When the school buildings closed, it did not mean that our districts were shut down. Our students were expected to attend school via remote learning on a regular basis. This was a new challenge for our youth outreach staff at the Kane County Regional Office of Education. We have a total of seven youth outreach staff that work diligently to support students. Five youth outreach staff are dedicated to truancy services, one is a coordinator of alternative programs, and one that is a Liaison that supports McKinney-Vento/homeless unaccompanied youth.
Our youth outreach staff are working remotely to make personal contacts with students on their caseload and the school administrators. Through phone calls, text messages, and emails, the youth outreach truancy staff have made nearly 1,100 contacts with families in Kane County since the shelter in place began. They were ensuring that students have the resources that they need to be successful, that students are participating in remote learning, and completing assignments. The overarching goal was to ensure that there were no barriers to student success. Reliable internet access and interacting exclusively in an online educational environment were some of the challenges that our students have experienced.
The youth outreach team is meeting regularly to go over any changes and current happenings from ISBE (Illinois State Board of Education) regarding remote learning and how their programs are being affected. These meetings allow for collaboration and to share ways to best serve difficult situations that our students are experiencing. One of the primary tasks is making sure that the students have basic needs such as food and shelter. The youth outreach staff are knowledgeable of the meal programs offered by the schools and in the community and share that information with the families. With the loss of income, some of our students are struggling with maintaining a stable home in which to live because of affordable housing issues. Pat Dal Santo, Regional Superintendent of Schools provided, “we are promoting the usage of 2-1-1 to our caseload students and families during this difficult time as we are concerned about the mental and physical safety of the students”. For questions or concerns regarding Youth Outreach or other Kane ROE programs, please visit the website at www.kaneroe.org and contact us at email@example.com.