News

Connecting vulnerable students to services

By Christina Mann
September 2nd, 2013

A school created a way to manage services and programs

student-servicesThe small, tight-knit community of Eudora, Kan., is nestled between two college towns to the west of Kansas City. With just 1,600 students, our district is committed to helping connect each one of our students to valuable services to help them succeed in academics and in life.

We have an amazing community, schools, and students. And we also know that children in small towns are not immune to the darker sides of growing up. Small communities face many of the same challenges that larger communities face, but often with fewer resources at our disposal. As a community, we wanted to do our best to reduce risk factors that impair learning, such as bullying and other forms of violence; depression, anxiety, and other health concerns; and alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use. We especially wanted to increase the protective factors that make us resilient, such as helping students develop strong and healthy social, emotional and decision-making skills that will have them college, career, and life-ready.

As part of a Safe Schools/Health Students (SSHS) grant initiative, we were able to pull together community resources and services for our students. However, we quickly realized that it is not enough to have programs in place. We needed a management system to ensure equity in access to important community resources, services, and programs, and that would actually identify needs and connect students to services. Unless we could close the leaky pipeline in the identification and referral process, students were going to continue to slip through the cracks without getting the help they needed.

Closing the cracks for vulnerable students

Our community wanted to bring in additional resources and services through SSHS, and implement evidence-based programs and practices like Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

(Next page: A student services solution)