LEADERSHIP MONTGOMERY - Legacy Class - "connecting"
LEGACY CLASS XXXII PROJECT TEAM ONE
COMMUNITY SCHOOLS PROJECT AT
DAVIS & E.D. NIXON ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
CHAIRPERSON: Greg Barnes
TEAM MEMBERS: Bernard Houston, Bryan Kelly, Melanie Lane, Karen Laneaux, Dean Peevy, Lisa Townsend and Robert Wheat
THEMATIC AREA: Education and Quality of Life
DATE(S) OF IMPLEMENTATION: August 2016-May 2017
DURATION OF THE PROJECT: Ongoing during each school year.
PROJECT LOCATION: E.D. Nixon Elementary School, 100 Edgar D. Nixon Blvd. Montgomery, AL 36104 and Davis Elementary School, 3605 Rosa Parks Ave. Montgomery, AL 36108
FINAL PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The term “community schools” is used to describe the concept of school-community initiatives that encompass a vast array of programming tailored to support multiple domains in the education and development of students. According to research conducted by the Children’s Aid Society, (2001) , “Youth need supports in cognitive, social, emotional, physical, moral, and vocational domains in order to reach productive adulthood, which is defined as having skills that will allow for participation in the labor economy, a responsible family life, and an active citizenship.” Children’s Aid Society. Building a Community School. Third Edition, 2001.
We worked closely with the Montgomery Public Schools’ Community Schools Director, Camille Anderson-Finley, to design a project utilizing community resources to promote student development. Our project addresses the schools’ need for social workers and mental health counselors on a consistent basis. We will utilize college interns who will provide counseling and mental health services at E.D. Nixon and Davis Elementary. Previously, the two schools shared one social worker whose services were grant funded. Losing the grant resulted in losing the social worker. The need, however, continued. Non-academic home-life issues disrupted the daily academic environment, interfering with the students’ abilities to learn and perform at their full potential. Rather than dedicating the necessary time to teaching, teachers and administrative staff were consumed with addressing the students’ various family crisis issues including, but not limited to, hunger, homelessness, mental health and substance abuse.
Team members were individually tasked with contacting specific universities and community resources. Alabama State University, Faulkner and Troy University have agreed to provide college interns at the elementary schools. After contacting Alabama State University, we learned our project is revitalizing a previously defunct collaboration between Alabama State University and Davis Elementary. Our project allows Alabama State University to build off that former agreement. In order to establish longevity, our team project shall be incorporated within the newly established Montgomery Public Schools’ Community Schools program, which will provide the structure and consistency necessary to maintain and grow this project.
After meeting multiple times with Faulkner University, we determined that we could establish a partnership with Faulkner’s mental health counselor program. With a new partnership with Common Ground Montgomery, we were able to identify a staff member at Common Ground with a master’s degree in counseling who is qualified to oversee and supervise the college interns placed at E.D. Nixon. The program will place 3 to 5 college students at E.D. Nixon serving under the Common Ground Montgomery supervisor and the school principal. Among a broader scope of services, the college students will focus on crisis intervention, conflict resolution, anti-bullying, social media training, and group leadership training. The intern-provided services should free up the principal and the guidance counselor, allowing them to focus on the students’ academic and social success.
In addition to providing college interns, our group also participated in the Career Day programs at each school. Career Day is another example of community volunteers working within the schools to promote student development. Our team members provided career exposure in the areas of banking, computer science, law, human resources management, ministry and charitable non-profit organizations.
MEDIA OUTLETS CONTACTED: N/A
WHO WAS SERVED AND HOW MANY PEOPLE BENEFITED?
E.D. Nixon’s student enrollment is approximately 435. Davis Elementary has approximately 486 students. Currently, the after school program serves approximately 40 students at each school.
OTHER AGENCIES AND GROUPS WHO WERE INVOLVED:
Montgomery Public Schools’ Director of Community Schools: Camille Anderson- Finley. This project would not have been possible without Mrs. Finley’s tireless efforts to improve services provided to our children.
Also, Alabama State University School of Social Work, Faulkner University and Troy University
VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF THE PROJECT:
The Montgomery Public Schools System Director of Community Schools, Camille Anderson-Finley, hopes this project will become a staple within the Community Schools program. With strategic planning, the program at these specifically targeted schools will improve each year. With ongoing success at these two schools, the program could then expand to the other schools within MPS. It is our hope that future Leadership Montgomery classes will continue to partner with the Community Schools program, develop additional services and expand this project to more schools.
WILL THIS BE AN ONGOING PROJECT OR WILL IT BE A ONE-TIME PROJECT?
This is an ongoing project scheduled to launch in school year 2016-2017 and continue thereafter.
IF IT WILL BE ON-GOING, WHO WILL CARRY THE PROJECT FORWARD?
The Montgomery Public Schools’ Community Schools Program.
DESCRIBE EXACTLY HOW YOUR PROJECT WAS IMPLEMENTED:
Individual team members contacted each local university and identified those schools with the relevant curriculum that could provide the interns necessary to fulfill the elementary schools’ particular needs. Once the team identified the appropriate school curriculum, the team identified the supervisor necessary to supervise the college interns. This was perhaps the most time-consuming and challenging issue. Team members used personal and professional networks to identify those persons needed to accomplish this project. The MPS Director of Community Schools and MPS Director of Student Support Services then defined the specific scope of services for each university.
This project involved partnering with Alabama State University’s School of Social Work, Faulkner University and Troy University. The universities agreed to provide either graduate level or undergraduate level student interns for each elementary school. The college interns, under the direct supervision of the appropriately licensed professional, will provide on-site services to the elementary school students. Alabama State University shall provide undergraduate social work services at both schools and supervise them as necessary. Faulkner shall provide undergraduate mental health services at E.D. Nixon. Common Ground shall provide off-site supervision for the E.D. Nixon interns. E.D. Nixon’s current school counselor shall supervise the interns on-site. Troy University shall provide graduate level mental health and counseling at Davis Elementary. The Davis Elementary school counselor and social worker shall supervise the Troy interns on site.
The respective college administrators, the Montgomery Public School System Department of Student Support Services, and the Montgomery Public School System’s Community Schools Director are finalizing the scope of services with each university.
The universities shall follow their interns within their current field placement programs, with interns receiving college credit towards required on-site service hours.
HOW MANY VOLUNTEER HOURS WERE DEVOTED TO THIS PROJECT?
Our initial meeting with Mrs. Finley was about one hour. Our team met with the school principals and with Mrs. Finley for approximately 1.5 hours. Thereafter, our eight (8) team members met as a group approximately eight (8) times for approximately one (1) hour. Individual members each dedicated approximately two (2) hours to their specific assignments. Preparing the final report and slide show consumed approximately four additional hours.
Team members spent an additional two (2) hours coordinating and or meeting with each university’s representative and the Director of Community Schools. A total of 84 hours was dedicated to finalizing this project.