Common reasons for children not attending school include family responsibilities, transportation issues, common illnesses, behavioral issues and/or suspensions. What can we do to eliminate barriers and provide encouragement for these children and families both in and out of the classroom?
Our school-based ministry, Stars, consists of a team of dedicated connectors who work one-on-one with children and their families to provide diverse support and services to keep kids in school and ready to learn.
A partnership with Shelby County Schools and Achievement School District (ASD), Stars continually racks up remarkable successes. With a countywide, acceptable level of attendance rate at near 57%, students served in Stars have an overall attendance rates of 90%. There is nearly a 10% growth gains in literacy and proficiency in math, science, and related subjects. There is a significant decrease in office referrals and behavioral issues with children served by Agape. And, we have seen an increase in parental involvement in school meetings and events.
These improvements have a positive ripple effect on the entire family and ultimately, the entire community. We know from experience that many times, working with the child while supporting the parents is the best place to start.
By providing this school-based support in Hickory Hill, Frayser, and Whitehaven, we’re able to infuse hope and healing in youth and families in under-resourced areas of our city that arguably have the most to gain from the love, support and encouragement we have to offer.
We are proud to serve in the following 15 schools:
- Hickory Hill: Hickory Ridge Elementary, Sheffield Elementary, Winridge Elementary, Hickory Ridge Middle, American Way Middle, Wooddale High, Sheffield High
- Frayser: Frayser Elementary, Georgian Hills Elementary, Whitney Elementary, Westside Middle, MLK College Prep
- Whitehaven: Robert R. Church Elementary, A. Maceo Walker Middle, Hillcrest High
Check out how Stars has performed over the past five years in our Year-End Summary Report.
Parents are the first and most important teachers for their children. The mission of Agape’s Thrive by Five program is to strengthen families with young children by promoting brain and language development leading to kindergarten readiness. Agape Connectors provide tools and resources to ensure children are ready to begin school. Our program, funded by the Urban Child Institute, works alongside University of Memphis to offer LENA Start and Nurturing Parenting classes along with home-based visitation to improve early communication between parent and child for residents in Frayser.
Read High Ground’s recent news article on this collaborative partnership.
An old proverb notes that “it takes a village” to raise a child – and that certainly holds true for a child’s education. We are honored to partner with Agape to help ensure that the youth and families we serve have access to the education they need to succeed.
-Dorsey Hopson, Superintendent of Shelby County Schools
When I first met Miss Malika, I was nervous – but as we started working more and more, I got used to her. I was having trouble with reading and she helped me a lot.
-Elementary School Student served by Agape
Agape reached out to us to offer support and services to our students who live in two nearby apartment complexes. We worked together over the summer to identify students with high rates of absenteeism and being late to school as well. Agape reached out to the parents – and we’ve gone from 7-8 pages of absent students down to 2 pages. Their presence in our building is having an impact. Students are inspired to come to school.
-Dr. Linda Campbell, Principal of Winridge Elementary