THIS STORY IS PRESENTED IN PART BY DRAKE DENTISTRY
Four members of Vance County Schools’ Behavioral Health Team appeared on WIZS Town Talk Wednesday at 11 a.m.
Toni Fletcher, lead of the School Student Behavioral Health Team and Lead Social Worker, began the segment by announcing that VCS is kicking off its ‘Attendance Matters’ campaign with the slogan ‘In School, Logged In, Every Day.’
With the Vance County Board of Education’s recent vote to extend fully remote learning through December, Fletcher explained the importance of offering continued support during this unprecedented time in education.
“It is very important to us that we make the connections with our children and our families,” said Fletcher. “This is something we’ve never done before – teaching this way.”
Counselor Erica Wright, with the Student Behavioral Health Team, said VCS will recognize students for their hard work on billboards throughout the community, through local news and media sources and with school incentives as a way to encourage good attendance practices.
School Safety/District Hearing Officer Dr. Ralph Holloman said, “The National Dropout Prevention Center has recorded that family engagement is the number one key for attendance, and we want to send that message to parents. Keep on encouraging your child to participate, log in and be in school every day.”
Thanking parents for all they have done to keep their child engaged while also balancing work, family and other responsibilities, Holloman said, “Parents, your continued involvement is the key to our children’s success in Vance County schools.”
To address mental well-being, Dr. Latoria Fleming, counselor for the Student Behavioral Health Team, said school counselors and social workers are remotely available to provide social and emotional support.
“Please reach out to school support staff if you know of a student that’s struggling,” said Fleming. “Those staff members can provide short-term counseling or, if necessary, connect you with community resources or mental health agencies.”
While support is the key to continued motivation, Fletcher said completing remote schoolwork is difficult without reliable internet access. “Some of our families live rurally and don’t have access to the internet, and some are unable to afford access due to financial barriers.”
To combat this problem, VCS has placed WiFi rangers in fire departments, daycare centers, churches, apartment complexes and in some homes with five or more children throughout the county.
In addition, Fletcher said Kajeets, portable devices approximately the size of a cell phone, have been placed in over 150 homes to provide internet capabilities.
For those in need of technology assistance, Fletcher reminded listeners that a technology help desk with tech support is available to parents and students Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. To find the help desk phone number for your child’s school, please visit the VCS District website (click here).
To hear the interview in its entirety, go to WIZS.com and click on Town Talk.