Supporting Families in Crisis
Our School Outreach Coordinator, Precious Yarborough at Madrona Elementary, was able to support a family in crisis this month. Taking several months of working hard navigating relocation due to domestic violence, Precious shared with us her success being able to support the family securing enough funds to pay the families first and last month’s rent. In addition to the rent she was also able to support the deposit securing housing for a very deserving family. The family is truly grateful for the support they have received over the past several months working closely with Precious throughout the process. The family is now secure and grateful for the opportunity to move forward in a safer environment. “ It is amazing to hear how the tone of voice has shifted each time the mother overcame a hurdle,” Precious said.
Front Step Visits
At Communities In Schools safety of our students and staff is paramount. Our School Outreach Coordinator Pat Perkins at Illahee Middle School, was overjoyed to share her experience getting to do ‘Front Step’ visits with her students after receiving both vaccines and the 14 day waiting period. Pat visited 6 student homes and was able to see 5 students. During Pat’s visits, she was able to offer information regarding counseling services, and Asynchronous Wednesday expectations. In addition, Pat was able to deliver gift bags with hygiene products, socks, fun toys, a gift card for Starbucks and snacks, thanks to our community partner at Brooklake Church. It was so special for the students and Pat to be able to connect in person for a short time.
Success & Growth
Our School Outreach Coordinator, Fatou Bah at Tyee High School, would like to celebrate three students who have worked hard to overcome many barriers. Fatou started working with Mamadou, Housseynatou and Archida Diallo, after they moved to the United States three years ago. When these amazing siblings first began working with Fatou, they did not speak English and needed help with a multitude of things like filling out papers, making doctor’s appointments or finding resources for their family. Now, Fatou is extremely proud to share, these three sisters are set up for success moving towards their futures. Each of the siblings is holding a job, succeeding in their classes and able to navigate resources on their own. All three are planning on attending college and have been wonderful helping new students who have had similar experiences.
Women’s History Month
March is Women’s History Month. A time to commemorate and encourage the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. Our School Outreach Coordinator, Markese Walker-Brown at Truman Campus, wanted to ensure scholars had an opportunity to hear about strong women blazing trails and breaking barriers. So, in honor of Women’s History Month, Markese worked out registering Truman Campus for the UPS sponsored event featuring the legendary tennis professional Serena Williams. Serena is a woman who is dominating in her sport, but she wanted to take time to discuss the other areas in her personal life that many of us do not see. Serena is a mother, a business woman, and art curator. “It was truly inspiring to hear from Serena and our students engaged in a productive dialogue centered around what they learned, key take-aways, and what they enjoyed most,” said Markese.
Middle School Planning Night
Middle School Planning Night is an annual event to usher in TAF@Saghalie’s incoming 5th grade students and prepare them for what Middle School might look like. Our School Outreach Coordinator Kimberly Foster helped coordinate and plan this event for our students. The virtual event gave students an inside look at the unique programs and events they get to be a part of. They learned about STEM Expo, student groups, Summer Jump Start, Makerspace and Communities In Schools. Kimberly was excited to share that they were also able to feature two of our Scholar Voice Collaborative students who are also Student Ambassadors to share their advice to incoming students.
BSU Virtual Dance Party
Our School Outreach Coordinators at Decatur High School, TAF@Saghalie, and Federal Way High School, mixed things up and organized a Virtual Dance Party for their students. With distance learning taking its toll on our students’ social and emotional needs our School Outreach Coordinators are working hard to provide creative opportunities to connect with one another creating a sense of normalcy among them. The collaboration across the schools partnered each school’s BSU group to be represented in their first ever BSU Virtual Dance Party. Decatur’s BSU group had the honor of hosting this exciting event. Shana Ludwig School Outreach Coordinator at Decatur reported that there were 91 students and staff signed up to help with the event and more than 30 participants joining in on the fun the day of the dance party. “This was a great time to relieve stress and a time to connect and see classmates that they had not seen in close to a year. We will for sure try to do this again!” said Gina Forest, School Outreach Coordinator at Federal Way High School.
Throughout this pandemic our School Outreach Coordinators have been working tirelessly to continue to provide needed supports to our students and their families. Our School Outreach Coordinator, Sadie Strain at Highline High School, has been working closely with the counseling and social work team to help support students and families with basic needs items. One of Sadie’s favorite parts of her job is delivering food boxes to students on a weekly basis. Sadie works hard each week to make these boxes with donations from school staff and the community.
High School & Beyond Group
The High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP) is a graduation requirement for all students. Plans are personalized and designed to help students set, visualize, and work to achieve goals. During the scholars’ senior year, they will have a complete portfolio to submit and present to graduate. Our School Outreach Coordinator, Cierra Gamble at Todd Beamer High School, started a High School and Beyond group this month. Cierra created the group to specifically focus on working with Seniors that have Individualized Educational Plans or IEPs. The final portfolio will consist of various activities such as writing a resume, letters of recommendation, applying for FASA etc. Since we are still in virtual learning many scholars have had a hard time completing their high school and beyond plan. The group has had two meetings so far and Cierra has been able to help a wide range of scholars. This group has given her the ability to reach students beyond those she would normally help in school with their plan. “It’s been wonderful to make new connections with students and help students on their path to graduation” said Cierra.
Two of our School Outreach Coordinators wanted to share highlight stories this month showcasing the work our CIS interns have been doing. Alicia Vasey-Neilson, our School Outreach Coordinator at Sequoyah Middle School, wants to highlight two awesome interns that have been hard at work to provide support to our students. Interns Zyrin and Monzerrat, have been meeting with individual students to check in with each of them one-on-one. They have also been running Latinx club, assisting with Anime/Art club and they partnered up to offer some extra homework help with a group called Study Party! “We have been so lucky to have their support this year,” said Alicia.
Makenna Lester, our School Outreach Coordinator at Kilo Middle School, also wants to highlight her CIS intern Ms. Melanie this month. Melanie just launched her College and Career Exploration group. The group meets once a week to explore different careers and colleges, they might be interested in. They also cover how to write a resume, and what sort of classes they might want to take later in high school to help them explore different fields. So far, acting, medicine, and veterinary science are some of the careers the group members are interested in.
Our School Outreach Coordinator, Amanda Martinson at Lakota Middle School, wants to send out a special thank you to our community partner, Christ the King Bible Church. Amanda has been working with Stephn McNeil from the church for some time now to provide needed resources to our students including Thanksgiving support back in November. Amanda is currently working with Stephn to provide baked goods to our families. Stephn has been organizing pickups with partnered stores to pick up leftover doughnuts, breads and other baked goods. Once Stephn has the baked goods ready Amanda picks them up and delivers them to families in need. It’s been awesome for families to get fresh made items to share, said Amanda.
Scholar Voice Collaborative
This month we collected two stories from our School Outreach Coordinators highlighting their Scholar Voice Collaborative (SVC) groups. Our first story came to us from our School Outreach Coordinator, Charisse Abellard-Knight. Charisse is our new School Outreach Coordinator at Sacajawea Middle School and has been working hard to get the Scholar Voice Collaborative virtual group up and running. The mission of the SVC group is to provide a ‘voice’ and leadership opportunities to scholars around the issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. The first SVC meeting kicked off with a couple of scholars in attendance. Charisse is excited to share that each week the meeting attendance has grown! The group is currently discussing the option of holding a virtual event to allow students to interact with one another outside of the virtual classroom.
Another story is brought to us by Alexis Jordan. Alexis, our School Outreach Coordinator at Totem Middle School, hosted a massive collaborative SVC meeting. She organized SVC groups from across the Federal Way Public School District to join in this special collaborative meeting. The group included students from Totem, Kilo, TAF@Saghalie, Lakota, Sacajawea, and Sequoyah middle school! At the meeting the students were all able to talk about what SVC means to them, and what each group has been talking about or working on since October. It was a very interactive session and the students finally had the opportunity to talk to students from other middle schools.