The Connected Community Schools team is pleased to celebrate the 3 year anniversary of Dolgeville Central District being a Connected School. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we were unable to celebrate with the traditional ceremonial ribbon-cutting in 2019. The pandemic did not stop the implementation and growth of the initiative in the Dolgeville Community.

Connected Community Schools’ mission is simply to ensure that students’ and families’ basic needs are met so they can engage in their education worry and struggle free allowing them to be successful and have fun. Connected Community Schools is a collaborative initiative that combines the efforts of over 200 businesses and community-based agencies in pursuit of finding solutions to a wide-ranging array of challenges facing students, their families, and the school community.

In each district, we help to coordinate, streamline, and deliver needed support and resources to students and families so they can succeed. The initiative has expanded its reach to serving 13 school districts, 53 school buildings, and over 20,000 students; the Dolgeville Central School District became a Connected District when the Connected Community Schools Initiative expanded in 2019.

Examples of areas where the CCS team can provide assistance include housing, food insecurity, medical and dental issues, and mental health. The initiative has been especially valuable for local families during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, last year, our School-Based HUBs pivoted to consolidate efforts into our Central Hub, which inadvertently became the largest food pantry in Oneida County, assisting 56,000 unduplicated individuals across Central New York helping families meet nutritional needs during school closures and beyond.

The initiative also provides embedded student and family engagement and classroom programming, where community experts are invited to educate and organize engagement opportunities for students and families.

Dolgeville Elementary Principal, Mrs.Chrisman shares “The role of school districts have expanded beyond the traditional role of educating children. Becoming a Connected Community School has allowed Dolgeville Central School to build partnerships with families and supporting agencies. We are now able to recommend solutions and work with our CCS team to provide support systems for those in need. Barriers to resources and services for our district families have drastically minimized through our collaboration with CCS.”

The CCS team has implemented a HUB at the school that provides students and families with no-cost essentials such as food items, hygiene needs, and school supplies that are available to any student or family with need. For this school year, over 500,000 snacks have been provided to students in the Dolgeville District.

During the month of April, the following was provided to students and families from the HUB:

➢ 1712 hygiene products

➢ 1829 school supplies

➢ 43,331 snacks

➢ 2,071 easy-to-prepare foods/meal items for students for after-school and weekends

➢ 307 Groceries bundles to feed a family of 4 for 3 days

CCS has made it a priority to purchase and make available those items that students can easily prepare for themselves such as macaroni and cheese, soups, cereals, etc. to ensure that no matter what the circumstance, all students have access to a filling meal.

This all can make the difference between a student being ready to learn and participate rather than worrying about basics.

On April 25th, we hosted a Dolgeville Community Food giveaway distribution event for families that were affected by a winter storm that left many families without power for a couple of days. Over 300 families were served including 10,000 lbs of food. All of this was conducted in just under 3 hours.

Melissa Roys and Danielle Martin, Co-Leaders of the Connected Schools Initiative expressed that their team is excited to continue to partner with the Dolgeville Central School that supports not only their students, families, faculty, staff, and the community.