities. (c) The community of schools, formed pursuant to subsection (b), shall strive, as do community schools, to become centers of their communities providing programs and services for persons of all ages. They shall be open to everyone throughout each day, including in the evenings, on weekends, and in the summer. (d) If a community of schools is not able to locate services for all ages in one (1) of the public schools of the neighborhood, the community of schools is encouraged to locate activities, particularly those that occur outside of regular school hours in a central facility, if one is available, that provides easy access to all of the partnering schools, their students, and parents. (e) A community of schools shall have all the rights, privileges, and obligations accorded a community school under §§ 49-6-2401 — 49-6-2406. The department may seek funds for creation of communities of schools as it does for community schools.

Policy Type

Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-2408. Adoption of holistic programs of positive behavior — School reports.

Community schools and communities of schools are encouraged to work with parents and community partners to adopt holistic programs of positive behavior reinforcement, such as the Ticket Program, that work with schools, parents, and the community to reinforce positive behavior at home and school and in all aspects of community life. Schools that adopt these programs are encouraged to report their successes and failures, if any, in implementing the program and the results of the program in changing student behavior and improving academic performance to the department for dissemination and possible replication in other schools throughout the state. School reports shall be accompanied by data supporting the results reported.

Policy Type

Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-2409. Central headquarters for neighborhoods — Establishment of internet network architecture — Provisions of literacy classes and other programs.

(a) Community schools and communities of schools are encouraged to become the central headquarters for the neighborhoods in which they exist. They are authorized to work with community partners, when possible, to establish local internet network architecture to extend service throughout their neighborhoods and to devise and implement software designed to help community integration of services and activities.

(b) In addition to the activities required of community grant recipients in § 49-6-2405(d), community schools and communities of schools are encouraged to provide literacy classes and tutoring for all age groups and to promote education, learning, and effective communication to contribute to the welfare of the community. GED® or HiSET® classes may be offered to those without high school diplomas.

Policy Type

Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-2410. Identification of opportunities to support formation and effective administration of community schools.

(a) The department of education shall work with at least one (1) statewide coalition composed of practitioners, administrators, advocates, and other stakeholders to identify opportunities for the department to support the formation and effective administration of community schools in this state by focusing on and sharing best practices regarding:

  • (1) Professional development;
  • (2) Policy and advocacy;
  • (3) Communications;
  • (4) Stakeholder engagement; and
  • (5) Program evaluation.

(b) Subsection (a) does not prohibit the department of education from working with more than one (1) statewide coalition to effectuate the purposes of this section.

Policy Type