Education Matters: Supporting students and families in difficult times

Education

FRESNO, California (KSEE) – For families, struggling with distance learning and living with the pandemic has not been easy.

To support students during this tough time, Kingsburg Charter Elementary School District created a ‘home team’ to support students and families. The district brought some students back on campus for in-person learning, but many remain home being taught online.

“We knew going into this school year that it was going to be an outside-of-the-box kind of year and we had to meet that by thinking outside of the box,” said the district’s Joy Bratton.

Officials knew distance learning was not going to be easy for students and their families.

“We knew this would be a challenge on many different levels – on the technology level on the emotional level. We put together the home team to provide that level of support.”

The home team staff includes a behavior interventionist, a homeless/foster youth community liaison, an attendance specialist, a counselor, and the local resource center – all coming together to help families during a difficult time.

“What are their needs, it might be technology, it might be food delivery, it might be transportation.”

School staff make referrals that are followed up with home visits.

“A lot of times when we go into the home the students just want to talk. They want us to help them but they also want to sit and talk about just what they’re doing that day,” said Cayella Rodriguez, Home Team project manager

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, members of the home team say it is now impacting the social and emotional well being of families.

“Losing jobs, not being able to pay your bills, feeling that their kid is not having their socialization being met.”

The local community resource center works closely with the schools and has seen the number of families needing food and financial help increase sharply.

“And then just seeing kids and families depressed in a way, grieving and needing that counseling or needing the ear to listen to them. That was huge.”

A school and community partnership working to ease the burden of families – so students can learn.

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