No summer break for services to students and families
Fayette County Public Schools continues to support community
May 27 might have been the last day of the 2019-20 school year for students in Fayette County Public Schools, but the district continues to provide expanded services to students and families through the summer. Across the community, school and district employees are feeding students and families, supporting access to technology, providing mental health services, and offering expanded learning opportunities.
“We serve the needs of the whole child,” said Superintendent Manny Caulk. “Our primary business is education, but we recognize that learning cannot occur at high levels unless the basic needs of students are met. During these unprecedented times, we had to find new ways to support our students and families.”
While schools across Kentucky closed in support of federal, state, and local efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, educators continued to keep students engaged in learning through Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI). During this time, economic conditions worsened for many in the Lexington community, and schools observed a corresponding increase in requests for food, mental health support, and access to technology.
Between March 16 and May 27, the district provided support to students and families in the following areas:
- Food: 365,939 meals were served to children and youth.
- Mental health services: District mental health specialists made 27,030 contacts with children and youth.
- Basic needs: Family Resource and Youth Services Center (FRYSC) professionals distributed 27,700 backpacks including food, cleaning supplies, and hygiene products to students and families;
- Technology access: 19,658 students and 1,686 staff members used, and continue to use, district-provided Chromebooks. Internet hotspots were distributed to 433 families.
The needs of students and families have continued beyond the official end of the school year, so the support provided students and their families has continued in order to meet the demand. Meals are distributed twice a week at 21 locations for anyone who is 18 years old or younger. District mental health specialists remain on call and available to work with children and youth, Family Resource and Youth Services Center coordinators continue to work with families in need, and the district Technology Department's Help Desk remains open to support students participating in summer learning opportunities.
The face of summer learning opportunities has also shifted in response to restrictions on face-to-face instruction. Students from each preschool, elementary, and middle school can now access Summer Bridge, an online learning opportunity powered by Imagine Learning, designed to help reduce math and language literacy learning gaps. Students who scored below the 40th percentile on the winter MAP testing can receive additional focused support from a teacher during the summer sessions.
“The mission of the Fayette County Public Schools, even when we are not physically together in a classroom or school building, is to create a collaborative community that ensures all students achieve at high levels and graduate prepared to excel in a global society,” Caulk said. “Achieving our mission requires us to ensure our students and their families have access to food, mental health services, and other basic needs as a foundational building block of their educational experience. We will continue to meet the demand of our students and families.”
Details about resources available through FCPS including free meal locations, support for mental health needs, FRYSC contacts for basic needs referrals, health care, and tech support is available on the FCPS website’s COVID-19 information page.