The Student Enrichment Program (SEP) is the original program that Communities In Schools began in Jacksonville schools more than 20 years ago. With activities that lie at the heart of the CIS philosophy, SEP places full and part-time Student Advocates on school campuses throughout Duval County. These advocates work with principals, teachers and guidance counselors to stabilize students who are at risk of falling behind or dropping out of school.
Major funding for SEP sites comes from grants provided by AT&T, DuBow Family Foundation, Duval County Public Schools, Holland & Knight, The Jacksonville Community Foundation, Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation, Jacksonville Public Education Fund, The Jim Moran Foundation, Lender Processing Services, and United Way of NE Florida.
Student Advocates are embedded in 20 public schools including five elementary schools, six middle schools, eight high schools and an alternative education center . A Student Advocate works individually with 100 to 150 students. These students are counseled individually and in group sessions throughout the year enabling them to realize their goals and providing students with the life skills they need to reach their goals. Home visits and parental involvement are essential parts of the program, and Student Advocates also connect students to needed community resources.
While Student Advocates work individually with select students from the school’s student body, hundreds of others are reached through school-wide services such as career fairs, men’s and ladies’ seminars and literacy programs.
SEP also comprises of specialized programs that utilize Student Advocates to assist students and youth in Duval County schools.
Steps to Success: Almost 400 elementary and middle school students living in nearby government housing participate in Steps to Success. Student Advocates in Ramona Boulevard Elementary, St. Clair Evans Academy and John E. Ford Elementary coordinate the Steps to Success incentives program. The focus of this program is on case management and is supplemented with tangible rewards that are given to the children for academic achievements, good attendance and behavior.
SOAR: Funded by Volunteer USA and the Florida Department of Education, SOAR stands for Students-Outreach-Attendance-Results. Students at Matthew Gilbert Middle, Northwestern Middle, Raines High, and Eugene Butler Middle will be assigned a case manager, known as a Mentor Leader, who will work with the students to create and fulfill a plan for success. Mentor Leaders will also coordinate activities and resources with community partners to create a network for the students as well as will be committed to increasing parent investment and buy-in to raise student attendance. Home visits, parent contacts and fostering quality relationships with the parents or guardians of each student will assist the program in reducing student absences.
During the 2010-2011 school year, SEP Student Advocates provide services to 1,771 students in Duval County schools, a 10 percent increase from the previous school year.
In the 2009-2010 school year, 91 percent of students in the SEP program were promoted to the next grade level
SEP was highlighted in The Florida Times-Union series on public education called “City of Hope” and was identified as one of “Ten Reason to Hope: Who’s Helping and What Could Work.”
Q: How many years has the Student Enrichment Program been in Duval County schools?
A: The SEP program has been serving students and their families for more than 20 years.
Q: How many students has the SEP program serviced?
A: During the past ten years, our SEP student advocates have worked with more 15,000 students in Duval County schools.
Q: How can a student become a part of the Student Enrichment Program?
A: Students are most often referred to Student Advocates by teachers, faculty, guidance counselors and administrative staff at the school they attend.
Q: How can my child become a part of this program?
A: If you feel your child could benefit from becoming a part of the Student Enrichment Program, feel free to contact your school’s administration or contact Communities In Schools’ offices.