Grants bring new employees to BCS


The first grant will allow the Berea Independent School District to become a Full-Service Community School (FSCS). The purpose of the grant is to strengthen relations between the school and its community to support students. Partners for Education’s website states, “The FSCS program provides support for the planning, implementation and operation of schools that improve the integration, accessibility and effectiveness of services for children and families. The Berea project will provide comprehensive services to the 1,092 students in grades K-12.” Four people have been hired through the program, and have offices at the school: Project Director Beth Brown, High School Site Coordinator Craig Combs, Middle School Site Coordinator Kate Tran, and Elementary School SIte Coordinator Jenny Hobson, who has worked in the Elementary School as the Family Engagement Worker and Volunteer Coordinator since 2014. They are currently developing strategies for reaching the program’s goals on the elementary, middle, and high school levels, as well as developing summer programs. Director Brown said of the program’s goals, “Successful students give back to their communities and communities have so many resources to share with the school. Working together, the community and school can make Berea a place where all students and families can succeed, which will also make the community thrive.”

The second grant will support GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), which has been implemented in the school district for many years. The goal of GEAR UP is to prepare students for college, creating what Partners for Education calls a “sustainable college-going culture.” Also through Partners for Education, the Berea Independent School District is one of 14 districts to receive funding from the 7 year grant. The grant has allowed for the hiring of two College and Career Navigators: Ashley Hammond, who will work in the elementary school, and Patricia Alexander, who will work in the middle school. Also hired were three Interventionists, who will work to support student success in the classroom: Courtney Prater, who will work in the elementary school, and Corey Walker and Jared Penn in the middle school. They will all work to support the program’s goals of creating success in primary and secondary school, while increasing awareness of and access to higher education.