Community school program expands to another district

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A ribbon-cutting to mark a Rome-based community school concept’s expansion into the Waterville Central School District will be March 10 at 4 p.m. at the Waterville junior-senior high school, 381 Madison St. East.

The Waterville venture, called the Brothertown Connected Community School initiative, is “taking the lead from the Rome Connected Community Schools model,” according to an announcement Wednesday.

It “hopes to streamline, coordinate and deliver services to students and families so that students can succeed in school, despite personal obstacles. Referrals to community-based agencies will address needs such as housing, food insecurity, medical and dental issues, along with mental health,” the announcement said.

The program was made possible with the help of a grant from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the announcement noted. Rome Connected Community Schools last fall was awarded a $350,000 AFT grant that included expanding its concept into the Dolgeville, Waterville and Webb school districts. The March 10 event will celebrate the opening of the first of those three connected districts, according to Rome Connected Community Schools Executive Director Melissa Roys.

The Rome community school concept was launched about three years ago, with the help of the AFT previously providing $300,000 for the program through the Rome Teachers Association. The initiative in Rome, involving schools as hubs for on-site links to local community agencies to help meet student and family needs, has included securing over 50 businesses and community-based agencies for those needs. The services and referrals to community-based agencies have included such needs as housing, food, medical and dental referrals, and mental health.

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