Monday, May 23, 2016

Family Intervention Services Grant to Improve Success for Students Returning From Alternative Placement

Richland Two's Family Intervention Services is the recipient of an Education and Economic Development Act (EEDA) funds for the Preparing College and Career Ready Graduates grant. The grant will be worth $ $375,000 over the next two-and-half years and will be used to fund the Building Bridges to Success program and other support and enrichment services at our two alternative academies.

Building Bridges to Success is a six-week multi-family group program that was developed specifically to meet the needs of the students and their families at Blythewood Academy and Anna Boyd School.  Participation in this or another family counseling service is required in order to transition back to their home school. Over the course of the grant, approximately 750 students will be impacted.

"We provide services to families because we see the family as the key to improving outcomes for children," said Dr. Karen Cooper-Haber, Family Intervention Services Coordinator.

Based on 2014-2015 school year data, participation in the program should result in decreased truancy, absenteeism (reduced 3 percent), discipline infractions (reduced 3 percent), and  drop-out rates (all participants complete an individual graduation plan). This will result in students' increased achievement, graduate rate (80 percent of participants will graduate on time) and positive attitudes about school and learning.

The money will fund add two “intersessions” during the summer. During these 4 day-long sessions, students will receive remediation as well as participate in learning and leadership activities. The grant also pays for three part-time positions: two case managers and a program coordinator. Case managers Ebony Langhorne and Taylor Davis develop plans for each student prior to their return to their home school. The plan includes linking students with a teacher, social worker, counselor or other appropriate adult who will assist in the student’s transition and success upon return to the home school.

Housed on the campus of Richland Northeast High School, the staff of Family Intervention Services provide individual and family counseling, multi-family groups, community service opportunities and ongoing dialogue with the school and other community representatives. Building Bridges to Success, recognized as an evidence-based intervention by the National Drop Out Prevention Center, focuses on family engagement, one of the 15 Effective Strategies for Dropout Prevention, according to National Dropout Prevention Center/Network at Clemson University. Family Intervention Services is the only school district program in the Midlands that employs family counselors who provides on-going counseling services to families.

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