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School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Share your story
Author: System Manager
Title: System Administrator
Role: Building admin/coordinator
Location: Providence, RI
An administrator's perspective:
In Boulder, Colorado the school district joined force with the city and implemented a delivery system that has been tried in other communities. This system is called the "Family Resoure School". To implement this system, the stake holders, i.e. the parents teachers and administrator of the school must agree as to what the needs of the school community are. In our case, the school community identified the following as high needs:
1. Before and after school child care
2. Health and wellnes programs
3. Counselling program
4. Adult education
5. family support
The theory is to provide families a "one-stop shop" a place where they can get the resources that they need rather than go all over the city looking for resources. In addition, a "one-stop" approach would increase the involvement of parents. This family resource school would be located in an elementary school.
The FRS would have a governing body to prioritize the spending that the city and the district would contribute to the school. Let me back up a little bit here and explain a little bit of the history on how we got here. The city of Boulder has a human services department withinh the city infrastucture and a Human Relation Commision. The HRC would dole out a considerable amount of money to worthy non-profits to implement services. The city council wanted to investigate another approach to provide human services and after a major study decided on this approach. The city after deciding on the FRS model, then commisioned an outside group to conduct a series of focus groups to determine need. This took place in 1991. The FRS model has been around since then and stil operating today.
The outcomes would be to increase the achievement of students, increase the attendance of students and decrease the incident of students dropping-out of school. The city has undergone some process evaluations and have found that the program is well received by parents children and faculty. As for the outcome evaluations concerning the the above, the city and the school district have colected some annotative data, but have not figured out a method for collecting the data to see if the FRS has had any significant results concerning achievement, attendance and dropouts. From an administrators observations, I believe that it has helped, but one can't say that the increas in achievemnet is soley credited to the FRS. The two schools that have a high impact of students who display a number of "at-risk" factors, these schools are seen as successful as measured by the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP). Each school consistently, 60% of the student population are scoring at or above proficiency in reading and math.
The parents are engaged in the school process. They attend English as a second language class in the evenings, one school has implemented a family literacy model based on the national family literacy model with the PACT (parents and children together)time included. Each program contracts out with the the local mental health center and brings in a familt therapist to work at least 20 hours per week. Along with the family therapist there is a registered nurse that provides the families with assistance to health providers. The Family support person whom usually is the FRS site coordinator acts a a "jack-of -all-trades" and sopports the family with other support. The after school program is usually enrichment activities along with homework assistance. The children who sign-up for the program spend an added 1.5 hours at school. For some children transportation is provided.
All of the programming is decided by the local governance group which is comprised with a majority of parents. This group is more than advisory, they in essence do set policy for the family resource school.