Homeless program gets district review

Carson school trustees know that the indigent and low-income programs in the district are working.

During the past year, 330 kids received new shoes, 232 kids received new coats, 152 kids were given new school clothes, and more than 450 students were helped to learn to read and write in after school programs.

"The district officials have bent over backward to make these program work," said Kim Riggs, Children in Transition program coordinator. "I can go into any of the district offices and get the go-ahead on almost any request I make, if they know it's going to help the students."

The Carson City School District's Children in Transition and the Evenstart programs are to be reviewed tonight by trustees. The two programs cost the district nothing financial, but program proponents say they have had success in both areas.

In the Children in Transition and Evenstart programs are funded through a federal grant.

"I think that one of the best aspects that has come from this program is that the problem has been brought in to the light," said district program director Valerie Dockery. "Before then, people didn't know of children living in motels and cars, or living with aunts and uncles."

Homelessness is defined as a student between the ages of 5 and 17 who lacks a permanent place of indoor residence, she said. Children of families who live in motel rooms, in campgrounds, vehicles, abandoned buildings, tents and emergency shelters are considered homeless, Dockery said.

The programs give back to those students who are living in such conditions the same things other children enjoy, she said.

She said the community has responded to the district's programs coming forward to offer tutoring, clothing and money.

The district's programs provide students with special enrollment consideration and special assistance in attaining district services, identify a contact person at each school to work with the students, and assist homeless education staff to identify special needs of homeless students.

"It really has heightened awareness to bring groups together to help kids in need," she said.

Dockery said that the Evenstart will be able to show exact numbers this year, which will show giant gains.

"We knew we'd always had the gains, but now, we have the numbers to support it," she said.

There is actually no income level for the Evenstart program. Its function is to stimulate literacy - not only in the child, but in the whole family.

"This is our fourth year, and we have gains that are higher than the national evaluation," she said. "It's been a lot of hard work getting it up and functioning."

Carson City School District meets at 7 p.m., today, in the Sierra Room, Community Center, 851 E. William St., Carson City.

What: Carson City School District

When: 7 p.m., today

Where: Sierra Room, Community Center, 851 E. William St., Carson City


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