• January 20, 2020

Board hears report on wraparound services - Odessa American: News

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Board hears report on wraparound services

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Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2020 8:39 pm

Teen Parent Related Services and the Community Outreach Center provided the Ector County Independent School District Board of Trustees with reports on their activities during Tuesday’s workshop.

Rose Valderaz, TPRS coordinator, said they are a team of 10. They work with all the secondary schools and go beyond to ensure students’ attendance is maintained and they don’t drop out of school.

Valderaz said transportation is critical. Students are transported to and from doctor appointments and taken to school when needed.

Zavala Elementary School has child care for teen parents.

“It is because of our child care that we are able to keep so many teen parents from dropping out of school and (increase) attendance,” Valderaz said.

When students become parents, they think it’s the end, Valderaz said. But the team has regular contact with students and they receive points toward incentives — everything from diapers and wipes to cribs.

This year, new support has been added through the Education Foundation.

Valderaz said TPRS works with students from the time they are referred to the program until graduation. For 2018-19, the graduation rate was 85 percent.

Scott Randolph, director of school attendance, said attendance problems usually mean problems at home. There are social workers that make home visits and often find signs of homelessness, eviction notices or that their trailer is gone.

Randolph said the Community Outreach Center has partnerships with different agencies and groups and a food pantry, a clothes closet that stocks uniforms and clothes and school supplies.

Attendance for the first semester 93.9 percent. Last year for the first semester it was 94.1 percent. Randolph said they are working to improve those rates, but there have been issues such as the Aug. 31 mass shooting and threats.

There is a program called Parenting Wisely that is offered free in English and Spanish that about 250 parents a year go through.

The center sees families considered homeless under the federal McKinney-Vento Act.

For 2018-19, it was 2,112. In 2017-18, it was 2,167 and so far this year, it was 1,886.

Randolph said about 80 percent of those numbers are families that are doubled up because they lost housing and had to move in with family or friends and can’t afford their own place.

Randolph said the Community Outreach Center has a variety of ways to recover students who may have dropped out.

The dropout recovery Grad Lab program offers flexible scheduling and a smaller, quiet environment. Students are enrolled in their home campus and attend full time at the Community Outreach Center, Randolph said.

Starting this month, the program will function as an optional flexible school day program allowing for ADA (Average Daily Attendance) funding from the state.

He said 66 students have been enrolled in the Community Outreach Center program this fall. Seventy-five students were enrolled in 2018-19.

Historical data indicates 50 percent of students attending the Community Outreach Center grad lab will graduate.

Current challenges to attendance/dropouts are parental transportation issues; long walks to qualify for transportation; long walks to pick-up posts; early pick-up times; and building capacity.

Under secondary options, large schools are not for everyone and they can exacerbate anxiety and mental health issues and it is difficult once students get behind.

Some solutions are EZ Rider bus passes and using other ECISD vehicles. Randolph said increased average daily attendance revenue could be used to benefit the transportation department.

Some other options include creating secondary choice schools for at-risk students and a virtual high school.

Odessa, TX

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