On October 18, 2018, School 2 held a Ribbon Cutting ceremony for its new Community Wing, they are currently the only "Community" school in the City of Troy. At the event, you were immediately met with smiling and polite young faces as they proudly welcomed you to their school. On a normal day, walking through the building you observe a sea of purple-uniformed students neatly collected together with their instructors. One wonders, how does this all function so smoothly? Answer, with a "Caring Team" of professionals.
So, what is a "Community School"? In this case, their goals go beyond providing academics and extend into providing behavioral, community support and on-site medical and dental services. It serves as a hub in its community to unite families, educators and community resources. Their goals are to: reduce behavioral incidents, increase student attendance, and increase academic achievement. Support of families on a social-economic and domestic level is designed to allow students a greater chance of shifting their focus from "survival mode" to "achieving at proficiency".
In a community where poverty and domestic obstacles can distract from academic achievement, the caring staff at School 2 offer family support during a crisis, conduct home visits, emotional support, teach life and leadership skills, assist parents in creating resumes and job searches, this is only a small list of services this team provides. It is not just this staff skills that are effective, it is their compassionate nature that is immediately evident and meaningful to this community.
Previously, these services were confined to one room in the building with scanty privacy for counseling and limited medical services were possible. The new Wing emerged from an extensive renovation of abandoned locker rooms and underutilized classroom space. It now houses an administrative area, private meeting room, laundry for uniforms, medical and dental exam rooms, and food pantry facilities.* Vice Principal Lakime Meadows states he is optimistic that the new Community Wing will not only optimize its social services but also facilitate a much-needed health suite for students that will positively impact student attendance.# Moving forward the Wing will also include a separate and secure entrance for community access.
As one staff member put it, "[parents] now know it's a space just for them". Hamlin Design Group was humbled by working with such a passionate and dedicated team.
Principal, Natelege Turner-Hassell; Principal Assistant, Lakime Meadows; Family Advocate, Stephanie Stinney; Social Worker, Marissa Reimer; Community and Student Advocate, Candace Miller; Nurse Case Manager, Lynne Arienti; Case Manager, Josette Langlois; and Pediatric Health Consultant, JoAnn Merriman; teachers and support staff. We applaud all your self-sacrifice and personal investment in your community.