I am regularly asked if schools are fully recovered from the pandemic. While we have made great strides in addressing the multiple challenges, not all families can be considered back to normal.
Our low-income population continues to grow and we are working harder than ever to help families connect to services related to social, emotional and physical health, and basic needs of food, clothing and daily supplies.
Our community outreach team and school counselors support hundreds of families each week as we know these services result in greater student connection to their school, increased attendance and ultimately strong academic growth.
On Feb. 22, the district is hosting a community resource event at Yelm High School starting at 5 p.m. More than 60 organizations that provide services to Thurston County families will take part in a resource fair in hopes of connecting with families who need support. The event will welcome any family, not just those who have students in our schools.
In addition to the resource fair in the high school commons, there will also be a panel discussion in the theater at 5:30 p.m. with a variety of speakers. There will be significant discussion about supports for families in need of social, emotional and physical health resources including self harm, anxiety, depression and other mental health topics. The goal of this event is to build partnerships and connections for families.
We know that there are not easy “fixes” with these topics, but helping families move toward services can build the relationships needed for better health.
An amazing attribute of our community is the desire to support students and families with needs. At our schools we have pantries stocked with clothing, shoes, blankets and hygiene supplies for students. The pantries are refilled through donations from the community.
Often, when we provide some of the basic necessities, we learn more about what the family might need. Our staff can then connect the family to community resources. Ultimately, we want our students to be able to come to school, excel in their studies, and know that we will help create supportive structures for them to succeed.
I encourage everyone to check out the resource fair, or help us keep the resource pantries filled at our schools.
Brian Wharton is the superintendent of Yelm Community Schools.