Strengthening Families and Communities: The Family Resource Schools
This Colorado school district developed a way to make all families feel included.
A child's success in school depends partly on the overall health of the child's family and community. That's why the Denver Public Schools joined in partnership with the city of Denver, businesses, community organizations, parents, and foundations to create Family Resource Schools (FRS). The schools increase the range of programs and activities offered by public schools in inner-city neighborhoods. They strengthen the capacity of both families and communities to support children's learning.
Cheltenham Elementary School is one of 11 FRS sites. Before launching its effort, parents and residents at Cheltenham held focus group meetings to determine the needs of their neighborhood. As a result, the school offers programs and activities that can extend into evenings and on weekends.
Cheltenham's programs include adult and parenting education; workshops on leadership, employment, and gang prevention; tutoring programs with parent participation; computer training; family math and reading programs; and childcare. City officials and the Department of Housing and Urban Development also help provide life-skills workshops, assistance in securing affordable housing, and an electronic database linking the school to the Department of Social Services.
Here's what one parent has to say about the FRS program at Cheltenham: "The coordinator, Patsy Roybal, has worked wonders for the Spanish-speaking parents here. Before she came, we felt left out of things. Now we really feel that the FRS room is our home away from home. She's gotten us all involved in our kids' education and organizes workshops to teach us how to do that effectively. Because of FRS, putting my three kids through school here has been a wonderful experience."