Rep. Susie Lee Introduces Bipartisan Wraparound Services Bill to Invest in K-12 Students Outside of Classroom

Press Release

Date: March 31, 2022
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Education

Today, Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) and Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) introduced the Communities Serving Schools Act, which would provide grants to state and local education agencies for wrap-around services that assist students outside the classroom with their health, well-being, and growth. Before being elected to Congress, Rep. Lee spent more than two decades working with Nevada students to help them succeed in their lives both on and off of campus.

Wraparound services support the overall well-being of students by helping them develop their academic, interpersonal, and life skills and facilitating their success inside and outside the classroom. These services include tutoring, after-school programs, college prep, nutrition, and mental health support, all of which counteract out-of-school factors that interfere with learning. Wraparound services help ensure that students have the opportunities they deserve to learn, grow, and achieve their full potential.

"The pandemic laid bare longstanding inequities in our education system, reminding us that student success goes well beyond the classroom," said Rep. Lee. "When students have access to nutrition, tutoring, after-school programs, mental health support, and other vital services, they perform better in school. But the sad reality is that far too many students from low-income neighborhoods and communities of color don't have access to this kind of support. I spent more than two decades working with Nevada schools and students to strengthen our public education system, and I saw this firsthand, day in and day out. I'm proud to introduce the Communities Serving Schools Act to invest in the health, well-being, and stability of our students by expanding wraparound services for the kids and families who need it most."

"As a father of six, I know firsthand that a student's success starts outside of the classroom," said Congressman Gonzales. "My district spans from San Antonio to El Paso, encompassing many underserved and rural communities. That's why I am proud to introduce legislation to expand access to tutoring, after-school programs, college prep, nutrition, and mental health services to our most vulnerable students and families."

"Student success goes well beyond the classroom and the pandemic has reminded us of this fact in stark terms," said Rey Saldaña, National President and CEO of Communities In Schools. "To build a thriving education system, we must make sure every school serving the most under-resourced communities can provide not just high-quality learning but also the supports that enable students to succeed in school and in life, such as food security and mental health care. We ask Congress to pass the Communities Serving Schools Act as soon as possible. Introduced by Rep. Lee and Rep. Gonzales, it will establish a $1 billion grant program to enable schools to invest in wrap-around services that will help us reimagine the way schools operate and show up for all students."

"Since the first introduction of the Communities Serving Schools Act, the urgency and need for wraparound and mental health supports has grown more pronounced with the pandemic's prolonged impact on student learning and pressures on the economy," said Tami Hance-Lehr, CEO & State Director for Communities In Schools of Nevada. "Congresswoman Lee is providing necessary leadership by sponsoring this bill, which will ensure our kids and families have what they need to succeed. Communities In Schools of Nevada thanks her -- and we stand ready to partner on implementing this bill should it become law."

"As an educator at Robert Taylor Elementary School, which is in Congresswoman Lee's district, I know firsthand the difference that wraparound supports can make for the health, well-being, and academic success of our students," Elsi Hernandez, Teacher at Robert Taylor Elementary School. "In fact, my son is enrolled in the Communities In Schools program receiving these necessary services. As an educator with my own financial struggles, I can relate to many of the issues the families I serve face. I appreciate Congresswoman Lee for understanding that our schools need more relief in these trying times."