Society of American Indian Government Employees Hosts Its
Annual Career Fair
When: Wednesday June 5th, 2013 from 1:30pm-4:30pm
Where: Northern Quest Casino and Resort in the Pend Oreille Pavillion 1&2 room
Employers include: EPA, USDA, DOE, DoD, JAN (Jobs Accommodations Network), US State Dept, Veterans Administration, Federal Forest Service, FDIC, Federal Long Term Care and US Aid.
For more information please visit www.saige.org
Alise Mnati Named New Program Quality Director
ALISE MNATI NAMED NEW PROGRAM QUALITY DIRECTOR
SPOKANE, WA – As a committed advocate for youth for over 12 years, Alise Mnati is extremely excited to join Communities In Schools as their new Program Quality Director.
For the last six years, Mnati has worked for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Spokane County serving as their Director of Operations. Through her time with the Clubs, she has helped to open two new Clubhouses in both the Mead and East Central community. During her tenure, the number of youth served surged from 1,100 per year to over 9,000.
In addition to securing community support and funding for the Clubs, Mnati has also been instrumental in creating partnerships with both the Spokane and Mead School Districts in reducing the high school dropout rate through targeted academic support and mentoring.
Mnati is a Spokane native, graduating from North Central High School and earning her BA from Whitworth University. Since 2009, she has been an active member on the Spokane Youth Empowerment Summit (YES) Committee and the Spokane Schools Steering Committee.
Outside of work, Alise and her husband love to fish in the surrounding lakes and rivers. Mnati is confident that her enthusiasm and experience will affect strategic growth and success at Communities In Schools. Mnati says, “I am so impressed how Communities in Schools surrounds students with a community of support that empowers them to stay in school and prepare for life. I am honored to continue investing in the success of Spokane youth through this outstanding organization.”
Teach the children well: Community partners help schools give students a fuller education
Educators who realize focusing solely on academics is not enough are finding ways for children’s social and emotional needs to be addressed in school.
“We can’t do it by ourselves; they need more,” said Fred Schrumpf, Spokane Public Schools’ director of graduation improvement.
Community partnerships play a key role. A five-year study released this week shows mentoring programs are improving the dropout rate, decreasing behavioral issues and reducing symptoms of depression.
(Reading Rovers volunteer Sue Ferney and her golden retriever, Harry, listen to Roosevelt fifth-grader Liberty Phan read “Absolute Lucy” on Wednesday. The program helps students learn to read because they find the dogs far less intimidating to read to than humans.)
The Spokane district has at least 40 official partnerships with local organizations, but a closer look at the district’s elementary schools reveals there are far more: Local churches, Rotary groups, neighborhood organizations, small nonprofits and individuals are also reaching out to schools.
Roosevelt Elementary School on the lower South Hill is just one school where the principal has encouraged and welcomed multiple community partners – including members of First Presbyterian Church, South Hill Rotary, Master Gardeners, Catholic Charities of Spokane and Communities in Schools – to engage students on a variety of levels to help meet academic and non-academic needs.
“It’s sometimes harder for schools in lower-income areas to find partnerships,” said Principal Matt Henshaw. “The work (with kids) is too complex and multifaceted, and we couldn’t do it without partnerships.”
Roosevelt students took over the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture on Thursday night to learn about clay making and animation, experiment with stringed instruments and listen to authors. A grant-funded partnership between the museum and the school came through a program called Visual Thinking Strategies, which fosters an appreciation of the arts and encourages critical thinking.
“My favorite part was the clay, because I made a sea serpent,” said Evander Volavka, 6. His sister, Leena, enjoyed the animation.
“The kids have a limited exposure to the arts right now because of the loss of art teachers over the years, so any time the kids have exposure to the arts, it’s a great thing,” said Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder, who was volunteering at the event. “Art shouldn’t be like varsity football; everybody should be exposed to it.”
On most days at Roosevelt, a volunteer with a dog can be found in the school as part of the Reading Rovers program. Students who are reluctant readers find it easier to read to canines, school officials say.
“I like to read with Harry because he’s fun to read with, and he’s a good listener and it helps me to improve my reading,” said Liberty Phan, a fifth-grader who was reading to a golden retriever brought by volunteer Sue Ferney.
Soon a garden club is expected to kick into gear at the school courtesy of a partnership between Roosevelt and the Master Gardeners of Spokane.
Communities in Schools is one of a few nonprofits that help tutor students.
More than a third of students at Roosevelt, where more than 63 percent of the students receive free or reduced-price meals, work with mentors on a regular basis. The mentors come from a variety of organizations, including Gonzaga’s Campus Kids, Goodwill Mentoring Afterschool Program for Success, Watch Dogs – dads who volunteer – and First Presbyterian Church.
“These consistent people are taking part in the kids’ lives and help them build relationships,” said Melissa Alfstad, a counselor at Roosevelt.
Schrumpf, a district administrator who has been working to build school-community partnerships districtwide, said, “Help goes beyond academic, if you are going to look at the whole child you certainly have to look at more than the academic part of the child.”
The district’s Early Warning System, which identifies students who are missing school, misbehaving or failing courses, is helping district officials identify intervention needs for children and connect kids with the right services, he said.
“The dropout rate used to be seen as a school issue, but we see it as much more than that,” Schrumpf said. “It’s a community issue, and they know if the kids are successful in school then they will be successful out of school.”
Roosevelt Elementary School is not the only school where several community partners are engaged in helping kids. Other partners in the district include Boys & Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, United Way, Spokane County Juvenile Detention Center and Priority Spokane.
“I could just reel them off. There’s a whole laundry list,” said Holmes Elementary School Principal Steve Barnes. “I think it’s critical to our mission of educating our children. As funds and resources become tighter in education it’s challenging to do the extra programs, and incentives and rewards for kids – we have more and more families that are struggling to make ends meet – it’s helpful.”
He added, “We have people that help with school supplies and backpacks and books and boots and coats and underwear and food … we have grandmas who bring knitted hats. It takes a whole village to raise a child and we’ve been very grateful to have so many business partners and sponsors that want to help out.”
2nd Harvest Partnership fills Hungry Stomachs:
Friday Backpacks of Food provide 4 solid, no-fuss meals for kiddos over the weekend. As out Site Coordinators individually distribute the backpacks of food on Fridays, they check in with the student about their goals and plans. Once a month, volunteer with us to distribute hundreds of family-sized boxes of shelf stable food plus fresh provide and breads at Shaw Middle School. Our Wells Fargo volunteers "own" this event and welcome other community members to join them in passing on nutritious food.
Cheney Schools Volunteer Coordinator Highlighted
Through a two-year grant from Cheney School District, Communities in Schools of Spokane County has hired a district-wide volunteer coordinator for Cheney School District. Jessica Deutsch collaborates with parents, businesses, and community resources to bring much-needed support to the students of the Cheney School District. For the full article from the Cheney Free Press, click the link below.
For more information on the Volunteer Program in Cheney School District, please follow the link below. This site provides information on volunteer opportunities, business partnerships, and more.
Spokane High School Graduation Rates Rise
District credits new programs, better tracking with helping students succeed in four years
More than 75 percent of Spokane Public Schools students are sporting the mortarboard after four years in high school, a preliminary review of the district’s graduation rates shows.
That’s up from an on-time graduation rate of slightly more than 60 percent in 2007-’08 and up nearly 7 percentage points since last year, when the district began using a federal guideline to calculate graduation rates. Superintendent Nancy Stowell attributed the improvement to “a shift in expectation, culture and some viable interventions.”
Said district spokeswoman Terren Roloff, “This is really exciting.”
While the overall improvement is a point of pride, district officials were especially beaming over Rogers High School’s on-time graduation rate; it jumped 19 percentage points last year – to 74 percent from 55 percent – compared with 2010.
A career- and college-readiness grant called GEAR UP was a big factor, said Rogers Principal Lori Wyborney. “We really focused our work around doing everything we can from the time they get here to get them to graduate and on college campuses.”
GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, helped provide resources for intervention programs, college entrance exams, counselors and support for low-income students pursuing a postsecondary education. That grant predates a three-year, $4 million federal School Improvement Grant that Rogers received in 2011 to improve the graduation rate and academics.
Wyborney said the School Improvement Grant was like GEAR UP, “only on steroids.”
When students arrive at the school, administrators ask, “ ‘How are you doing? What classes are you taking? And how can we help make you be more comfortable?’ The key is giving them hope for something after high school,” she said.
Wyborney said to expect another leap in the on-time graduation rates with the class of 2012.
“I don’t think it will jump up 19 percent, but I bet it will be 7 or 8 percent,” she said.
Graduation rates improved at all the district’s high schools with the exception of Lewis and Clark, which dropped about 1.3 percentage points. Shadle Park has the highest on-time graduation rate with 87.2 percent.
Fred Schrumpf, director of interventions, said there are five elements that really “tell the story of our success”:
• Tracking the students – all the principals know if any of their students are missing and where they went.
• A single point of contact for kids asking to be released for GED – the students are assessed to determine if the district offers a program that might work better than the traditional school.
• Targeted identification and support of students with multiple risk factors, such as truancy.
• Opportunity for credit retrieval – a new program that allows students to complete work they failed in class, but not repeat the whole class.
• On-Track Academy – a credit retrieval program linked to the district’s skills center.
“The district has more flexibility,” Schrumpf said.
Added Joan Poirier, who helped coordinate the efforts to better track students, “There are options, more than we’ve ever had.”