Posted Date: 10/05/2018
Richard Proffitt, now superintendent at Pittsburg, was selected for his commitment to the Communities in Schools program and the impact the program has made on Chanute students through his leadership and the dedication of the CIS coordinators, school administrators and teachers.
The All In for Students Awards recognizes those who go “all in” for students, empowering them to stay in school, graduate and go on to brighter futures. Since 2007, the organization has chosen to recognize those who are “shining examples of the passion and innovation that best exemplifies the CIS community.”
This year, Proffitt was one of four recipients for the national award, along with a CIS alumnus from North Carolina, a site coordinator in Pennsylvania and an administrator in Texas.
Chanute’s relationship with Communities in Schools of Mid-America began in 2014-15, when two site coordinators were placed at the elementary school and one at the high school.
The mission of Communities In Schools is to keep students in school so they can be successful and graduate. Site coordinators work with students to identify any barriers preventing them from reaching their full potential, and identify academic, behavioral and attendance goals with students who are referred to them.
They also address general needs within the school population and find community partners to help fill those needs. At CES, Rachel Harrington and Angie VanLeeuwen have solicited incentives for good attendance, held family fun nights for parents and children, collected donations for clothing closets, food pantries and summer gift bags. At CHS, Sarah Stockebrand keeps snacks and hygiene items in her office, and solicits volunteers to help find clothing needs, such as socks, tennis shoes, black pants, black dresses, black and white dress shirts and jackets.
College and Career Readiness is another area of focus for Stockebrand. In addition to the Future Now: Finance literacy program for freshmen, she works with the counseling department to take students on college and technical school visits, and career exploration field trips to local and area businesses.
“One of these areas specifically where youth went underserved, existed in access to resources, specifically mental and physical health services,” said LaShawn Taylor, SEK area director of CIS of Mid-America.
Working with CIS, Proffitt promoted and supported efforts to bring community dental health care into Chanute Elementary and Chanute High School, college-prep assistance to CHS and most recently mental health services for the district’s students.
Over the last three years, the school district and other CIS partners - Casey Family Foundation, Department for Children and Families, Ash Grove Cement Co, Orizon Aerostructures, Taco Johns International, Cleaver Farm and Home, and multiple individual donors – have invested $250,000 to fill the void and provide services for Chanute students.
Site coordinators developed a partnership with Community Health Care of SEK, so students could receive preventive dental care within the school setting. Last year the dental health workers returned in the spring to provide restorative dental services to students. This week the CHC-SEK dental hygienists are back at Chanute Elementary, cleaning teeth and applying sealants and fluoride to help prevent tooth decay. Nearly 140 students have already registered for dental care with consent forms still being returned to CIS.
Harrington said that “seeing the smiling faces of students after they've had their teeth cleaned, during our in-school dental outreach program,” is one of her favorite memories.
New this year are behavioral and mental health services for all students, with an on-site therapist located at the elementary school.
“We are excited to have the behavioral health program, housed here at CES, to ensure we are meeting those specific needs students may have, outside of our scope of work,” she added. “We are also looking forward to building new partnerships within our community to tackle any other barrier that may exist for a child and their family. We are always open to ideas and supports that will help students be as successful in, as well as outside, the classroom.”
At CHS, Stockebrand works to build relationships and gain trust and is initiating a mentoring program.
“To have a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult makes a huge difference in the life of a teenager and it's my privilege to be building those relationships every day with students at CHS,” she said. “I'm there if they want to share struggles, stress, or a need they have. If I can ease some burdens, help them overcome barriers, and surround them with support, they hopefully will be better able to learn and succeed in school and in life.”