Central/Western Region CS TAC Updates
See below for a spotlight on the great work that Genesee Valley Central School District is doing to become a full-service community school, and be sure to check out our upcoming fall events and webinars.
Looking for Multi-Tiered Systems of Support resources and information for your community school? Search through our MTSS-Community Schools Resource page for information, presentations, and more.
- Two-Part Webinar Series with Caryn Ward, PhD:
“How to Use the Science and Practice of Implementation to Solve Community Problems”
Friday, October 18th & Friday, November 22nd
▶ Wondering how to build capacity for SEL, restorative practices, or other school district and agency initiatives?
▶ Need practical and easy-to-use tools to enhance your community school approach?
▶ Looking to better align and integrate your current programs and services?
Then don’t miss these free webinars!
Presented by Dr. Caryn Sabourin Ward – Director, State Implementation & Scaling Up Center of Evidence Based Practices (SISEP); Associate Director, Education & Measurement at the National Implementation Research Network at UNC Chapel Hill
Join us for our Central/Western NYS Community Schools Summit!
October 5, 2019, 9am – 2pm
In 2016, Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash rolled out the “Education Bargain” with students, families and staff. As part of the “Education Bargain”, Strong Community Schools was identified as a critical initiative and strategy to help guide the school improvement efforts of some of Buffalo’s lowest performing schools. Since its inception in 2016, the Strong Community Schools strategy has helped turn around a significant number of our schools under New York State accountability measures.
During this summit you will hear about the work in Buffalo and also be exposed to challenges, best practices and successes that come with the implementation of Strong Community Schools in New York’s 2nd largest school district. Attendees will also get to experience a Community School Saturday Academy as part of their participation in the summit.
Kindergarten Readiness Summit
November 7th at Wayne/Finger Lakes BOCES, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
The goal of the summit will be to encourage the establishment of local transition teams, processes and activities that will support the needs of families with young children who are moving from one system of services to another.
Featuring keynote speakers Lenny Grozier (SUNY Broome) and Tracy Lyman (Binghamton University), free lunch, and door prizes. We hope to see you there!
No More Empty Seats: Building Your Community School’s Capacity to Combat Chronic Absence
November 15th at UDC Room 220 from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Join Ronald Cope, II, from the National Center for Community Schools for a workshop that will focus on: continuous improvement, capacity building with an emphasis on human capital, data-driven attendance work, strong attendance teams, and aligning the attendance work with student activities and parent engagement.
Genesee Valley CSD nourishes students’ minds, bodies, and spirits through creative community collaboration
In a community that is culturally isolated and economically disadvantaged, Genesee Valley Central School District (GVCSD) embraces its vision to become a Full-Service Community School not only for the students it is designed to serve but for the whole community. Since 2012, under the leadership of Dr. Brian Schmitt, the District began to assertively seek funding to support service and recreational gaps that are blamed as the crux of underachievement, ill-health and community disconnectedness.
This high-need, rural district in the Southwestern Tier of New York State set out to favorably differentiate itself as a leader of academic services that would foster students holistically and build leaders, innovators, and active participators of the community. The outcome would revitalize a community that is rich in environmental resources but lacking in creative opportunity and commitment.
What began with reinventing idle lunchtime has blossomed into a model school offering a suite of services designed to build physical and mental wellness, as well as to ensure the basic needs of children and their families that foster greater academic achievement, inspiration, and motivation. From an original $1500 grant that funded lunchtime exercise and interactive food preparation tools to half a million dollars in annual funding of rigorous and enriching programming, GVCSD is on the radar of Cornell University’s CIPA Consulting Group, which studies the effectiveness of the District’s programming.
Funded under the federal Community Eligibility Program (CEP) and now supplemented by the District’s local budget, all 566 of the District’s students are offered free breakfast, lunch or snack; regardless of income. And for those students whose families struggle to meet the most basic needs, the District offers additional food through its weekend Backpack program; an anonymous feeding initiative that was originally funded by the East Hill Foundation. The District partners regularly with the Allegany County Cooperative Extension to build programming that enables its Food Services Department to offer a robust menu nourished with produce from local and regional farmers. A recent award from the Department of Agriculture and Markets affords the District a part-time coordinator to lead a re-branding effort in its cafeterias as well as to realign its vendors to increase acquisition of local, healthier produce. Additionally, the District hosts a community garden. The project is overseen by one of its teachers and supported by a school-based club of students learning science through gardening, but it remains open to the community who can share in its harvest.
In 2017, GVCSD received a grant award from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to address the District’s lack of dental services. There were no practicing dentists located within the District at that time. Through a partnership with the Regional Primary Care Network, now known as Mosaic, the District built an onsite dental program that enables students to receive dental care during school hours. Additional funds from ARC served as seed money to begin a tele-medical and tele-mental program in partnership with Mobile Telemed of Buffalo. The tele-medicine unit, staffed with a school nurse, incorporates Bluetooth technology and medical instruments to transmit student vital statistics and symptoms to a remote-based doctor. A normal school day is not lost for students enrolled in the program if it is the preference of the child’s parent/guardian for the child’s health concern to be handled by telehealth that day. Telehealth can be used for students with basic symptoms requiring primary care and enables immediate treatment in most cases. GVCSD is the first school in New York State to be Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) certified through NYS Department of Health. The tele-mental health program provides students and families a lifeline to mental health care. Led by child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Aimee DiPasqua, an initial consultation occurs privately in the school where the student, parent, and doctor can collaborate to form a treatment plan. Comprehensive services may include psychiatry, medication management, and therapy. The District has authored other grants that are pending that would allow the District to expand critically needed onsite mental health services. Like dental, there are no providers that are housed within the District. Recent student risk assessments demonstrate alarming rates of self-reported suicide ideation and community and school disconnect.
GVCSD received a grant through the NYS Education Department to create more rigorous STEM curriculum supported by technology. Now, in partnership with research-based JASON Learning, students learn from STEM career role models through live broadcasts. Gen Valley has afforded multiple student-teacher pairs to participate in JASON field experiences to locations including the Catalina Islands and Peru. Additional pending grant proposals support the development of a community-based Building Trades learning program, a partnership with Alfred State College, Wellsville School District and the Allegany County Land Bank. Students interested in pursuing trade careers will benefit from college-level course work that can be applied to a two-year degree, as well as authentic work-experience renovating homes that will be returned to the market to support low-income housing needs.
All students at GVCSD benefit from an Extended School Day program that was designed to provide a safe, structured extended learning environment, especially for at-risk students or students inclined to deviant behaviors. Students choose from a suite of activities including Lego clubs, yoga, running groups, intramurals, Big Brother/Big Sister, academic support, or after-school care.
“The teachers and administrators at Gen Valley have long recognized the needs of our students and community beyond the academic instruction we were designed to provide,” said Superintendent Dr. Brian Schmitt. “We are thoughtful and vigilant about putting programming in place that supports our students and families to help them succeed. Genesee Valley Central School District is not done. There are other needs that are recognized as obstacles to our vision and the achievement potential of our students,” said Schmitt. “We have the capacity as a Full-Service Community School to facilitate those needs. We look forward to creatively meeting those challenges,” concluded Schmitt.