Schools do more than just educate kids. They work closely with student families and the surrounding community, playing a critical role in ensuring that children come to school ready to learn — and leave ready to fully participate in society. But schools often don’t have the resources they need to become strong partners with families, and in poorer urban school districts, those families frequently need many additional supports in order to thrive.
We place full-time staff in elementary schools to provide wrap-around resources to families, make sure that kids are coming to school on-time and ready to learn, and support school administrators in building sustainable systems of response.
Grace Hill recognizes that schools can’t do it alone — and have built our school partnership efforts around comprehensive student, family and community services. In our pilot effort in North St. Louis’ 63107 zip code — home of the Water Tower Hub, a Head Start center, and deep neighborhood roots — we place full-time staff in elementary schools to provide wrap-around resources to families, make sure that kids are coming to school on-time and ready to learn, and support school administrators in building sustainable systems of response.
At Clay Elementary School — working in partnership with St. Louis Public Schools and Project LAUNCH — those efforts have led to an increase in enrollment, a significant drop in mobility rate, as well as a rise to provisional state accreditation. And we’re just getting started.
In the next few years, Grace Hill will continue to build out our school partnership efforts to more elementaries than naturally serve as feeders from our Head Start centers, ensuring that Kindergarten Readiness continues into middle school readiness and beyond. Clay and Bryan Hill, both in 63107, run a Grace Hill after school program that focuses on literacy and enrichment. Each school also becomes a sort of “sub-hub,” benefiting from the Water Tower Hub’s economic advancement and stability services that develop family capacity. It’s all a part of our effort to build a Harlem Children’s Zone (or Promise Neighborhood) in St. Louis. We hope you join us as we continue this exciting work.