Endless Possibilities Spring 2022

Page 16

Ready to learn:

CONNECTED COMMUNITY SCHOOLS When you think of your educational experiences

“Everything from tangible items, such as food

from elementary school on up, fun and hard

and hygiene products, to mental health, dental,

work probably loom large. But what about those

healthcare, and care coordination services.”

whose life challenges keep them from getting the most out of school?

Established in the Rome City School District in 2017, CCS now comprises 12 districts total:

Sadly, many school districts locally and nationally

Adirondack, Canastota, Camden, Central Valley,

see such students, struggling at home and in

Dolgeville, Holland Patent, Little Falls, Madison,

school, distracted and disconnected from learning.

Oneida, Rome, Water ville and Whitesboro.

That’s where Connected Community Schools

The list continues to grow.

(CCS) comes in. Spearheaded by Rome Alliance for Education and CNY Health Home Network,

“Our Connected Community Schools have

CCS works to ensure that every student is

systems and infrastructure in place that are really

prepared to engage in their education.

working to ensure that every student and their families have basic needs met so that they can

it or asks any questions. If we can inspire a new generation to help others and accept help, then

fully engage in their education,” said Roys.

we will all come out better in the long run.”

use of community resources and services,” said

CCS’s four main components are: family engagement,

CCS was able to apply for a Community Foundation

Melissa Roys, CCS executive director.

classroom programming, LINK (Leaders in Networking

“In a nutshell, a community school acts as a hub for families and students to make the best possible

and Knowledge), and connected school HUBS. Recognized nationally, LINK is essentially a single point of access system that identifies struggling students and refers them to helpful resources. Connected HUBS are school spaces filled with colorful furniture and stocked with food, snacks, hygiene products, coats, mittens, or any type of

award from the Mohawk Valley COVID-19 Response Fund to suppor t its most pressing need, which was helping students and families during the pandemic. “When the crisis star ted in 2020, we quickly assessed the needs in our community, taking everything that we were doing in the schools

basic necessities—all for students and their families.

and applying it to the larger landscape of the entire

“We’re trying to eliminate the stigma that needing

Foundation allowed us to distribute 1.5 million pounds

support and resources is a bad thing,” said Roys. “What we have learned in a very short amount of time is that it’s okay to say, ‘I need deodorant,’ or ‘I need a snack.’ Nobody thinks a thing about

community. The funds received from the Community of food to more than 56,000 unduplicated persons.” Through the organization’s expanded community work, CCS staff realized that their services are no


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