El Paso ISD expands Community Schools Program to Jefferson feeder pattern


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Earlier this week, officials with El Paso ISD announced the expansion of their Community Schools Program to the Jefferson feeder pattern.

With the expansion, EPISD officials say the program will provide additional resources and support to four more campuses: Jefferson/Silva, Henderson Middle, and Clardy and Cooley elementary schools.

The schools join the already established Community School programs within Bowie High, Guillen Middle and Hart, Zavala, Aoy and Douglass elementary schools. District officials say the program is both a place and a set of partnerships between the schools and other community resources.

“Its integrated focus on academics, youth development, family support, health and social services and community development leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities… using public schools as hubs, community schools bring together many partners to offer a range of support and opportunities to children, youth, families and communities—before, during and after school, and on weekends.”

Coordinator Simon Chandler

According to EPISD, the Community Schools model helps to provide supports for students, teachers and families by connecting with resources in the community and lifting some of the obstacles that students and families face in their day to day lives.

EPISD says they saw the need to add the four campuses as families in these areas became more disconnected from family and community support structures during the pandemic.

“This disruption was more severe in vulnerable in communities such as Segundo Barrio and Chamizal,” Chandler said. “The Community Schools program seeks to alleviate that situation.” 

The Community Schools program focuses on four areas: integrated student supports: expanded learning time and opportunities; family and community engagement; and collaborative leadership practices.

District officials add that the program will support existing campus programs and initiatives and work collaboratively to identify possible additional services.

Activities include classes for parents such as English and GED, school-based food pantries, enrichment such as school gardens and after school programs, and coordinating with local social service agencies. The program is staffed by Chandler and a team of AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers.

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