ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Dougherty County School System leaders said they’re setting the tone now for the new school year.
District leaders have been gathering for their Summer Leadership Institute this week.
Superintendent Kenneth Dyer said they want to focus on family and community engagement this year. He said this means making sure faculty and parents are on the same page.
“We want to personify the saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a family.' Schools can’t do it alone, parents can’t do it alone, churches and other community organizations can’t do it alone. We have to work together and the only way we can work together is if we engage each other in authentic discussions about what the needs are and what we can do to help,” said Dyer.
Dyer said helping kids and families at home will ultimately help them in the classroom.
Almost half of Dougherty County students don’t know where their next meal will come from, according to Dyer.
Now, school system leaders are preparing to feed students on the weekend.
It's through a nonprofit program called Helping Hands Ending Hunger.
Students and faculty collect food that isn't eaten during the week.
They then give it to kids on Friday’s so they don’t go hungry over the weekend.
“So we try to meet those nonacademic needs and reduce those barriers because those nonacademic barriers impede a child’s ability to learn. So the more we can address those nonacademic barriers, the easier it will be for teachers to reach them in a classroom,” said Dyer.
The program was started last year.
Dyer said they’re already getting prepared to continue it again this year.