Learning Supports in Place to Meet the Needs of Students

The College Community School District is dedicated to developing the “whole child” and allocating resources to support the social, emotional, and behavioral health needs of all students.  In doing so, we increase the academic success of our students and have a lifelong positive impact on their resilience. 

In our commitment to “Success for All”, we have been planning for the expansion of services to our students through the use of state at-risk funding, federal Title IV funding, and the General Fund.  Many of our students experienced great hardships during the school closure, making the expansion of these services that much more important as we prepare for the school year ahead.  We are excited to share the following additions with you. 

Health Services

The role of the school nurse and school health services have changed significantly in recent years. A greater number of students are experiencing more complex physical and mental health conditions and higher rates of comorbidity (the presence of two or more chronic conditions).  A student’s health can impact every part of their education and so planning for students’ health needs is essential.  School systems rely on the expertise of their school nurses, and school nurses’ connections to other medical professionals, to guide the healthcare of children in the educational environment.  Over the past two years, we have increased the amount of nursing services at several schools and added a school nurse position serving Prairie Delta, Prairie Edge, and the preschool programs at Prairie ECC. 

For the 2020-2021 school year, we have added support for the nursing team through the establishment of the Health Services Supervisor who coordinates health services at College Community and provides leadership for our district nurse team.  Colleen Elliott, who has served CCSD as a school nurse for the past eight years, assumed this position on July 1.

Ms. Elliott and the school nurses of CCSD will be an integral part of our planning for a safe and healthy return to school in the fall for both students and staff. 

Community Engagement Specialists

College Community is fortunate to be located in a city with several organizations that focus on improving the lives of children and their families and whose dedicated professionals believe in the power of partnering with our schools.  Over the past several years, our district has established relationships with a variety of local agencies and organizations including Four Oaks, Tanager Place, Foundation 2, Mercy Behavioral Health, UnityPoint, Linn County Public Health, Safe Schools CRCA, HACAP, the University of Iowa, and others. 

Two Community Engagement Specialists will continue to build these partnerships in the years ahead and foster new ones as well.  Jess Fitzpatrick will join the CCSD team during the 2020-2021 school year.  Javier Rivera has previously worked as our district’s Homeless Liaison and will now work in this expanded capacity.

Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mr. Rivera will collaborate with school staff such as school counselors, building facilitators, school nurses, and principals.  They will support a variety of student needs including housing and food insecurity, foster care placement, substance use disorder treatment, support for mental illness, and juvenile court involvement.  Mr. Rivera will also connect with the teachers and students of the English Language Learner program (ELL) to provide specialized support for our immigrant and refugee families. 

School-Based Therapy

CCSD and Tanager Place first partnered together with the creation of a pilot program at two schools during the 2016-2017 school year.  We have steadily expanded programming throughout our schools over time and will be establishing new school-based therapy programs in the fall at Prairie Edge and Prairie Delta, as well as with our youngest students at Prairie’s Early Childhood Center.  Therapists of Tanager Place’s school-based program provide therapy services directly to students at school, collaborate with educators to support students’ mental health needs across the school day, and connect with families to address needs at home.  Tanager Place directly bills students’ health insurance providers for therapy services.  Additional services provided by school-based therapists are funded through a combination of Title IV and At-Risk funding, as well as a generous contribution from United Way of East Central Iowa.  All schools for the 2020-2021 school year will have a half- or full-time school-based therapist as a part of their school team. 

School Resource Officer (SRO)

For many years, the College Community Schools has partnered with the Cedar Rapids Police to provide a School Resource Officer (SRO) at Prairie High School.  This year, we are expanding our district SRO program to Prairie Point.  As the largest Middle School in the state, serving over 1350 students, the allocation seeks to utilize the special training and expertise which law-enforcement officers possess that is well-suited to effectively protect and serve the school community.  SROs contribute to the safe-schools team by ensuring a safe and secure campus, educating students about law-related topics, and mentoring students.  Our SRO program at CCSD seeks to:

  • Facilitate communication between the College Community School District and Emergency Management Officials in times of community crisis or in events in the community that threaten the safety and regular operation of campus and building activities.
  • Be a resource to students to answer questions related to law and law enforcement, including class presentations and visibility at school and school events.
  • Regularly make recommendations to school officials on systems, structures and strategies for school and campus safety, threat assessment, and threat mitigation through participation on school safety committees and initiatives.

The School Resource Officer will not be involved in daily discipline of students.  For a full description of program outcomes for School Resource Officer Programs at College Community, please click here.

As a school community that serves on-site over 7,000 students, staff and adults on a daily basis within a small geographical area, we see the benefit of partnering with local agencies, including law enforcement, in our goal to provide a safe learning environment for all members of our campus.