Back on Campus
The month of April marked a momentous occasion for our students with the launch of hybrid learning. After a year of distance learning, scholars across the district were given the option to return to campus. Communities In Schools is grateful to be afforded the opportunity to return with the school staff to help better support our students throughout this transition.
Many of our School Outreach Coordinators shared story after story this month about the return to campus and hybrid learning. Our School Outreach Coordinator, Alicia Vasey-Neilson at Sequoyah Middle School, was happy to share her experience assisting the logistics team with the return to school. This included things like planning and executing the morning and afternoon check in and check out procedures.
Another story came to us from Alexis Jordan at Totem Middle School. Alexis shared some of her students’ remarks on how much they enjoyed the smaller class sizes. Amanda Martinson at Lakota Middle School and Makenna Lester at Kilo Middle School both shared how exciting it was to have their first opportunity on their new campuses this year. Both Amanda and Makenna had transferred to new school sites and this was their first time interacting with their students on their new campus. Charisse Abellard-Knight had a similar experience with this year being her very first year as a School Outreach Coordinator with Communities In Schools. Charisse was able to relate to her students with similar shared experiences since this was also many of her students at Sacajawea Middle Schools first year as well.
Gina Forest, our School Outreach Coordinator at Federal Way High School, shared details about checking in with many of her students about the transition focusing on how the first couple days had gone. Her students had this to say, “ Hybrid is really fun. It’s kind of conventional. It’s fun to be around your classmates and friends. I like seeing my teacher’s and meeting my new teacher’s face to face. To get out and see many different ways to complete an assignment.”
Gina followed up asking her students if they would prefer remote learning or hybrid. A few students said they prefer hybrid because they felt you can learn a lot more things and not get distracted by your phone, your game system or any of the other noises in the house. It was the popular consensus that there should only be a few hours of learning a day especially because we have to keep our mask on. Other students focused on speaking to their social emotional health stating, “it is good to get outside and get fresh air and to have that face-to-face conversation with different people outside of your household.” Welcome back scholars! We are all looking to fall with a sense of hope, continuing to move forward.
Virtual Paint Night
In April, our School Outreach Coordinator, Precious Yarborough at Madrona Elementary, hosted a Virtual Paint Night. Precious and her students gathered together via Zoom to meet with Teacher Claudia from Seattle Paint Party. During the event teacher Claudia walked the students through painting a tiger step by step. Precious organized for each student who was going to participate to receive an art kit delivery with further instruction prior to the day of the event. All of the students had a lot of fun and enjoyed the paint night.
In the month of April, community partner Brooklake Church coordinated with our School Outreach Coordinator, Pat Perkins at Illahee Middle School to select a service project assisting one of our families. The Church’s outreach ministry wanted to roll up their sleeves and do something for a family in need. They came up with ideas ranging from painting rooms to shampooing carpets. By working closely with Ms. Pat the ministry selected a project to support one of our families. The Brooklake Outreach Ministry has committed to a backyard clean up and makeover later this May. The family selected was a family with 4 boys. Pat has been heavily involved in coordinating the timeline and efforts for the big endeavor. This project will include digging up and cleaning the backyard along with laying new sod for the family. The goal is to create a clean and safe place for the 4 boys to play.
Project Beauty Share
Our School Outreach Coordinator, Sadie Strain at Highline High School, received a large donation of hygiene and makeup items. Sadie secured the donation from Project Beauty Share an organization based out of Spokane. Project Beauty Share generously packed up several boxes of hygiene items to be distributed to our families during our upcoming resource fair in June. We would like to extend a special thank you to Kayla from our Communities In Schools Washington State Office for assisting with the item pick up in Spokane. We would also like to send our gratitude to Bethany and Krystal at Project Beauty Share for helping support our students!
Letter of Appreciation
Our School Outreach Coordinator, Shana Ludwig at Decatur High School, shared a wonderful letter of appreciation from one of her students with us. Shana was honored to receive such a heartfelt handwritten letter by a student. In the letter the student praises Shana writing, “You have done so much for me, that I just wanted to write you a letter of appreciation! Online school has been very difficult, but I’m grateful for you, BSU & GUARD for helping me through these tough times.” The student goes on to lament the possibility that they will not have the opportunity to to have a BSU or GUARD meeting in person this year. In the closing line of the letter the student thanks Shana for all of her support writing, “But again, thank you for everything – the food/snacks, crockpot Wednesdays, motivating me to do better and overall just being a great mentor.” In Shana’s words, “My student’s words humbled me and allowed me to see that even during this crazy school year, I was able to still support my students.”
Scholar Voice Collaborative
Over at TAF@Saghalie, the Scholar Voice Collaborative group is ready for action. Our School Outreach Coordinator Kimberly Foster tells us, the students are working on their letters to the Superintendent about the changes they would like to see in their school. The SVC students have designed a logo, letterhead, and constructed the plan to outreach to more students. In realizing that they want their project to be accessible to more students, the SVC group is also brainstorming how to use media to record and create a video project.
SOAR students at Todd Beamer High School recently created a lesson on implicit bias. Our School Outreach Coordinator, Cierra Gamble shared the scoop with us. Cierra was happy to share that the SOAR students lesson will be shared with the entire school during TBtalks (the school advisory). She spoke very highly of our students and was beaming with pride to share their accomplishment with us. “They’re an amazing bunch of young ladies that have some amazing ideas and thoughts about the world around them” Cierra said. Additionally, Cierra mentioned that the group had the opportunity to join the Black Student Union and GAURD group from Decatur High School at a meeting in April. It was a wonderful experience for the students from Todd Beamer to connect and communicate with their peers from a neighboring school in the community.
Resource & Job Fair
Our School Outreach Coordinator, Markese Walker-Brown at Truman Campus, assisted supporting scholars attending a Resource and Job Fair presented by the Y Social Impact Center on April 14th-15th. Markese was happy to share, some of his case managed students were able to attend along with other students from Truman and other schools in the area. One of the first events included employers like Hyatt Hotels, Amazon, Starbucks, and YMCA, just to name a few. “This opportunity was great for our Career Academy scholars which coincided with the “informational interview” requirements that we have in place” said Markese. Scholars must complete two interviews within their areas of interest each semester. At the conclusion of the resource fair, Markese worked with his students on sending follow up emails to thank the prospective employers for their time and efforts in speaking to our scholars.
Tre Howard, our new School Outreach Coordinator at Thomas Jefferson High School, has been working hard to build connections with his students and the Thomas Jefferson community. Thanks to the generosity of one special Thomas Jefferson family member, Tre was able to procure wonderful hand-crafted planners. In April, he was able to provide seven students with hand-crafted calendar planners. Tre was excited to relay to us, since giving out the planners, he has been able to connect and build stronger relationships with his students. The planners have assessed through homework help and staying up to date with tasks, deadlines, and important dates. Tre takes the time to work with his students to assist each of them in filing out their planners together. “I am so impressed by our families at TJ and want to send a special thank you to the family member who donated such a wonderful tool for our students to use,” said Tre.