Community kids: Local school receives grant money to bolster community program

Published: Jan. 31, 2022 at 6:15 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN -- Myers-Wilkins Elementary School is one of 13 schools statewide to receive a $486,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Education.

The school is what’s known as a full-service community school, which means the school partners with the community to provide additional resources and programs for students.

“It’s really about that partnership between school and family and community,” said Kelsey Gantzer, with the Duluth Community School Collaborative.

Myers-Wilkins is one of three full-service community schools in the Duluth area, the others being Lincoln Park Middle School and Denfeld High School.

Each school offers a broad range of resources during and after school for students to take advantage of.

“Not only do they receive academic tutoring and support, we also partner with a lot of community members and agencies to provide dental and mental health services and supports for students,” said Assistant Superintendent Anthony Bonds.

The school has been operating as a full-service community school for more than 20-years.

Jackie Blagsvedt with the Minnesota Dept. of Education says they wanted to help the school fund their already successful program.

“The services that they plan to offer and plan to expand through this grant are really targeted at the needs that the community has shared with them,” she said.

Gantzer said the school has the highest diversity rate of any elementary school in the district but also experiences a higher poverty rate.

She believes the community collaboration to provide those resources to students helps them achieve long-term success.

“Working with the community and family to make them feel welcome in the school and make sure the school is meeting their needs,” said Gantzer.

The school will use the grant to help fund a site coordinator position, a mental health expert, and several programs in collaboration with community agencies.

The money is granted over the course of the next two and a half years.

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