School Success Partnership (SSP)
by Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency (NEMCSA)Region 5 · Alpena, MI
The School Success Partnership began approximately two decades ago in response to community awareness that school failure was a complex, multi-faceted issue linked to chronic poverty, unemployment, juvenile delinquency, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, child abuse and neglect, and a lack of parent education. A School Success Liaison meets with the parent(s)/guardian, child, teachers, and school administrators to develop and create a plan for student success. These plans address all areas of concern and include intervention strategies for school and home. School Success Liaisons make weekly student contacts and bi-weekly contacts with parent(s)/guardian, teachers and other community resources. Most importantly — the program is designed to link families with resources and coordinate services when needed, taking a two generation/whole family approach.
Local Need Addressed
The Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency Inc.’s School Success Partnership Program (School Success) serves school aged children and youth from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade who are at-risk for academic failure.
- Students served by School Success experience a variety of issues and conditions that affect school performance and create barriers to academic success including family issues (e.g., divorce, unemployment, death, etc.), attendance issues, behavioral issues, transitional issues, and unmet mental health and/or medical needs.
- The program collaboratively works with students and their families, school administrators, teachers and staff, and community agencies in order to address presenting issues and meet students’ needs.
As a result of participating in School Success, students are expected to have increased school attendance; improved academic performance; an increase in parental involvement with their child’s education; and family barriers identified and removed for student success. School Success has become an integral resource for students, families, and schools in Northeast Michigan.
- Issues addressed by this program: Academic Concerns, Attendance Concerns, Behavioral Issues, Family Issues: divorce, death, imprisonment, unemployment, economic hardship, Mental Health Issues, Substance Abuse, Abuse/Neglect, Untended Needs, Homelessness, and any factor that may have a negative impact on a child’s successful learning experience.
reduction in chronic absenteeism
barriers identified and alleviated including housing and food insecurity
of consultations resulted in an Action Plan that supported improvement at home
of school administrators recommend this program to colleagues in other districts
NEMSCA uses the Results Oriented Management and Accountability process to develop strategies to determine what response is best suited. Input of the tri-partite board members, particularly those who represent the customer voice, is vital to program design and course correction as needed. The Needs Assessment and very importantly, the customer satisfaction feedback surveys provide critical feedback for program direction. The feedback surveys help keep staff accountable for service delivery, give helpful suggestions for improvement and offers words of praise and encouragement.
“Both of my children improved in behaviors through developed plans with the School Success Liaison, both at school and at home.” ~ Parent
“All schools should have a school success program. It can help so many kids and so many parents who are having tough times.” ~ Parent
“The strength of the school-home connection is fantastic. School Success is by far, the most impactful program offered in the school setting.” ~ Principal
“The School Success Program is a quintessential part of the daily function of our elementary school. Our School Success Liaison, in collaboration with our staff, works diligently to remove any barriers a student might have in order to help our at-risk students achieve success both emotionally and academically. This program has also increased parent involvement within our school and out in our community. My sincere thanks to the School Success Program and all of their hard work!” ~ Principal
The initiative collects data by different demographic groups that permit the analysis of its impact on different groups in the community. In order to understand the breadth and depth of the populations served, NEMSCA uses census data. It allows them to understand the counties served and their demographics to effectively determine which constituencies are most in need.
Poverty and the ability to successfully complete and advance education is linked, at all grade levels. 25.7% of the children in NEMCSA’s service area are living in poverty, with Ogemaw and Roscommon County being the highest at 30% and 33%. According to an article on University of Michigan Poverty Solutions website titled Chronic Absenteeism of Homeless Children in Michigan, “there are several key factors impacting a student’s ability to be successful in school: Chronic Absenteeism, Economic Instability,
Homelessness and Race and Disability Status”(Erb-Downward, 1). So, to reflect, by helping the parents and guardians stabilize, not only do we stabilize them, we stabilize the next generation in one of the most significant milestones in preventing poverty.
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