DC Student Support Center Receives CDE Grant

DC Student Support Center Receives Colorado Department of Education Grant
Posted on 08/26/2019

Student Assistance Expands Programs for At-Risk Students

“A Holistic Approach to Getting Kids Back on Track”


When students struggle with habitual truancy, behavior incidents, suspension, and even expulsion, Douglas County School District (DCSD) has resources available to help. These resources are about to become even more accessible thanks to a newly-awarded grant from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). The Expelled and At-Risk Student Grant (or EARSS Grant) will provide $1.2 million to the DCSD Douglas County Student Support Center to fund increased truancy intervention programming for a minimum of 2,840 district-wide secondary students who are truant, at-risk for suspension, and expelled over the next four years.

“I’ve been in this field for a long time,” says Dr. Janet Laning-Krug, Program Coordinator of the DC Student Assistance Department. “The families that come here just want help for their kids, they just don’t know how to access the resources they need.”

DCSD’s Student Assistance Department as a whole directs district-wide programs that aid in dropout and truancy intervention, grant writing and provide expulsion services, though they’re best known for the Douglas County Student Support Center (DCSSC). DCSSC is an alternative program that offers a voluntary nine-week credit retrieval and transition program for middle and high school students. The program serves students who have been expelled, have dropped out, or are at risk of expulsion for behavior, truancy, and/or substance abuse issues. Students in the program receive weekly counseling to provide support for mental health, substance abuse, restorative justice, and mindfulness. Students also participate in hands-on education and career learning experiences supported by numerous community partnerships and certified teachers and mental health staff.

According to Outcomes Inc., DCSSC’s grant-funded researchers, students who attended DCSSC have shown a 58% increase in academic achievement, a 79% increase in attendance, and a 79% increase in family involvement and cohesion. DCSSC’s measurable success has attracted local, state, and national attention.

“[Douglas County] is nearly 900 square miles so many students can’t get to our nine-week program intensive programming,” says Dr. Laning-Krug. Instead, Student Assistance focuses on bringing resources to kids. Using the funding from the EARSS Grant, students will have more opportunities to receive tutoring, counseling, assessments, and support at their main schools.

Through the funds provided by the grant, DCSSC will be able to
  • Establish re-engagement centers at every DCSD middle school and high school where students can build healthy attachment to adults and access additional academic and social-emotional support
  • Pay for professionals from the Juvenile Assessment Center, a non-profit community partner, to travel to schools to screen families for substance abuse and trauma as well as provide resources
  • Pay for substance abuse intervention classes at DCSD alternative schools
  • Provide tutoring centers at DCSSC, the Philip S. Miller Library, and Eagle Academy to students who have been expelled or are seeking a GED
  • Expand district-wide equity and social emotional Professional Development
“It’s a very holistic approach of getting students back on track,” Dr. Laning-Krug says. “99% of kids that come to the Student Assistance Department are not here solely because of academics. They’re all gifted in different ways, it’s just that other personal challenges have gotten in the way. Unless you address social emotional barriers, then the academics aren’t going to come.”

Dr. Laning-Krug is especially excited about historically-marginalized students in schools developing attachments to healthy adults, which will help decrease a student’s likelihood to engage in risky behavior.

The Student Assistance Department attributes much of its success to its community partnerships.

“Our community partnerships are insane!” Dr. Laning-Krug exclaimed, laughing. “We wouldn’t be able to do the things that we do if it weren’t for Parker Task Force who brings food here every week for some of the kids...Cherry Valley Rotary who tutors, provides supplies and runs ethical decision making events, [and] SkyRidge Hospital sends their HR department over here to teach kids how to write their resumes and do mock interviews.”

Several graduates of the DCSSC have gone on to become attorneys, public speakers with full-ride college scholarships, as well as involved parents.

“I think there’s a huge misconception that we only serve really wealthy families. I think the demographics are really changing quickly and that we need to adapt.”

For families who believe their student would benefit from DC Student Assistance, Dr. Laning-Krug says, “Call us directly. We have a lot of connections. Even if we don’t have the resources on-site, we will do our best to find somebody who can help.”

Resources:
DC Student Assistance Department
Douglas County Student Support Center
11722 Dransfeldt Rd. Parker, CO 80134
303-387-0700
DC Student Assistance Website
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Douglas County School District Nondiscrimination Notice: The Douglas County School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, age, marital status, genetic information, or physical characteristics, disability or need for special education services in admissions, access to, treatment of, or employment in educational programs or activities. The School District’s Compliance Officer is Ted Knight, Assistant Superintendent, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, complianceofficer@dcsdk12.org, 303-387-0067. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees and members of the public.