MEIGS COUNTY — A news program of the Athens-Meigs Education Service Center aims to break the barriers faced by local students and families, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ohio Department of Education allocated federal CARES funding to staff each of the state’s 51 educational service centers (ESCs) with a Family and Community Partnership Liaison.
According to a news release from the Athens-Meigs ESC, the Family and Community Partnership Liaison position was created to meet the increased needs of school districts to address family engagement of vulnerable youth during COVID-19.
“For the purpose of this project, vulnerable youth are defined as students in foster care, youth experiencing homelessness, justice-involved youth, English Learners, military-connected students and students with disabilities; however, services are available to any student or family with needs,” stated the news release.
The Athens-Meigs ESC’s Family and Community Partnership Liaison is Randy Smith. Superintendent, Heather Wolfe, said in the release, that she was “eager to hire the liaison in order to be able to assist districts with meeting the expanded needs of students and their families during the pandemic.” Her intent is that Smith will become a part of each district’s team who works with vulnerable youth to increase their access to and engagement with learning.
As the liaison, Smith works with local school district staff and community partners to connect local resources and build capacity within school districts to support youth and families. The Athens-Meigs ESC provides services to schools in Athens, Meigs, and Perry Counties. In Meigs County this includes schools in the Southern, Eastern, and Meigs Local districts. Local school district staff can contact their ESC Family and Community Partnership Liaison for resources and information regarding several areas of service.
Some of those services include connecting to resources to facilitate implementation of best practices in delivering high-quality family engagement, identifying opportunities to connect students and families of identified vulnerable populations with community partners and resources, and locating direct service providers and community partners and agencies.
In addition, Smith is actively seeking funding opportunities to provide students and their families with financial supports in order to increase their ability to engage with and succeed in school.
He recently discussed the program with the Meigs County Commissioners, asking about the possibility of allocating a small percentage of COVID relief money toward the program to begin the funding for local students. He is also expected to make a similar proposal to the Athens County Commissioners.
The Athens-Meigs ESC Family and Community Partnerships Liaison can be reached by calling 740-797-0064 ext. 1026, by visiting the AMESC website at www.athensmeigs.com, and by Facebook at www.facebook.com/athensmeigsesc