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Now is the time: Wrap-around services for students

Parents, educators and community leaders, now is the time. Want to improve our schools? Want to help our children? In the next few weeks the Congress is going to consider the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This is the federal government’s single largest funding pool for K-12 education. The bill represents the best opportunity to address not only poverty but to close the achievement gap and improve our schools for kids, educators and the community.

The bill represents the best opportunity to address not only poverty but to close the achievement gap and improve our schools for kids, educators and the community.

In our community we know that to improve the performance of our lowest performing students, we need to address poverty. A child who doesn’t attend school will fall behind. Finding out why they are missing and addressing the root causes helps to propel success. Poor behavior may lead to time away from learning, but by modifying behavior, students stay engaged and learning continues. By providing wrap-around services to address these and other underlying challenges to student success, we empower schools and teachers to focus on teaching. 

Organizations like Communities In Schools of North Carolina are deploying student support specialists, who aggressively obtain and harness community resources to effectively blunt the impact of poverty on students. Here in North Carolina, we serve more than 230,000 students in more than 400 schools. The research is there and the proof exists that our model of providing wrap-around services or integrated student supports works.

The research is there and the proof exists that our model of providing wrap-around services or integrated student supports works.

An education law that enables and encourages our principals and superintendents to provide wrap-around services will give them the resources and flexibility to do what they know will work.

I’m privileged to work with some great school leaders who appreciate our work and would like to see us do even more. Crafting new education policy that empowers schools and teachers to make the biggest difference is critical in a climate where education is constantly changing. Please join us in asking Congress and the President to support wrap-around services for students when they reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) this year. Students are depending on us and we must ensure their success. By working together, we can change the picture of education for thousands of students across North Carolina.

Eric Hall

With nearly 22 years of experience in the education sector, Dr. Eric Hall serves as the President and CEO of Communities In Schools of North Carolina. Eric and his wife of 12 years, Lissette, and their two children moved to North Carolina in January 2013.