Addressing the needs of troubled kids

Print Article

  • Johnson

  • 1

    Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News School District of Beloit Homeless Liaison Robin Stuht, Math Teacher and Homeless Advocate for Beloit Learning Academy Tracy Schoville and Trauma Sensitive Schools Coach Alternative Program Coordinator Susan Bailey stand by food bags provided by Caritas to homeless and unaccompanied youth in the district. If basic needs such as hunger aren't met, students struggle to learn. Caritas began a partnership with the district last year to provide homeless and unaccompanied teens with snacks over the weekend. It's one of many efforts the district undertakes to help its students in poverty.

  • Johnson

  • 1

    Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News School District of Beloit Homeless Liaison Robin Stuht, Math Teacher and Homeless Advocate for Beloit Learning Academy Tracy Schoville and Trauma Sensitive Schools Coach Alternative Program Coordinator Susan Bailey stand by food bags provided by Caritas to homeless and unaccompanied youth in the district. If basic needs such as hunger aren't met, students struggle to learn. Caritas began a partnership with the district last year to provide homeless and unaccompanied teens with snacks over the weekend. It's one of many efforts the district undertakes to help its students in poverty.

BELOIT - "The complex child who comes to us with issues is trying to tell us something," said School District of Beloit Superintendent Tom Johnson. "Adults need to be willing to step back and determine what is causing the child's behavior."

Johnson said students in poverty may suffer from a lack of nutrition, clothing, supervision out of school, self-confidence and, sometimes, vocabulary. Some of them may also be in trauma.

(Johnson was placed on administrative leave last week. This interview occurred earlier.)

Johnson said improving discipline and academic performance in a high-poverty community such as Beloit will require the district to address early literacy intervention and quality mental health programming and the community to wage a war on poverty.

"For the amount of challenges we face in our community, we need to keep the candle burning and realize there is light at the end of the tunnel as long as everybody works together," Johnson said.

In addition to a new district-wide birth to age 3 literacy initiative being launched, the district is continuing to expand its volunteer program and tutoring services by enlisting retired teachers, business people and private citizens to help.

"We continue to partner with almost every social service agency in the region and are thankful for the support of agencies such Community Action Inc. and Family Services," Johnson added.

To keep kids in school, the district has expanded its expulsion and alternative to suspension programs. Johnson said there are times when expulsion is necessary. However, he said kids who are expelled or in out-of-school suspension often end up causing issues in the streets of Beloit.

Historically, Johnson said the expulsion program for kids who continue to receive services has been from 3-6 p.m. at the Beloit Learning Academy (BLA). This year, the district partnered with Community Action Inc. at the Merrill Community Center where students will be attending with a certified teacher for the majority of the day.

"This will keep kids occupied, still learning and off the streets," he said.

The Merrill Community Center can also house students who are suspended.

"They are removed from their home school but they would be sent to Merrill Community Center to get instruction so a suspension isn't a free day off," he said.

When asked about more students being assigned to the district's alternative school, BLA, in light of staff complaints about discipline issues boiling over in some classrooms, Johnson said BLA is sufficiently utilized with about 200 students. As BLA deals with intermediate and high school students, Johnson said he would be hesitant to have an alternative school for younger students.

He did note younger kids in severe levels of stress can be sent to the Richardson School. Currently, only a few students attend the Richardson School.

The school district also is increasing its number of trauma-informed classrooms and mental health resources for students to help children who may be struggling.

The district has partnered with Hope Family Counseling Services to provide mental health services to students with significant disability-related needs at Todd, Fruzen and McNeel intermediate schools. Johnson said 138 staff members have been trained in trauma-informed classrooms. Six staff members became trainer of trainers so that trauma training can be expanded into whole school environments.

An additional licensed mental health provider at the mental health counseling clinic run by Beloit Health System at Beloit Memorial High School also has been added.

Services for students with significant behavior disabilities have been expanded from three to four schools, and the district has also implemented a collaborative program with Rock County Crisis to divert youth from the juvenile justice system.

Print Article

Read More Front Page Slider

The power of reading

November 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Students at Powers Elementary got into their pajamas for a read-in day on Tuesday, with special guest readers such as Town of Beloit police officers and firefighters. ...

Comments

Read More

DBA hosts fun family events

November 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm | BELOIT - The outdoor farmers market has closed for the season, but cold weather can't stop downtown Beloit from buzzing with activity. The Downtown Beloit Association (DBA) is again hosting two belo...

Comments

Read More

ColLABoration helps kids learn new skills

November 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm | TOWN OF BELOIT - Seventh grade students in Maggie Clarke's class brought the work of author Ray Bradbury to life using Turner Middle School's new ColLABoration Studio. Students in Clarke's class did...

Comments

Read More

Bucs learn tough lesson

November 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm | BELOIT - They may be underclassmen, but Beloit College's Buccaneers are going to lean on them a lot this season. With that youth comes vast potential - and probably a few more games like Tuesday nig...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2017 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X