Since opening a year ago, Brandon High School: A Community School has seen more participation from the Brandon community, helping to shelve food for the community pantry and clothes for the community closet. Staff, faculty, students, and their families have access to community school resources.
“The community has shown so much support for our program that it’s off to a great start,” said Lauren Leto, resource teacher at the community school.
Brandon High School: A Community School is just one of 17 community schools planned in Hillsborough County over the next year.
The original story was printed in July 2022.
Brandon High School will be making several changes for the 2022-23 school year to better serve students and families.
“Brandon High School will be a community school in 2022-2023,” said Lauren Leto, the school’s community school resource teacher. “The National Education Association (NEA) fully supports the program and requires principals to apply to her system of community schools and be selected as a school of need.”
Hillsboro County plans to bring 13 community schools online this fall to improve the lives of students and families. Other states, such as Ohio and Wisconsin, have had success with community school models.
A community school is a “whole child,” a community school in which a school district and its schools work closely with teachers, students, and families, and work with community agencies and local governments to coordinate local resources to improve student outcomes. It is a school-wide improvement strategy.
“This program provides wraparound services for students, parents, teachers and neighbors,” says Leto. “We are developing a pantry and a clothing closet. We will also partner with local businesses to host workshops for parents.”
Leto enlists the help of local businesses and nonprofits.
“Brandon Echo has already partnered with us on some projects,” Leto said. “Brandon Portillo’s has agreed to become a business partner to support incentives for teachers and students. In return, we will send job applicants.” and students can volunteer at Keel Farms to deepen their connection to agriculture.
Leto and the rest of the staff at Brandon High School are very excited to see the school become a community school this fall.
“This has been on my mind for a while, and I’m glad it’s finally happening,” Leto said. I want them to know that I am here for them and ready to help them in any way possible.
If you are a local business and would like to offer your services to Leto in support of Brandon High School’s community school program, you can contact Leto by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.