The Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows hosted a press event Aug. 4 highlighting a partnership with the Washoe County School District that’s designed to get lapsed students back into school and through graduation.
The Club is one of five district Re-Engagement Center sites, offering students a supervised computer lab where they can take online courses to complete credits. Already the program has enrolled approximately 300 lapsed students, several of whom are completing their coursework at the Club’s 9th Street location.
Today’s event was an inspiring display of the kind of progress that comes from quality public-private partnerships. We look forward to continued success from this program and hope to expand it in the future.
(Photo Courtesy of Val Martino, WCSD)
From the Washoe County School District
As a part of its continued emphasis on ensuring all children in Washoe County graduate ready for college and/or highly-skilled careers, the Washoe County School District is taking an innovative approach to getting students back in school.
Through credit recovery programs, tutoring opportunities, educational counseling and connections to community resources that support youth and families, the WCSD’s new Re-Engagement Centers deliver a unique service that allow students to get back on track toward high school graduation.
“When we find a child who is not enrolled in school, we set out to find the reasons why. Then we pull all of our resources together and come up with a plan that allows them to focus on learning and to eventually get back in the classroom,” Rechelle Murillo, the District’s re-engagement community outreach coordinator said. “Essentially, we try to eliminate any barriers that the student is facing by providing wrap-around services so that they can truly concentrate on their studies.”
The District is collaborating with different community agencies to identify students who are not in school and re-engagement specialists are conducting home visits to see what is needed to get the child back in the classroom.
At an event on Aug. 4, the WCSD and Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows, which houses a Re-Engagement Center at its East Ninth Street location, celebrated the efforts to re-engage students during the summer months.
Frank Selvaggio, who oversees the grant, said partnering with existing organizations is one aspect that is making the re-engagement efforts effective in Washoe County.
“These centers are located where we would typically find children who have vanished from the public education system. By approaching them in this setting, it gives us a chance to re-engage students in an environment in which they feel more comfortable.” Murrillo said that since the Centers opened in May, more than 300 students have re-engaged and credits have already begun to rack up with some students preparing to take the GED.
“We are showing our students that we will never give up on them, that we will never turn our backs on them. We are sending them the message that their education is important to us and we will be there to provide the support and services they need to prepare them for the future.”
The funding for the District’s latest re-engagement initiative comes from the High School Graduation Initiative Grant, which was awarded last year to WCSD from the U.S Department of Education. The $14 million grant spans a five-year period. The WCSD’s five Re-Engagement Centers are located throughout the community: at the Children’s Cabinet, the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows, the Record Street Family Shelter, O’Brien Middle School and Sparks High School Community Learning Center.
Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows Chief Professional Officer Mike Wurm said, “As a community organization that works with kids, we see every day how critical it is for young people to finish school as they start their adult lives. If we can leverage our resources partnering with Washoe County School District to improve graduation rates, it’s a win-win – another way to help kids find the path toward a great future.”
The efforts of the Re-Engagement Centers directly align with WCSD’s reform-minded goals to provide every student with extensive opportunities to achieve academic success.
“We set forth a series of actionable steps in our strategic plan, Envision WCSD 2015 – Investing In Our Future, that would change the way we offer education in Washoe County. These Re-Engagement Centers expand the number of options we have to reach out to students to provide them the education they deserve,” Deputy Superintendent Jane Woodburn said. “An initiative like this truly gets to the heart of our goals in the Washoe County School District and shows we are serious about ‘Every child, by name and face, to graduation.’”