Chets Creek is an "A" school with about 20% minority and about 20% free and reduced lunch. Sounds like a perfect little suburban yuppie school, doesn't it? And I guess it is... until you drill down to the student level. Who are those 20% of children who live in poverty, many of whom are also minority? Many of them are the same students who show up on our at-risk list of about 300 kids. Sure we have about 1200 kids so to have 300 at-risk isn't so bad, until you drill down to see who they are. In so many cases they are those same children living in poverty and in our case most come from the same little community. Each one of those children has a face - and a story.
Chets Creek is the type of school that has real heart - teachers who are willing to do whatever it takes. They often tutor before and after school or during their planning and lunch times. The go the extra mile but that still isn't enough. We know that we need to get inside this community and offer tutoring. More than that we need to form relationships that give hope to our at-risk children. They need to know that there is someone who cares. Their parents need to know that there is someone they can trust. These families don't usually come to us. We will have to go to them.
So let's offer tutoring and a way to check out books right there in their community center. The community center would be willing to offer a space, computers, clean up and other minimal services. We would just have to man the space. We have plenty of teachers who would be willing to offer their time - most of them would do it because they think it is the right thing to do - but we do need at least one paid person that we could depend on to be there and to oversee the program. Such a little bit of money for such a big pay off!
Let's do it! Oh, wait... You would think that with 300 kids effected, enough to be a small school, that the funding would be available easily... but it's not. Chets Creek, because it has less than 20% free and reduced lunch doesn't qualify for school-community type funds. That is saved for communities with 100% free and reduced lunch - although the total number of kids effected might be similar. I guess just being poor isn't enough - it depends in which part of town you live... Extended Day monies can't be used for this type of project because it's off the school grounds. It just shouldn't be this hard to do the right thing... Frustrating... Anybody know of any money sources for a good project?