American public education policy and practice has long focused on what can be done to meet the academic needs of all students during the school day. Today, more families and students are facing challenges outside of school that affect student academic performance in classrooms. Challenges such as homelessness, food security, mental health and general health and well-being can adversely affect a student's ability to come to school on time, every day, ready to learn. These types of challenges can be addressed by state education agencies (SEAs) when they partner with other systemic, state and community partners that are working to address these challenges daily.
This document reflects what improving those conditions looks like in practice and profiles promising examples across the country where states have taken action to maximize academic outcomes for students. These promising examples are intended to provide ideas and inspiration to spur other states to explore new partnerships with state-level organizations such as state health departments and social services, to seek new approaches to policy and consider how to use existing funding to improve the conditions for learning for all students.
*This publication was updated in November 2019 to include eight new state examples.