Dodgertown Elementary School will adopt the innovative Community Partnership Schools model this year with partnerships among Children’s Home Society of Florida, School District of Indian River County, Treasure Coast Community Health and Indian River State College.
The partnerships are announced as the next step in growing the successful model first implemented at Evans High School in 2012 and expanded to more than a dozen schools statewide.
Based on a highly successful initiative launched in New York City, the Community Partnership Schools model requires the core partners — the school district, a healthcare provider, a nonprofit organization and a college or university — to commit their support to the school and community for 25 years, impacting a generation.
Through the Community Partnership Schools model founded by CHS, Orange County Public Schools and University of Central Florida, core partners – in collaboration with local nonprofits, businesses, the faith community and other stakeholders – work within the schools to address key barriers to learning including poverty, food insecurity, lack of affordable healthcare, behavioral health services, and elevated rates of violence and crime, in addition to other issues as identified.
UCF’s Center for Community Schools awarded an $80,000 grant to launch the community partnership school at Dodgertown Elementary.
“We are so grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Children’s Home Society of Florida, Treasure Coast Community Health, and Indian River State College, to provide our students at Dodgertown Elementary with the resources they need to break down any and every barrier, allowing them to focus on the educational experience that they deserve,” said Cristen Maddux, chief information officer for School District of Indian River County. “A successful education means defining ‘success’ for each student, and then placing this student in an educational environment that is vibrant and supportive. We are excited to have our first community school in the School District of Indian River County, and, in the future, hope to expand this partnership to other students and schools in our district, where the support is needed.”
The first step toward implementation is the planning phase, which includes a community needs assessment. Students, teachers, parents and community members identify their primary needs and challenges, the results of which will determine the services and solutions that will be brought into the school.
“Dodgertown students and the surrounding Gifford community lack access to critical resources including healthcare, mental health services and transportation,” said Sabrina Sampson, Children’s Home Society of Florida Regional Executive Director. “At CHS, we are thrilled to expand the Community Partnership Schools model along the treasure coast and bring transformative solutions to support these families and help them realize their full potential.”
“The health and well-being of children is critical to their physical, social and intellectual development,” says Kelly Amatucci, Assistant Dean, Indian River State College School of Education. “As a core partner in this important initiative, IRSC will work with school district staff and parents, fellow program partners and community members to help each child reach his or her full potential.”
Other critical components of this model include a focus on parental and family engagement, as well as comprehensive health and wellness efforts.
“Treasure Coast Community Health has provided comprehensive, integrated, exceptional quaprimary care in IRC for over 26 years,” said Vicki Soule, Treasure Coast Community Health CEO. “We understand the importance of working together, offering preventative services and education so children and their parents remain healthy, and offering timely access to primary care when they are sick. TCCH is honored to have been chosen as a long term core partner in this community. This collaborative approach raises the academic ‘ground floor’ by addressing key barriers to learning through counseling, medical and dental services, after-school enrichment, mentoring programs, and more.”
After-school enrichment is a key focus of the Community Partnership School model to improve course performance. In Brevard County, 89 percent of students who attended Endeavour Elementary, A Community Partnership School’s STEAM summer camp made learning gains, effectively eliminating the summer academic slide for the new school year.
Since implementing the first elementary school model in 2016, Escambia County’s C.A. Weis Elementary – another Community Partnership School in which CHS is a core partner – has seen a 49 percent decrease in disciplinary referrals, a key component of keeping kids in the classroom and ready to learn
Dodgertown Elementary is one of six Community Partnership Schools CHS will implement in 2019. With the addition of these schools, CHS is a core partner in 18 Community Partnership Schools – more than any other entity in the state.