In fiscal year 2002, Congress appropriated funding for the Community Service Program initiative (Title IV, Part A, Section 4126) to serve students who were expelled or suspended from school. States were provided grants to initiate programs for students that would require them to perform community service.
In North Carolina, programs were established to provide opportunities for communities to establish or expand activities in community learning centers and provide the following:
- programs for suspended and expelled students to perform community service,
- opportunities for academic enrichment, including tutorial services to help students, particularly students who attended low-performing schools to meet State achievement standards in core academic subjects such as reading, and mathematics;
- a broad array of additional services, programs and activities such as youth development activities, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, music, and recreation programs, technical education programs, and character education programs.
The goal of the State Board of Education and the Governor’s office was to make funds available for high quality programs requiring students who were suspended or expelled to participate in a community service program.
Programs applying for community service funds were required to align with the following strategic priorities of the State Board of Education:
- Alternative placement of suspended and expelled students because these students were extremely high-risk for school failure and dropping-out.
- Management of disruptive students because these students would continue with us in our schools and/or communities and needed the continued supervision and adult contact that these programs provided.
- Emphasis on improving student academic performance and school attendance for students attending low-performing schools while reducing the likelihood of dropping out of school, increased truancy, increased student violence and crime, and the possibility of substance use/abuse.
- Safe, orderly and caring environments where every student has an opportunity to establish a relationship with a caring adult who is interested in their success and where every family member is welcomed and engaged in the learning process.
- High expectation for students where school and community partners articulate positive and supportive academic and career messages.
- Strong family, community, and business support where there is a demonstrated involvement of families and effective partnerships between community-based business and the public schools.
- Effective and efficient operations that are documented by appropriate planning, a needs assessment, measurable goals and objectives, high quality staff, a process for routine program monitoring, regular feedback and a mechanism for documenting lessons learned.