“What am I nervous about…? What I’m nervous about is not doing enough” Thi-Le, a new site coordinator with Communities In Schools of Seattle, seemed to express the feel of the room. In an age where education and the dropout rate has entered the national spotlight, people are looking for the “superman” to save students in need and at risk. And we were in a room full of them.
Site coordinators are Communities In Schools’ answer to the country’s call for education superheros, providing one-to-one support to the kids who need it, when they need it most. And on this day over 30 site coordinators from throughout the Washington network gathered for a day of training. For some it was their first day in the job, and they were here to learn techniques and hear stories. For those already in their job, this was a chance to share years of experience with the new recruits as they embark on a job riddled with both challenges and personal tests.
Over the course of the day it became apparent that motivation would not be an issue for the new superheros. Many are excited for the chance to help out a community in which they grew up, and they saw this job as an opportunity to jump in and start making an impact. They look forward to the relationships they’ll be forming with those students in need of a “superman” to help guide them to the graduation stage. Will they do enough? They’re sure going to try.
Check out the video below to hear from some of the new site coordinators themselves as they talk about entering their new jobs:
Site Coordinators work as the connection point between the communities around them and the schools in which they are working, bringing a vast array of resources into the schools so that struggling students get the help they need, when they need it.
By combining individualized support with relationship-based support, our squad of site coordinators remove barriers to success and reach kids in ways that no other program does. Over time meaningful relationships are formed between the kids they help, boosting confidence and setting the expectation for success. And their goal? For all kids to come to school ready and able to learn.
Meet Carol Ray. She is a retired principle, though she “didn’t stay retired for very long”. I was lucky enough to sit down with her and hear a little bit about what she does from her point of view.
For more kids in Lakewood, the end of the school day won’t necessarily mean an end to the day’s knowledge pursuits. Thanks to a new grant, doors will open to students looking to get a little more out of their school day.
Communities In Schools of Lakewood (CISL) recently received a five-year 21st Century grant totaling more than $300,000 from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). CISL will use these funds to expand after-school, mentor, and family support programs at Tillicum Elementary School. Through the ‘Tillicum Community Learning Center’, or TCLC, students will be provided with math and reading support, field trips, an array of enrichment activities, structured recreation, and much more. But the youth aren’t the only beneficiaries; parents will also receive Love & Logic Parenting classes, English as a Second Language (ESL), and Civics courses–all provided by Pierce College.
The funding comes to Communities In Schools of Lakewood through OSPI’s 21st Century Community Learning Center program, an initiative that funded 11 grantees total in Washington. The initiative is projected to support 20 sites and provide out-of-school time programing to over 1,300 students and stands as the only federal funding source dedicated exclusively to afterschool programs.
“I am so excited the OSPI has selected Communities In Schools of Lakewood to coordinate the Center,” said Dave O’Keeffe, CISL Executive Director. Tillicum Principal, Taj Jensen, stated that he is “confident that great things will happen for kids and parents in the TCLC.”