Instability at home affects performance at school

The start of Alejandro’s kindergarten year should have been full of excitement, making new friends, and learning. But he was often absent, and when he would return to school, it was like starting the year over again. His behavior and class participation suffered, and he was not getting along with his classmates. Alejandro’s teacher invited 360 Communities Partners For Success® Family Support Worker Jenna to his parent/teacher conference.

Jenna connected with his mother, Camila, and discussed the type of support she could offer. Jenna’s fluency in Spanish helped as she worked to build trust with Camila. At a subsequent meeting, she learned that Camila and Alejandro were homeless. Since Fall, they had been moving between different family members’ homes.

Partnering for solutions that help

The frequent communications about Alejandro’s attendance and behavior from multiple school staff increased Camila’s stress as she attempted to deal with their housing crisis. As a result, she began to avoid engaging with the school. Jenna developed a solution in collaboration with Alejandro’s teacher that would help Camila. She created a simple daily behavior chart that became the only email communication to Camila from school unless an emergency or safety concern arose.  Jenna and Camila worked together to develop a family/school plan that included a visual schedule for Alejandro. This schedule provided a predictable daily routine that Alejandro and Camila could follow to support school success regardless of where they might be staying.

Student’s behavior and attendance improve

Jenna’s relationships and involvement with this family and school staff made a significant difference. Alejandro participates more in lessons, completes his work, and is a positive social presence in the classroom. Camila’s engagement with school increased. Alejandro is now excited for his mom to check her email so they can look over his behavior chart together. This solution provided the opportunity to talk about all the positive things happening at school instead of only focusing on the negative parts. Alejandro became motivated to show his mom how well he was doing.

Trusting relationship leads to more support

Jenna’s support for Alejandro at school built trust with Camila, which led to conversations about how to stabilize their housing situation. Jenna helped her apply for Section 8, Dakota County’s public housing waitlist, and explore tools that could help Camila manage finances. The opportunity to build a relationship with Camila and Alejandro during his kindergarten year sets the stage for future stability and success across two generations.