The Community Full-Service Schools program addresses the unmet basic needs of Knoxville area children and their families that are not met by public schools and human service agencies. The program’s mission is to empower community participants to access support systems independently and learn to help themselves. The project seeks to improve educational outcomes and reduce the number of high school dropouts. The program has been in place at Pond Gap School since 2009.
Community partners for this project include faculty members at Pond Gap Elementary, Knox County Schools, Boys and Girls Club, Pellisssippi State Community College, Knoxville Opera Company, and South College. University of Tennessee, Knoxville partners include the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Nursing, Education, Health and Human Sciences, and Natural and Agricultural Sciences, along with the departments of Sociology, Wildlife and Forestry, Counseling and Sport Psychology, and the Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy, and UT Educational Psychology and Counseling Department.
Institution impact includes service-learning opportunities for students in a variety of academic disciplines, and career development opportunities for UT students. Students serve in these schools as mentors, teachers and friends with faculty supervision, and participate in a learning environment promoting engaged educational reform. Six faculty members from College of Education, Health and Human Services work with 14 faculty members from Pond Gap Elementary School. During the regular academic year, close to 125 UT and Pellissippi students with the community schools and close to 55 students volunteer for summer activities.
Impact on Community
Community Impact includes the provision of health services to students and their families, mental health screenings, academic support for students and their families, as well as financial support for the families. At-risk urban students are enabled to create long-term, mentoring relationships with UT students and faculty based on the three tenants of prevention, collaboration, and systems-level thinking.
Related Story: Full-Service Schools: Interview with Bob Kronick >>