Once a focused and determined student, Jenny gradually began on a downward academic spiral when she reached junior high. She started skipping school several days every month, and her grades were steadily suffering. When she did make it to class, she simply couldn’t keep up because of all the instruction she missed. Noticing the change in Jenny’s attendance and academics – and even her behavior – the counselor at Jenny’s Community Partnership School pulled her aside to see what could be triggering the spiral. Eventually, Jenny confided that she didn’t have many clothes, her family didn’t have a washer or dryer, and they simply couldn’t get to the laundromat – several miles and bus stops away. She was embarrassed that she had to wear the same clothes over and over again, especially as they grew dirtier.
Through the Community Partnership School at Wilkinson Jr. High School, Jenny was connected to the Eagles’ Clothing Exchange and Laundry Center, where she could use a washer and dryer at no cost and receive clean, new clothes – all conveniently on the school’s campus. Because 1 in 5 students in America struggles with access to clean clothes for school, the Community Partnership School came together to address this very real need for students.
Chronic absences due to a lack of clean clothes can take a devastating toll on course performance and a student’s overall success. But at Wilkinson Jr. High School, students – including Jenny – can access services and supports to overcome the unique barriers standing in the way of education.
Wilkinson Junior High School, A Community Partnership School is the first middle school in Northeast Florida and the first school in Clay County to implement this transformative strategy. Core partners include Children’s Home Society of Florida, Clay County School District, St. Johns River State College and Baptist Health/Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Questions? More information? Please contact Shawn Smith, Community Partnership School Director