Summit connects schools with wrap-around services in Houston community 

Principals network with more than 120 city, county, and nonprofit service providers to help serve their students and families

HISD principals were able to connect with more than 120 different city, county, and nonprofit service providers available to their students and families as part of the district’s first ever Wrap-Around Services Summit.

The summit, held at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center on Sept. 7, was designed as a networking opportunity for campuses to identify resources available to their school communities in the areas of behavior and medical related services, parent education, vocational/workforce training, and other social services.

“Some schools may not even know what exists out there,” said District V Trustee Mike Lunceford. “There is an assortment of organizations who have the ability to help our children, and we need to reach out and make sure that all of our schools benefit from these services.” 

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Lunceford and District II Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones, who both addressed principals before the summit, stressed to school and district leaders that HISD must partner with organizations in order to effectively respond to the barriers and challenges that many of the district’s students face.

“If we don’t address these barriers then it is absolutely impossible for these students to begin the learning process,” Skillern-Jones said. “For us to get resources in our schools and be able to help these kids is important.”

Principals at the summit were able to visit with three floors of various providers organized by area of town, type of service, and grade level. Many said they discovered services in their area that they weren’t even aware of.

“It has really brought to the forefront what is available out there, right at our fingertips,” said Cunningham Elementary Principal Anna White. “I can now go back and share the information with my counselor and administrative team so we can funnel these services to our families in need.”

“This was a great way to connect us with community folks who can come out and help us with services for our students,” said Barbara Jordan High School Principal John McAlpine.

The summit was coordinated by the HISD Student Support Services office, which hopes to create a network of providers that are managed centrally so that schools are not burdened with locating, vetting, and managing each service at the campus level.