Central/Western Regional Update, October 2020

Best Practices Spotlight:
Genesee Valley Central School District’s Recipe for Success Amid Crisis

 The C/W CS TAC first introduced you to Genesee Valley Central School District’s innovative rural community school model last year. In this month’s newsletter, we highlight the key ingredients of their highly successful community school model in the Southern Tier of NYS, as well as how they are responding to the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19.

GVCSD’s journey toward becoming a community school began when their Board of Education directed it to become a community “hub,” as a way to deepen its mission and vision for students and relationship with the community. A key ingredient in its community school model is an invitational approach, which includes developing operating procedures that ensure they are a strong collaborative partner and good neighbor to the many community organizations that share their facility, resources, and expertise. Another key ingredient is frequent surveying, which provides data around the communities’ perceptions of the school district and what is lacking or needed. This data drives decision making with new programs, and the data-collection process offers continued opportunities for community members to better engage with the district. Being brave enough to try new programs—knowing that setbacks and failures may be part of the process—is another crucial aspect of GVCSD’s innovative community school model. Although they knew that the evolution toward a community school meant “expanding their lane,” they believed it was truly what was best for their students.

Watch this video to see how the GVCS Virtual Urgent Care works. Find out more on the GV website.

COVID-19 continues to present many challenges to all school districts. Many of GVCSD’s families struggle to gain access to COVID testing, and are now required to submit a negative test before a child who has been symptomatic can return to school.  As part of their community school model,  GV Virtual Urgent Care is certified to offer flu, strep, and urinalysis from within the school nurse’s office. 

They expanded this to provide COVID tests through the tele-medical program as well as encouraged staff to use this service to help reduce absences and possible quarantine times. GVCSD will also offer their 3rd Vote & Vax flu clinic on Election Day. Additionally, GVCSD is supporting students by expanding their tele-psychiatry program, offering additional counseling services this fall.  

The economic impact of COVID increased the number of food-insecure families within GVCSD. From March until the end of June, GVCSD provided nearly 4,000 meals per week to families. When Western NY received funding from the USDA, a partnership between James Desiderio Inc, Your Local Produce Connection, and 17 schools and food pantries in Allegany and Cattaraugus County was created. GVCS alone held nine drive-thru food drives from June-September, and distributed 3,030 food boxes equaling 60,600 pounds of produce. This funding not only served GVCSD families, but also many local agencies within the district. In the last drive on September 15th, the Office of the Aging, ARC’s Individualized Residential Alternatives (Belmont locations), Adult Protective Services, Angelica Community Angels, Wellsprings Ministries, and Allegany County CPS/Foster Care workers all received boxes of produce, which will go to families within their own programs or organizations.

Do you have a community school story that you would like featured in our e-newsletter?

Email Liz Anderson at cstac@binghamton.edu or call 607-777-9383.