Community program

Local school receives grant to strengthen community program

DULUTH, MN — Myers-Wilkins Elementary School is one of 13 schools in the state to receive a $486,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Education.

The school is called 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 this partnership between school, family and community,” said Kelsey Gantzer of 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 wide range of during and after school resources that students can take advantage of.

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

The school has operated as a full-service community school for over 20 years.

Jackie Blagsvedt of the Minnesota Department of Education said he wanted to help the school fund its already successful program.

“The services they plan to offer and grow with this grant are really targeted to 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 that community collaboration to provide these resources to students helps them achieve long-term success.

“Working with the community and family to make them feel welcome at school and to ensure the school meets their needs,” Gantzer said.

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 next two and a half years.

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