FD schools partner with Children & Families of Iowa

The Fort Dodge Community School District has partnered with Children & Families of Iowa to provide programs for at-risk students.

The program’s Boys Council and Girls Circle offer instruction and guidance to students at both Fort Dodge Senior High and Fort Dodge Middle School, according to Lori Degelau, district at-risk coordinator.

“It’s teaching kids skills that they need, like active listening skills and making good decisions and talking about challenging behaviors, like responding effectively when students,” Degelau said. “Peer pressure is such a huge issue, teaching kids how to respond when their peers are trying to get them to do something that will get them into trouble. Promoting respect, is also a huge thing.”

The programs are beneficial to those students identified as being “at-risk,” Degelau said.

“These are things that sometimes kids are not necessarily exposed to in every day life,” she said. “Teachers try to cover all of these things in the classroom, but there’s an awful lot of other information they need to make sure they cover.”

There are eight boys in the Boys Council, and eight to 10 girl sin the Girls Circle.

“As with any kind of learning, the more times a child is exposed to certain positive information, the more likely it is that they are going to make that a part of who they are and use it, and try it as it works for them, and experiment with it to see if it will be something that can be helpful to them in their every day living,” Degelau said.

Children & Families of Iowa provides the grant funds for the program.

“They applied for some grant funding through our local Linking Families & Community categorization funds, and they got the funding for an at-risk program that’s something different, that didn’t exist in the community before,” Degelau explained.

The Fort Dodge school district worked with Children & Families to facilitate the program.

“We worked with them to identify students we felt were qualified for the programming, and were involved in contacting the parents to visit with them about whether they would like to have their student be involved,” Degelau said. “We also arranged for a space for them to meet in (the Senior High) and over at the middle school.”

Degelau said the at-risk programs are not the district’s first partnership with Children & Families of Iowa.

“We have partnered with Children & Families over the years, for other things,” she said. “For example, we have a therapist from Children & Families of Iowa who comes in one day a week and sees kids here at school who meet a criteria, if they’re Title 19.”