In Clintonville, Chris Van Hoof, director of instruction, said staff and volunteers have organized a before and after school program, especially to help low-income students.
“Sending them home to do their homework isn’t a reality,” Van Hoof said. “Their parents are working two to three jobs and aren’t home.”
Rexford/Longfellow and Clintonville Middle School have Trucking to Success after school programs. Staff assists students with homework, tutors students in reading and math, and teaches social/emotional skills through enrichment programs. “Due to budget cuts, the Trucking to Success was reduced by $40,000, so this year we have made some cuts to the after school programs,” says Tere Masiarchin.
The after school program is in need of volunteers to assist students one-on-one with reading and math. Additionally, the middle school program needs community members to visit the program the second Tuesday of each month to discuss their jobs/career/hobbies.
Van Hoof said every school in the Clintonville district has fundraising events or collects donations of food and clothing for needy families. “What used to be a holiday activity we now do all year long,” Van Hoof said. “Lions, Rotary and the Moose Club brought school supplies on registration day. They also adopt a family or families who ask for help during the holidays.” Elementary and middle schools have clothing stores.
“At CMS our At Risk Program identifies students who are struggling academically,” said School Counselor Jodie Lehman, “and tries to offer support in the way of setting up extra help, study time, identifying learning barriers, family contact to facilitate homework completion and extra personal support and interventions as needed.”
“This program can determine whether these students graduate or not, or become contributing citizens in the future,” said Suzette Fountain, a social worker for the schools.
Fountain said grants have covered family activity nights and the Love and Logic Parent Program that is offered to parents of K-12 students. These grants have diminished over the past few years.
In New London, Director Pupil Services Ann Christopherson reports that 36 students have been identified as homeless so far this year. “In prior years, the numbers have hovered around the upper 20s,” she says. “We are able to provide free breakfast and lunch for these students and waive their basic curriculum fees for the school year.”
The New London Rotary’s “Pack It Up for Kids campaign” contributes school supplies from the public and businesses at the start of the year. Many students are ‘adopted’ by different organizations, school staff and school organizations at Christmas.
“We do not have additional funding to provide for special shelter, clothing, or counseling,” says Christopherson. “As the homeless liaison, I tap the resources of the Valley’s 211 system. “Throwaway” students – those kicked out of the home – qualify for SNAP programs for food stamps when in a shelter. I make them aware of that opportunity as well. All county programs reach out to assist in supporting youth identified as homeless.”