Wilson Forward Partnering with HealthCare Foundation of Wilson to study comprehension of after school middle school program
WILSON, N.C. (March 9, 2018) – Healthcare Foundation of Wilson will fund a six-month planning and evaluation study to explore the feasibility of a new after-school program that is designed to positively impact the lives of middle school students in Wilson. The study will be led jointly by Healthcare Foundation of Wilson and Wilson Forward, reflecting the close partnership and alignment of the two organizations to benefit the community.
This funding is the first step in a strategic initiative that is part of Healthcare Foundation of Wilson’s shift in focus to invest a larger percentage of funds in proactive, collaborative work to support sustainable opportunities. Healthcare Foundation of Wilson will continue to operate the responsive grant cycle each January for organizations to apply for grant funding.
“Our focus on strategic initiatives is an effort to make a meaningful impact in our community over a longer period of time,” said Denise O’Hara, executive director of Healthcare Foundation of Wilson. “The middle school age is one of the biggest opportunities to make a difference for youth – to steer their lives and help them begin to make decisions that will benefit them over their entire lifetime.”
The scope of the proposed program aligns with Healthcare Foundation of Wilson’s four priorities, which are primarily focused on youth and include the prevention of obesity, adolescent pregnancy, alcohol and substance abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases. The proposed program also closely aligns with the core value of collaboration and the priorities of Wilson Forward to improve the health and wellness, support stronger educational opportunities, and create a strong workforce for the future of the Wilson community.
The planning and evaluation process will focus on determining the most viable, sustainable plan for a program to help keep preteens and early teens on positive pathways. The proposed coordination of after-school programming will provide opportunities during out-of-school time with a focus on quality programs designed to enrich participants physically, emotionally and academically.
While most elements of the program will not be determined until after the study is completed and determined to be viable, Healthcare Foundation of Wilson invited several Wilson-based project partners to be part of the evaluation process and participate as primary resources. The City of Wilson plans to provide a central site for the program’s future home. Wilson Family YMCA plans to manage and help analyze the program by utilizing regional and national YMCA resources and expertise. Wilson County Schools plans to provide advice on program content as well as the space needed for the evaluation and coordination of the program.
“Through strong partnerships with so many organizations in Wilson, we have experienced the benefits of community partners working together for common goals,” said Paula Benson, executive director of Wilson Forward. “Collaboration is particularly important in effective youth programming, and we feel certain the planning process will provide an opportunity for us to make sure we are planning the right opportunities, in the right way, at the right time for our youth.”
The future home, including location, building and space needs, will be part of the planning study. Many variables will go into the determination of the best location to serve the needs of our community’s middle school students.
Throughout the planning study process, which is expected to last about six months, the team will examine other successful programs throughout the country and will survey parents, teachers and students to determine program content interests. The team will also evaluate community resources and conduct a full financial analysis to ensure the program’s long-term sustainability.
Youth Master Plan – A Community Plan To Support Our Youth
The Youth Master Plan originated through a partnership of Wilson Forward and Wilson County Schools to bring together educators, parents, community members, nonprofits, businesses, churches, law enforcement, and government agencies to work together on five key focus areas where attention and action were warranted — Education and Workforce, K-12 Academic Achievement, Health and Wellness, Out of School Time, and Safety. The many achievements recognized through the implementation of this plan have assured us that we are a community who cares about each and every child.
As stated in the original plan document, this Plan is not the end, but instead, it is the beginning of a journey for us to serve our youth and to provide a brighter future built upon strong community relationships. The Youth Master Plan Final Report highlights many of the goals achieved since the Plan’s development in 2014. The success demonstrated by each team is the result of numerous community partners who are dedicated to improving the outcomes for all youth
TRANSITION TO COLLEGE
Wilson youth will have expanded access to college through increased support avenues, effective communication channels and funding opportunities.
- Established partnerships between Wilson County Schools (WCS), Barton College and Wilson Community College (WCC) to assist local high school students with the college application process
- Enhanced the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) programs in WCS by recruiting local college students to tutor AVID students; establishing a fall and spring AVID Day at Barton and WCC for AVID students; and recruiting former AVID students currently enrolled in college to share their college transition experiences with local high school students
- Implemented College Application Week for college-bound high school students to learn resume-writing techniques, interview skills and test-taking strategies
- Established financial aid workshops at WCC and Barton College for local college-bound students and parents
- Expanded and enhanced the College Matters event for Wilson high school students and parents to learn more about the college application process
- Established WCC as a local ACT test administration site
- Waived the Barton College registration and application fee for WCS students
- Created a page on all WCS counseling center websites to provide information about financial assistance and scholarships for college
TRANSITION TO WORKFORCE
Wilson youth will be prepared for employment after graduation from high school or completion of a high school equivalency exam.
- Established Wilson Academy of Applied Technology (WAAT) to teach students specific manufacturing skills needed by local employers (Note: Graduates from WAAT will earn a high school diploma and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Applied Engineering Technology from Wilson Community College at no cost.)
- Established Career and Technical Education (CTE) elective options (such as Family and Consumer Science and Agricultural Science) for 7th and 8th grade WCS students
- Implemented Groundhog Day, an opportunity for WCS students to “shadow” an employee and visit related work sites for a day
- Developed and distributed marketing materials to local businesses (through the Chamber of Commerce) to describe the opportunities needed for students to experience work-based learning opportunities; developed materials to share at high school orientations so parents and students would become familiar with work-based learning opportunities; and included all information on appropriate websites
- Increased student participation in work-based learning opportunities from 10 students in 2016 to34 students in 2017
- Placed Career Development Coordinators in the three WCS traditional high schools
- Identified soft skills needed for the success of high school students and established a partnership between WCS and Barton College to offer appropriate workshops in two high schools
Children and youth will make responsible healthy decisions.
- Expanded the Success in Schools program to serve more teen parents by securing a social worker through NC Division of Public Health grant funding to serve all local middle and high schools (Note: A social worker provides direct services at Beddingfield High School and implemented Partners for a Healthy Baby, which is an evidence-based model.)
- Secured grant funding through the Healthcare Foundation of Wilson to establish the community’s first school-based health centers at Forest Hills Middle School and Beddingfield High School to provide on-site health and wellness evaluations and education for middle school youth to promote healthy choices (Note: The Health Center also addresses parenting education through co-location of a Wilson County Department of Social Services (DSS) prevention social worker and provides behavioral health support services through Eastpointe.)
- Established monthly clinic hours for teens at the Wilson County Health Department
- Expanded prevention efforts and awareness of youth substance use through a statewide multimedia campaign for Talk It Out NC, specifically addressing prescription drug misuse prevention (Note: The messaging focuses on how to properly use, store and dispose of Rx medications.)
- Created a complete prevention package between the Wilson County Substance Prevention Coalition (WCSPC) and a local private school to appropriately address youth, parents, faculty and staff in training/education, programming and policy (Note: Drug Information Training for Educational Professionals (DITEP) is being provided to the faculty and staff, and programming is being purchased for educating youth. A parent education series is being planned, and a comprehensive school policy is being developed to address substance use.)
- Recognized by the National Association of Counties (NACo) for our collaborative work with children and youth in 2016
Children and youth will be physically healthy.
- Implemented the MATCH (Motivating Adolescents with Technology to CHOOSE Health) Wellness Program for all 7th graders in WCS to measure and monitor Body Mass Index (BMI) and childhood obesity
- Secured grant funding through the Healthcare Foundation of Wilson to establish and increase the number of walking tracks from 17 schools to all 26 WCS locations
- Secured grant funding through the Healthcare Foundation of Wilson for the Wilson Family YMCA to establish the Y SAY Fit gym to provide access to exercise for the students served in the SAY after school program
- Secured grant funding from the Healthcare Foundation of Wilson to implement the Eat Smart, Move More campaign at 30 locations throughout the community to encourage increased consumption of water and reduced consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages
- Established the Wilson Food Network (comprised of community hunger assistance groups) to address community needs and identify food gaps (Note: The access to community gardens within low-income neighborhoods and schools has increased, which includes new gardens within the Wilson Housing Authority properties, Hope Station, and the expansion of existing community gardens at White Oak Church and Wilson Community Improvement Association.)
- Established breakfast and lunch at no cost in WCS elementary schools and select middle schools through the federal Community Eligibility Provision
- Established health checks and dental and vision screenings for local youth who attend the annual Community Health Fair
Children and youth will be emotionally healthy.
- Established regular behavioral health screenings to administer to children during well visit check ups with local pediatricians
- Implemented evidence-based Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies (PBIS) at all 26 WCS schools
- Provided Youth Mental Health First Aid and Adult Mental Health First Aid to hundreds of community members and professionals (Note: This training provides a framework for responding to mental health challenges in the community and helps remove the stigma of mental health, substance use and developmental disabilities.)
- Implemented and installed mental health screening kiosks at four community health provider locations to promote awareness and provide treatment information for identified at-risk patients
- Established and routinely update a Community Resource Guide posted on the United Way of Wilson County website to increase access and awareness to resources and services
- Secured a tele-psychiatry unit for behavioral health illnesses at Wilson Medical Center
- Improved collaboration between WCS and Wilson County DSS for home visits to provide services for youth and families who are living in poverty
- Developed and implemented Darkness to Light training with multiple community partners, which provides a basic understanding of child abuse and neglect and the community’s responsibility to be more proactive
- Implemented Project Broadcast at Wilson County DSS to provide trauma screenings for all children involved with child welfare (Note: Foster parents also receive trauma training to better understand and meet the needs of children in foster care.)
- Secured an Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) for Wilson County DSS to assist homeless families (Note: Through ESG funding and community collaboration of Wilson Energy, Wilson County DSS, Wilson Housing Authority and Hope Station, 92 families have been placed in safe and permanent housing.)
Children will have healthy beginnings.
- Secured grant funding for Healthy Families America through the Division of Public Health for Wilson County DSS to serve families with children ages 0-5 and focus on the prevention of child maltreatment
Susan Bullock, Assistant Superintendent, Wilson County Schools
All Wilson County students will be prepared to be lifelong learners who are responsible and productive citizens and leaders with a global and cultural awareness. Students will be innovative problem solver who can collaborate and communicate and will be 21st century ready.
Students will be prepared to enroll in rigorous courses.
Students will be aware of the importance of being lifelong learners.
Students will have social, civic and academic responsibility.
- Developed and shared curriculum frameworks with all teachers based on the NC Standard Course of Study
- Conducted Data Bootcamps with principals to review pertinent school-level data
- Implemented The Gentlemen’s Agreement, a mentoring program for minority males in each of the comprehensive high schools to reinforce academic capacity
- Trained school teams in NCStar and aligned all School Improvement Plans with the district improvement plan
- Conducted monthly Professional Development/Professional Learning Communities meetings with principals to analyze student achievement data and to monitor the instructional program at each school
- Implemented a Multi-Tiered System of Support
- Continued to support the implementation of Positive Behavior Intervention Support in all schools
- Created a plan for the district implementation of the Learning Focused® Instructional Framework
- Monitored and analyzed student attendance, tardies and discipline incidents with principals
- Created a plan to address writing skills across the curriculum
- Offered Parent Academies focusing on academic needs of students at home
- Implemented 90-minute reading and math blocks in grades K-5
- Trained and supported principals on creating and implementing Mandatory Improvement Plans for teachers
- Provided support for all beginning teachers through the teacher mentor program including mentors, super mentors and a district beginning teacher coach
- Supported the Aspiring Administrators Program for teachers to build leadership capacity
- Partnered with Barton College to create a cohort for aspiring administrators
TEAM LEADER: N/A
To ensure all children and youth have access to and participate in a variety of quality programs during out of school time
Youth and parents will be aware of safe programs and activities offered during out of school time.
- Created and shared information on the City of Wilson website beginning in September 2014 to list and link all Wilson youth programs
- Connected students who were not selected for WCS middle school athletic teams with other sports programs (Note: Transportation was provided.)
- Created a central point on the Wilson 20/20 website to link all community calendars to enable citizens to have easy access to event information
- Created a network of youth program leaders to plan a program fair for all youth and parents (Note: The fair was not offered due to lack of interest, but alternate ideas are being considered.)
- Evaluated options and hosted discussions with community program leaders to identify a Smartphone app to connect youth with immediate opportunities during out of school time (Note: Development is pending available funding.)
Youth will be engaged in quality out of school time programs and activities.
- Established The Gentlemen’s Agreement in 2015 to mentor at-risk minority males who are in high school and began a female equivalent called Her PRIDE in February 2017
- Created an opportunity for local youth to learn and experience volunteerism in the summer months through the United Way of Wilson County
- Expanded the YMCA Young Leaders Program to include representatives from all area high schools, including students in home schools and private schools
- Expanded summer art enrichment days in Wilson County townships and areas of underserved youth in the City of Wilson
Youth will be provided safe transportation enabling them to attend out of school time programs and activities.
- Trained and prepared local law enforcement officers to utilize school bus transportation when needed for out of school activities sponsored by the Wilson Police Athletic League
- Established conversations with appropriate community representatives to evaluate alternative options for the use of public transportation funding
- Improved specific areas of bike routes and public walkways used by youth who do not have alternative transportation to school and out of school activities
Youth will have quality tutoring programs in alignment with the NC Standard Course of Study.
- Created and distributed a comprehensive list of all after school tutoring programs available in Wilson
- Established Parent Academies in elementary schools to share tutoring information and to teach advocacy skills for parents to appropriately connect students with necessary support
- Expanded the services of Communities In Schools to appropriately connect underserved students with the talents and resources of community volunteers
Scott Biddle, Major, Wilson Police Department
Identify, make accessible, and create resources that provide the safest environment possible for the youth of Wilson to make appropriate decisions and become the future leaders of Wilson
Safe environments will be established for students in our schools.
- Received The Director’s Award from NC Emergency Management in recognition of WCS being one of the safest school districts in the state
- Installed buzz-in systems at the front door of every WCS school allowing office staff to grant building access to visitors; updated school emergency plans; conducted safety assessments; distributed emergency bags to every classroom in the district filled with important documents and items needed in an evacuation; distributed picture ID badges to staff to identify school system employees; trained staff members in CPR/AED training at no cost; and installed panic buttons in all public schools to notify law enforcement in an emergency
- Held the first Active Assailant Training Exercise in the county in collaboration with WCS, law enforcement and other partners to simulate an active shooter in a school, and organized a Parent Reunification Training Exercise in collaboration with law enforcement to simulate reunifying parents and children (Note: This was the first exercise of its kind in the state.)
- Secured a bomb dog at the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO)
- Certified all WCS high school students in CPR through the health curriculum pathway
- Secured interior and exterior cameras on all WCS school buses, which includes audio
- Established a partnership between WCS and the Wilson Youth Council on an anti-bullying campaign for all students and created an anti-bullying webpage on the district’s website
- Secured a mental health therapist in five WCS schools as a pilot program
- Partnered with law enforcement K-9 Units for regular visits to WCS middle and high schools
Safe environments will be established for the youth in our community.
- Established a mentoring program called Boyz to Men and Girls in Progress through the Wilson Police Department’s Police Athletic League to address life choices such as etiquette, dating, hygiene, education and careers
- Established a prescription multimedia campaign for The Wilson County Substance Prevention Coalition (WCSPC) promoting safe use, storage and disposal of prescription medicines (Note: In collaboration with the Wilson Police Department (WPD), WCSPC provides prescription pill drop-offs twice a year and now has permanent prescription pill drop boxes in the vestibules of both the WPD and WCSO.)
- Distributed 100 intranasal naloxone kits between the WPD, WCSO and the Wilson County Health Department through the Lazarus Project
- Attained 501(c)(3) status for WPD’s Police Athletic League, which has enabled them to raise funds to increase camps and activities (Note: In 2015-2016, they were able to hold 28 camps and activities and reach over 700 kids. All camps and activities are offered free of charge and include transportation and meals.)
- Developed a Violent Offender Task Force at the WPD to identify chronic violent offenders and gang members who are negatively influencing youth