2017 Bright Idea
Painesville City Local School District, OH
January 1, 2017

The Family Resource Center (FRC) is a school-based family help center; a central point for families to access multiple services to minimize barriers to student academic success. Since 2012, 50 percent of all kindergartners are English as a Second Language (ESL) students, requiring intensive English language development. ESL students are also among the highest percent of students who fail to graduate, making up 40 percent of dropouts. The district faces many challenges educating such a culturally and linguistically diverse population, first and foremost recognizing that all children need a basic level of overall physical and emotional wellness to engage in and benefit from academic tasks. The center provides a single point of contact to assess family needs including language development, poor nutrition, homelessness, mental illness, exposure to trauma, financial difficulties, and negative peer influences. FRC activities are driven by its Site Coordinator, a dedicated, full-time, bilingual staff member whose flexible schedule allows them to meet with students and families, assess their needs, and provide services throughout the day and evenings. Assessments and referrals are based on student achievement, grades, absences, disciplinary referrals, and/or teacher referrals. Staff identify students who are at risk for under-performance or dropping out, and links families to partner services for homelessness, family trauma, and medical and mental health issues. At the heart of the center is that all children, regardless of ethnicity, income or disability, can achieve academic, economic, and social success. By reducing or eliminating academic barriers for families, the FRC's expected outcomes are increased family engagement and involvement leading to a host of improved outcomes for children including improved language and kindergarten readiness skills, and improved attendance, behavior and grades.