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HISD spotlights its newest role that supports the needs of the whole child
To describe a wraparound resource specialist’s day as “busy” would be an understatement. The newly created role at HISD is part of Every Community Every School, a districtwide initiative that focuses on providing students with non-academic support that improves their well-being and academic achievement.
Meet Kirkland Hall, who serves in this unique position at Achieve 180 and Superintendent School, Highland Heights Elementary School. Hall’s work day is anything but typical. In the morning, he might be networking with a group of prominent community leaders to encourage support on his campus, and in the afternoon, he’s assisting a student who is struggling with an incarcerated parent. No two days are ever the same.
“Mr. Hall couldn’t have arrived at a better time,” Principal Geraldine Cox said. “As part of our school’s turnaround plan, one of our primary goals is to better support our students’ social and emotional needs. Having Mr. Hall at our campus has allowed me to no longer worry whether that is being fulfilled.”
Only a few months into the position, Hall has hit the ground running and has become a favorite among staff, students, and the surrounding community. His recent efforts include getting several Highland Heights families sponsored for Christmas at a nearby church and co-hosting an overnight lock-in for 50 male students that focused on academic goal-setting and life skills.
“To be in this role you, you need to have more than a heart for people,” Hall said. “You must be mission-minded.”
In 2018, Hall hopes to continue to identify action items that will positively impact his students’ lives. Over the holiday break, he will be working diligently to get a campus closet filled with donated uniforms. Campuses across the district relaxed their uniform requirement after Hurricane Harvey. However, for many schools that changes after the new year.
“With many of the students living in poverty, I know it can be a challenge for parents to quickly find the financial means to purchase clothing in the middle of the school year,” Hall added. “It is my goal that parents and students see this as an additional resource to help them for a short period.”
While not all campuses across HISD currently have a wraparound resource specialist, it is the district’s goal to add more in the upcoming year.