Shasta County Schools Offers 2 Programs to Improve Mental Health and Academic Achievement | Local
SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. – The Shasta County Office of Education and county schools have expanded programs to improve student mental health, attendance, and academic achievement.
One of the programs focuses on tutoring, before, during or after school.
Schools across the county have added different tutoring programs that started because of COVID.
Some schools only pay overtime for their current staff to teach after school, but some schools, like Turtle Bay Elementary School, have hired retired teachers to help out.
There are six retired teachers at Turtle Bay, who teach students and help staff.
Turtle Bay manager AJ Anderson told Action News Now that tutors are a valuable resource and have already improved test scores.
“They were a game changer,” Anderson said. “Because not only do they tutor the children, but they also help our young teachers. They help with the science curriculum, they help with the math curriculum, and really help our new teachers understand what makes a good curriculum.
Anderson said the tutoring program began by targeting students in high-risk categories like low-income children and adopted children.
Once the school saw the success of the program, it included all struggling students.
Action News Now spoke to parents whose children attend Turtle Bay Elementary School, like Cindy Rick, who say they’re glad the program exists.
“I think there are a lot of parents out there who would like their kids to be guardians,” Rick said. “Maybe they can’t afford it, or they don’t have the time, or even how to find the services, so the fact that we have tutors here on campus during class hours is a huge help not only for the students but also for the parents as well.”
Money donated to school districts to deal with the impacts of COVID pays for the tutoring program.
That money will eventually run out, but Anderson told Action News now that the tutors will be back for at least another school year.
The Shasta County Office of Education also offers a program called Community Connect.
The program began in late 2020 and helps families connect with mental health and other resources across the county to improve quality of life and student academic success.
The county realized it had a high rate of chronic absenteeism and started this program.
This is when students miss 10% or more of the school year.
When a student is chronically absent, schools ask to find out the problem and then help the student and their family.
“Once we’ve gone through and really understood the families’ needs, then we’re able to make those referrals to agencies in our community that can really come in and provide the support that the family needs,” Superintendent Judy Flores of Shasta County Schools mentioned.
Wendy Hall is the Director of Continuous Improvement and Support for the Shasta County Office of Education.
She was one of the main leaders in the education office for this program.
Hall says program support can be direct, like meeting with a clinician regularly, or it can be a simple phone call pointing families in the right direction.
“We know how to help you navigate this system and navigate the system so they get the right supports at the right time and then improve quality of life and remove those barriers which will ultimately improve attendance. and school engagement,” Hall said.
The Shasta County Office of Education reports that more than 800 students have used the Community Connect program and said it is a valuable resource in providing the best education to students in the county.
The Shasta County Office of Education told Action News Now that it plans to continue this program and expand it in the future.