Welcome Back, Community School Students

Sept. 1 marked the start of the 2023-24 academic year for our community school students at Knapp, Julian Thomas and The Academies of Racine at Mitchell. We are excited to continue our collaboration and implementation of the LIFT (Link and Inspire for Tomorrow) place-based strategy with Racine Unified School District.

All of our community school team members have many great ideas and plans for the fresh start of a new school year.

Community Schools Director Leigh Ann Martinez has been working hard all summer in preparation for the start of a new school year. She highlighted one exciting new partnership.

“One new program that will be happening at Knapp and Mitchell this year is the Zoo After School Program brought to the schools by the Racine Zoo. I first began working as a Racine Zoo intern 20 years ago and have since continued to support the zoo by donating, volunteering and attending events there. I am so excited to bring the animals and knowledgeable staff from the zoo to our students so that they can learn more about the wonderful world we live in,” she said.

Another impressive change comes from Julian Thomas Community School where construction was recently completed in the office, library and kindergarten/first grade suite. During the open house, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate these great new additions.

Julian Thomas Community School Coordinator Fega Coronado described her excitement for these structural changes as well as her plans for the school year.

“Julian Thomas has a brand-new office and secured entryway. I am super excited to work at JT as I begin my first year as a Community School Coordinator. My goal for this school year is to get a parent group started,” she said.

Knapp and AoR Mitchell Community Schools also had successful open houses.

Knapp’s open house was a hit in the community and was attended by almost 600 individuals. During the event, 500 turkey wraps from Lee's Deli and over 500 books were handed out to students and their families.

Knapp Community School Coordinator Zyaire Strowder attributed the great turnout to the relationships she has built throughout the years.

“To support our current partners this school year, I plan to maintain open lines of communication, regularly check in on their needs and goals and explore ways to deepen our collaboration. By fostering strong relationships, we’ll ensure the continued success and growth of our partnerships. Together, we will make a lasting impact on our community,” she said.

AoR Mitchell kicked off the school year with an open house featuring an impressive resource fair. Ten community partner organizations and United Way tabled at the event. In addition, a checklist was provided during the event to encourage families to explore the school’s campus and offerings.

AoR Mitchell Community School Coordinator Kira Muñoz explained her plans to help students and their families engage this year.

" We have monthly events for our families to come to like our KnightDragon Jamboree, Hispanic Heritage Celebration, Trunk-or-Treat and more. We are planning to expand our Maker Days, which is an initiative where we invite families to sit in on a fun lesson to help families learn more about what their student is learning and how they might be able to support them at home or in the community,” she said.

All of this is still just a fraction of what all our schools are doing. Follow us to stay updated on all community school events and resources.

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