Community Schools is a proven-effective strategy for helping students succeed academically and personally. Community schools brings together all the community assets needed—academic support, healthcare, dental care, counseling, food, childcare—for students to succeed.
United Way of Central Iowa Education Leadership Initiative (ELI) invests in Community Schools coordinators in every Des Moines high school. It is an important strategy toward reaching our Education Goal for 2020: improve high school graduation rates to 95 percent.
At Scavo Full-Service High School, housed in Des Moines Public Schools’ Central Campus, 22 local nonprofits and agencies bring programs and support into the school. Scavo’s new Community Center includes a medical and dental clinics will open, to go along with the food pantry, a childcare center and mental health counseling services. The childcare center, Teddy Bear Town, is funded by Women United.
Scavo has undergone an amazing uplift over the past year. First, it changed from being an “alternative” high school to a full-service school. It moved from a former elementary building in northwest Des Moines to a completely renovated space in its original home at 1800 Grand Avenue.
“Scavo students may have faced multiple barriers to success in the past,” says Lyn Marchant, Scavo’s Community Schools Coordinator. We believe in eliminating those barriers, providing whatever it takes to help each of Scavo’s 550 students succeed academically and personally.”
Community Schools is making an impact for Des Moines’ at-risk high school students. Between 2014 and 2015, nearly 1,500 fewer students had two or more dropout indicators, defined as high absenteeism, a sense of not belonging, low grades and low test achievement.