Hillyard Youth Collaborative creates student success

The Hillyard Youth Collaborative is working
to improve educational achievement for students at Shaw and Gary middle schools in
North East Spokane. The HYC involves three long time partners
of Spokane Public Schools: Gonzaga University, Communities In Schools, and the Boys and Girls Club. The Hillyard Youth Collaborative is an opportunity
for local organizations and the school district to connect on how to best serve our youth
in the community. It’s all around relationships. And finding that one fit that might work really
really well for that student. The HYC was created by a three year, $400,000
grant through community partners for middle school success, which is made up of several
funding partners. What we’ve been able to do in three years
is to really get strategic in how to coordinate these organizations in to a true collaborative
so it becomes the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The first year we really spent a lot of time
building relationships among the organizations and partners and we have a greater understanding
of what each other does now. We can surround kids with support both in
and out of school. HYC members meet at sight teems twice a month. Drilling down into data to address attendance, behavior, and course work challenges of individual students. You know we have 560 kids here at Gary.
And when you look at that you think it could be really really overwhelming, but the sight teams
enable you to just narrow in and focus on each student. It just impacts youth in such a different way. We’re not siloed as partners and as schools. We’re able to really work together to fully
support youth and their families. We each have different areas of expertise but when we come together, we’re able to focus on student success. We each have the ability to put a piece of
support around the student. So when somebody is having a hard time in school, I can hear from the councilors on what’s going on. And I can give them insight on
what’s happening in the club. More often than not this sharing of information
gives us an opportunity to better support the youth both at school as well as in the club. Gonzaga’s Center for Community Action and
Service Learning oversees several programs before and after class. As well as during the school day. All are aimed at improving attendance, behavior
and course completion. I think that it allows kids to explore their
passions and interests and also to get them thinking about the next step, like past school,
whatever that may be for them. I think these clubs give us more energy to
hang out, communicate with friends, have a little bit of fun here and there. Without these clubs, I wouldn’t be able to
connect with other people or learn things about different schools. Even just from beginning this year until now,
they’ve grown so much I think. Whether that be in communication or their
teamwork or just finding more about themselves. I like just hanging out with my mentor and
being able to talk to him. He can help me with like my homework and if
I have a problem I can talk to him about it. And they’re actually donating their time to
come us which I really appreciate. The Spokane community gives so much to this
university and to the students. And it’s a chance for them to give back in
whatever small way that they possibly can. Gonzaga’s School of Education is also central
to the success of the HYC. These are pre-service teachers and this is
their first hands on experience with being in a classroom. It’s a win-win-win for everybody. They can decide whether or not they really
truly like being in the classroom. 99 percent of the time, they do. And then it’s a win for out teachers because
it causes them to purposefully plan. And then it’s a win for our students because
they get that small group differentiated instruction. And they can build relationships. Communities and schools sight coordinators
connect partner agencies with the schools. They also work one on one with the students
at risk of dropping out. As a sight coordinator we provide food, clothing,
and school supplies and so they can focus more on learning. My impact and building relationships with
the roughly 100 students that I case manage is also positively impacted their academic success. They have somebody they can bounce their problems
off of and really focus on school. The Boys and Girls Club provides an organized,
supervised, and safe environment to after school and on weekends. HYC has given us the chance to bring more
youth into the building, give them access to greater programs, as well as access to
greater opportunities in their future whether it be career prep, homework, as well as just
unique activities. We were talking to Ryan about having a Islander’s
Club for Islanders. And then we talked to him and then he got
it going for us. So like if we didn’t have him, like our club
wouldn’t have started. So like, i give all the thanks to Ryan for
like using his time for us to like come here. It was teaching how what we to other people. And having other people learn about us more
and how our culture is. In the long term, this collaboration is expected
to improve on time graduation rates for students and increase the number who
enroll in post-secondary education. Just the whole concept of a collaborative
is a very powerful thing. Public schools can not do the complete educational
process for kids just by themselves. I just love this opportunity and I think we’re
just right now starting to see some of the fruits of out labors and I think the collaborative
is the future of support. It’s the community taking a part in a child’s
education and success. And when you see there’s so many people willing
to put forth that effort, and their time, and their brain power to make this community
a better place, it’s just huge.

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