he past two years have been arguably the most difficult and disruptive experience for students, parents, and educators of all time.
Student achievement was dramatically affected by the pandemic. But families and the relationships they had developed with the schools in the past were also altered.
The Pawtucket School District saw growing problems with students who had missed significant classroom time over the course of the last two school years. When students returned this past fall, they experienced issues following school rules and coping with the structured nature of the school day. Remote learning negatively impacted the students' academic and social skill growth. Teachers have been stretched further to meet the needs of their students while also trying to cope with the traumatic effects of the global pandemic.
As a district, the Pawtucket school administration decided it wanted to enhance partnerships it had in the past to overcome the added challenges. One of those relationships was with Boys Town New England.
The success Boys Town and its LIFT Together program had in the past at the Pawtucket elementary schools convinced the district to expand and enhance their partnership into the middle school and high school levels. It has been a successful venture.
LIFT Together with Boys TownSM is bringing together educators, students, families, and Boys Town experts to address every student's social-emotional needs. This coordinated action is what makes the initiative so powerful. Its LIFT Together title is simple – because only together can we truly change the life of a child.
LIFT Together with Boys Town is currently operating at three Boys Town sites (Nebraska, Nevada, and New England). These sites are participating with specific communities and schools to improve problems such as absenteeism, low parental engagement, disruptive classroom behaviors and family safety.
The LIFT program was introduced in 2018 in Pawtucket's Fallon Memorial Elementary School and Elizabeth Baldwin Elementary School. The new expansion includes the following schools:
- Joseph Jenks Middle School
- Samuel Slater Middle School
- Lyman G. Goff Middle School
- Charles E. Shea High School
- William E. Tolman High School
A total of 290 teachers and 4,100 students will be impacted in the Pawtucket schools by the LIFT program and more families will be reached with our In-Home Family Services®, Care Coordination services, and Common Sense Parenting® classes and cafés.
"The positive feedback we have received from the staff and families who have partnerships with Boys Town has been astounding," said Linda Gifford, Pre-Kindergarten and Early Learning Administrator with the Pawtucket School District. “The skills and supports have become a necessity with the current situation we are facing from the pandemic. The opportunity to expand the partnership with Boys Town arose at a time of great need for our families to support the social and emotional needs for bright and successful futures of all students."
Dr. Jacqueline E. Ash, Principal at Charles E. Shea Senior High School, agreed that the partnership has been a huge success. “I'm so excited to be partnering with Boys Town," Dr. Ash said. “The Boys Town school-based component uses a common language and common expectations approach that minimizes confusion, builds relationships and strengthens school bonds with our entire school membership. They provide community support services through their care coordination services, parenting assistance and a range of outpatient services. It is incumbent upon us to create efficient systems and effectively communicate in this pandemic-stricken world. Many of our students and families are working in survivor mode. This partnership with Boys Town enables us to build a solid support system. I just have a feeling that this could be a game changer for us!"