On Aug. 13, the center hosted three virtual open house sessions so that students and their families could learn about distance learning expectations.
Since COVID-19, the number of detention students has reduced while virtual community supervision and family involvement has increased.
Juvenile Court Judge Stacey Mathews, a former educator, focuses on school and family involvement, trying to ensure students have the support system to succeed. When students refuse to participate in school, Mathews can order them to attend in-person school, where they can re-engage in their education.
Some of the kids in the non-resident group began working when schools were ordered to close and face the dilemma of how to keep their jobs while in school. Case managers can advocate for these students with their employers, so they'll allow them to continue working and attend classes.
Those enrolled in the residential treatment program receive robust education, behavioral health and case management services for an average of six to nine months so they can focus on the root cause of their involvement with the system--childhood adversity.
However, once they understand that the teachers--who also offer tutoring--and staff want to help them and accept them for who they are, many of these kids succeed.
Stewart said every teacher and counselor has a passion to work with these troubled youths and wants them to feel safe and wanted. There is very little turnover of teachers at Juvenile Services, thus strong, trusting bonds are formed between the teachers and students.
They teach four classes per day on a block schedule that includes social studies, English, service learning and physical education one day, and math, science and two electives the next day.
The facility even offers a GED program for students who have fallen behind and want to finish high school, especially those turning 18 and about to be released.
Despite the mounting challenges, Williamson County Juvenile Services and the Georgetown school district, collaborating with other Wilco school districts, remain steadfast in their mission to rehabilitate the whole child and return students to their homes and communities as healthy and engaged learners.
If you'd like to donate school supplies--especially Microsoft 10-compatible laptops--please call or email Julie Watts at 512-943-3207 or [email protected].