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EPISD expands Community Schools program to Jefferson feeder pattern


(EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT Oct. 25, 2021) — EPISD expanded the Community Schools Program to the Jefferson feeder pattern, providing additional resources and support to four more campuses. 

New to the Community Schools program are Jefferson/Silva, Henderson Middle, and Clardy and Cooley elementary schools. They join already established Community School programs within Bowie High, Guillen Middle and Hart, Zavala, Aoy and Douglass elementary schools. The program is both a place and a set of partnerships between the schools and other community resources.

“Its integrated focus on academics, youth development, family support, health and social services and community development leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities,” said coordinator Simon Chandler. “Using public schools as hubs, community schools bring together many partners to offer a range of support and opportunities to children, youth, families and communities—before, during and after school, and on weekends."

The Community Schools model helps to provide supports for students, teachers and families by connecting with resources in the community and lifting some of the obstacles that students and families face in their day to day lives. EPISD saw the need to add the four campuses as families in these areas became more disconnected from family and community support structures during the pandemic.

“This disruption was more severe in vulnerable in communities such as Segundo Barrio and Chamizal,” Chandler said. “The Community Schools program seeks to alleviate that situation.” 

The Community Schools program focuses on four areas: integrated student supports: expanded learning time and opportunities; family and community engagement; and collaborative leadership practices. The program will support existing campus programs and initiatives and work collaboratively to identify possible additional services. Activities include classes for parents such as English and GED, school-based food pantries, enrichment such as school gardens and after school programs, and coordinating with local social service agencies. The program is staffed by Chandler and a team of AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers.

Story by Reneé de Santos