announcement from Google brings news of new Google+ Communities. Google+ Communities strikes me of being part Google Groups and part Google+ Circles. Google+ Communities will provide a way for you to create a public and private discussion groups within Google+. Google+ Communities can have members that are not a part of one of your Google+ Circles. Within a community you can hold Google+ Hangouts and discussion threads. Learn more in the video. TechCrunch also has a great overview of what Google+ Communities offers.
Google+ Communities will be rolled out to all users today, according to Google's announcement. As of 12:11pm I don't have access to it.
Applications for Education
My initial thought about Google+ Communities is that it could be a good tool for creating discussion groups for PTAs, creating a place for school boards to interact with their communities, and for extracurricular clubs to connect members.