The Jamestown School Board received its first update on the new Community Navigator program that was started this school year.
The Community Navigator positions were created to help provide a connection between the district and Latino population, including helping overcome language barriers between families and the schools as well helping navigate the technical aspects of schooling.
Navigator Max Martin said he and fellow navigator Carmen Perez spent the first two months of the school year working with the administration to determine needs and responsibilities before starting work with the community, “We saw 139 families, 131 students, and 522 requests. A little note about the requests – Those are requests that are initially one time. It doesn’t mean that additional requests weren’t done or requested. So you probably have if you write everything down, we’re probably talking about thousands instead of 500.”
Carmen Perez says she spends most of her time at the high school while visiting the Tech Academy once or twice a week, “So here’s our areas of concerns: we have family support, attendance, student support, academic, and behavior. One of the biggest (at the high school) is attendance. You know, a lot of things this year that occurred with that is transportation, weather, COVID. COVID was the number one thing too.”
Perez said providers have come to the high school to do presentations and let students know what’s available for resources and career paths, “This is our Espagnol Facebook page for JHS. We’re slowly growing. We got about 80 people on there. We’re growing. Just to connect with them about some of the things going on at the high school, outside services, anything they need, if parents need to get a hold of me here. But, it’s just great that they have something where they’re informed.”
Martin said a resource guide was created for Hispanic families, “And what this does, it gives you all the important part in Spanish for education, the responsibility of the teacher, the responsibility of the student, and the responsibility of the parents. We also give them all the information that they need to reach, if they need to reach anybody in the school district. And one thing that I put in here is something neat. It’s something that tracks the kid from the beginning to end of graduation. So, they can actually see and checkmark all the courses that the kids are taking to see when they’re ready to graduate they’re actually ready to graduate.”
Martin said a referral form also was created for teachers and administrators to easily access Navigator services.
Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker said the second Community Navigator presentation to the board will happen this summer and be focused on the data and outcomes of bringing on the new positions. Two new Community Navigators were approved in the 2022-23 school budget and will start in the Fall.