Columbia Public Schools is one more step towards providing more resources for students facing homelessness.
The Columbia School Board has entered into an agreement with Fostering Life-Changing Opportunities, or FLO, a non-profit organization that provides school districts with resources to support children in need.
The agreement aims to provide stable housing for young people experiencing homelessness, to offer activities that develop life skills and to ensure that the basic needs of families are met. It also aims to improve students’ access to opportunities that lead to future financial stability, such as work-study experience and paid internships.
In return, the district plans to donate a building, located at 403 Park Ave. near Douglass High School, which will be used to support students and families in the district through FLO. First, the district must purchase the building, which it plans to do in the next five years. When this happens, the district will provide transportation for students living at home to and from the school.
“CPS, through and through its board of directors, wants to work with FLO in a true spirit of partnership, as FLO’s program goals align with its own mission,” the contract said.
The item was approved on the consent agenda at the board meeting on Thursday morning.
COVID-19 plan formalized
The board of directors voted unanimously to extend the district’s COVID-19 plan. Superintendent Brian Yearwood explained the reasons for the extension, including the recent start of vaccinations for young children.
The plan includes the district’s COVID-19 mitigation strategies and gives the district superintendent the authority to lead a mask mandate. A mask-wearing policy has been in place in school buildings and on school buses since mid-August.
The board voted in favor of extending the plan at the November 8 meeting and at previous board meetings. “We will be doing this at every meeting for now,” district spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said later.
Council member Blake Willoughby spoke out in favor of the policy and said all students should be given the opportunity to be fully immunized before the policy is changed.
Leadership program for grade 10 students
By approving the consent program, the board formalized a partnership between the district and MU’s Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Division that will launch a leadership program for grade 10 students.
The Men of Color, Honor and Ambition and Women of Color, Honor and Ambition program runs for one year and strives to help students achieve academic success. Students will undergo college-guided leadership training and college preparation and receive assistance from local mentors.
The agreement only covers the 2021-2022 school year and expires on June 1.
District bus rental contracts
Also Thursday, the board approved eight bus charter contracts for Battle, Hickman and Rock Bridge high schools with Doc & Norm Direct to transport athletes. The need for additional bus services stems from a nationwide shortage of school bus drivers linked to the pandemic, according to council documents.
In total, the contracts will cost $ 12,091 and will be funded by extracurricular funds and donations.