The Oak Avenue Complex, formerly the Highland Springs High School in Virginia’s eastern Henrico County, is one such full-service community school that reopened. It underwent an upgrade over the summer to become the first such facility in the Old Dominion. Oak Avenue Complex is set to provide local students with onsite medical and dental care, mental health services, tutoring, adult classes and general education degree classes.
Henrico Education Foundation CEO Mike Taylor said the nonprofit is working with partners to expand what can be done in a school to create a space where families can access convenient services. He added: “After all, our schools are everywhere. Why not make them the center of this work because it’s easier for families to access the services?”
Adrienne Cole Johnson, chief of family and community engagement for Henrico County Public Schools, said: “If we have resources on site [and] if students and even families can get to them faster, there are fewer barriers for them to have access. Students excel more because they know that they’re supported, and they don’t have to worry about some of those basic day-to-day needs.”
The Oak Avenue Complex and other full-service community schools formed part of the Brandon administration’s plan, through the Department of Education, to outline how school districts can spend their pandemic funds under the American Rescue Plan. Districts will have until September 2024 to decide how they, with the involvement of parents, will spend the money. The Education Department provided a checklist to guide parents during the conversation with their local school districts.
“I’m encouraging schools and families to reach a new level of communication and transparency together to make sure our students and educators are getting the support they need,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
The checklist includes information on how funding grants can be used to support student learning, address the needs of the whole child, ensure COVID-19 health and safety and even help districts engage families. Under each of these topics, the Education Department outlines specific strategies that serve as best practices for the districts.
Critics denounce community schools as displacing parents, churches
Critics of the grants expressed worry that the federally funded “full-service community schools” seem to displace parents and churches while making government schools the center of community life. These institutions are taking over everything, from mental to dental health to nutrition and community service under the guise of helping students.
They also posited that federal mental health schemes usually represent a massive subsidy to big pharmaceutical companies that will see more young people being diagnosed with mental illnesses.
This can lead to the over-medication of children with quack labels and providing intrusive services to families. The grant also aims to “diversify” schools’ mental health professional workforce. (Related: The dumbing of an age: America’s public schools are failing, and here are the facts to prove it.)
The Education Department explained that these schools seek to “meet the social, emotional, physical and mental health, and academic needs of students” by providing what they call wraparound services.
These will give students access to health care and nutritional assistance, tutoring and enrichment opportunities and mental health support and violence protection programs.
Moreover, Brandon’s national mental health strategy primarily targets school children and their families. The administration is asking congress for over $125 million over the next 10 years to subsidize his plans – $1.25 billion in total.
Watch the video below to know more about the U.S. turning schools into wellness centers.
This video is from the FreedomProject Media channel on Brighteon.com.
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