In an effort to respond to the ongoing student needs of the school community, Galesburg CUSD #205 has invested in personnel and resources to provide additional supports by establishing the Student Success & Support Services Program. Mindi Ritchie, formerly the Principal of Galesburg High School North, will lead this new team as Director of Student Success and Student Support Services in District #205.
Like many students around the nation and world, the Covid-related pandemic and associated virtual learning have caused many difficulties in the lives of CUSD #205 students. Through this program, the District is taking a holistic approach to supporting all students in the current 9-12 building, and then expanding to students in grades 7-12 in the 2022-23 school year by identifying and then remediating student areas of need sooner, rather than waiting until a student is behind their same-grade peers. The expanded supports offered in this program include a focus on Social and Emotional Learning, Credit and Concept Recovery, Work and Life Readiness Skill Development, Family Engagement, and increased collaboration with programs such as ROE’s 21st Century Programming, #205’s Outreach staff, and SEL on Wheels.
According to Ritchie, “The services that were once offered to Galesburg High School North students will now be expanded to include any student requiring additional help. We’ve learned that any student can find themselves in need of extra support and individualized attention. Quite frankly, we have more students needing our help than the walls of GHS North alone can contain. We are truly taking the amazing things that are the legacy of GHS North to the rest of the GHS population of students. Instead of being a school within a school, we will now be an expanded program within GHS.” Although GHS North will no longer exist as a separate school, previous GHS North teachers and staff will be in the same hallway with each other to continue to offer students the support they have had in the past. New students are also being added as needed to receive services.
Students will not be the only individuals to benefit from the added services. Staff members will be offered professional development throughout the school year covering such topics as mental health, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in the classroom, and more through the district-wide SEL program that Ritchie also leads. For example, staff will also be supported with their own mental health journeys when they utilize the Mental Health and Wellness website that includes tips, newsletters, and health reminders.
In addition to Mindi Ritchie, Director of Student Success and Support Services, the district has hired additional support staff team members for the 9-12 and 5-12 grade levels. To view all members of the new team, please click here.
This new program will be funded by “ESSER III” funds. Under the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which became law in March 2021, school districts around the country received funding to address the impact of COVID-19 on students' academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. Ritchie states, “I am thrilled that District #205 is committing these funds to the hiring of additional staff. It’s truly the relationships fostered and the commitment of the educators in our district that can move the needle for these students and bring them closer to their own academic and personal goals”.
If you are interested in learning more about this program, we invite you to contact Mrs. Mindi Ritchie at (309) 973-2380 or speak to your student’s school counselor.