JEROME, Idaho — A strategy in the Jerome School District is proving that it takes more than the teachers in the classroom to properly serve all the youth in a community.
Last school year many parents had to take on a larger role in keeping their kids educated. In Jerome, the goal for the past four years has been to get the entire community involved in doing that exact thing.
“We know that the schools cannot do it by themselves,” said Community School Coordinator Deloris Argyle. “Teachers cannot fill the need for the child for food dental, all of that. The teacher is there to teach, we need to bring those resources in.
The community school strategy was brought to Jerome by the United Way of South-Central Idaho. The purpose is to involve every business, organization, and resident in helping students have the best chance possible at success.
The community school strategy uses and involves community partners in ways to help provide basic needs for students. Things such as food, clothing, eye glasses, and other necessities a teacher can’t provide. More than basic needs, community partners are also involved in advancing the well-being of children and their families now and for future generations.
“If a student is hungry, they are not going to be attending to the academic task that we are asking for,” said Kim Lickley with the Jerome School District. “If they're concerned on wearing the same clothes for the third day in a row again, their tension, their energy, their cognitive needs are on that instead of on the academics that we are trying to support them with.”
From a community closet and food pantry to community read boxes, and early educational learning opportunities, the community school strategy has been able to move the needle in academics and overall wraparound support for students in Jerome for the past four years.
“I want people to understand that community schools are not all about things,” said Argyle. “It’s not about the things we can get them, it’s about building up the programs around the schools.”
The first week of school for the 2021-2022 year has concluded and now the success of Jerome students will be on the minds of more than just the teachers.
“The more that we have at the table the more that we can change the way things are done and drive towards improvement,” said Lickley.