Community School Coordinators Appreciation Week

Community School Coordinators Appreciation Week

We’re always looking for ways to celebrate the wonderful work of our four Community School Coordinators, serving as United Way employees within four Asheville City and Buncombe County Schools. The Institute for Educational Leadership’s Coalition for Community Schools provides an easy way to do just that each year with Coordinator Appreciation Week. We’re excited to learn and share, alongside fellow communities using the community school strategy, to uplift the integral work of each of the coordinators in our community as well as fellow coordinators around the world. Join in the conversation via social media by following the hashtag #CoordinatorsRock on Instagram and Twitter during September 23-27, 2019.

Learn a bit more about our Community School Coordinators below:

Ginny Spencer Community School Coordinator Enka MiddleGinny Spencer, Enka Middle School

“Really what we’re trying to do is create the middle school as a place that can closest resemble a center for the community--having all those resources there, being that hub of service to provide needs the students and families are asking for, and having support systems and opportunities for parents to participate as well.” We sat down with Ginny to hear an update on the ins-and-outs of the community school strategy in action at Enka as we enter our fourth school year there.
  • During the 2018-2019 school year, Enka Middle held 21 Homework Diners, welcoming 404 participants to the table together to share homework support, resources, and camaraderie.
  • 35 Resource Team members from 14 cross-sector school and community partners met monthly to track data and problem solve around the needs of the school.
  • More than 70 students received group mentoring / behavioral health supports through organizations such as Access Family Services and Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC.

Kind Words about Ginny:“Ginny is the "go to" for everything at Enka Middle! She is well loved by students and staff in the building and truly works hard to serve everyone. If there's something that we don't have a resource for, she seeks out options for our school. Ginny is truly an advocate in every sense, and I cannot imagine not having her at Enka Middle!” - Molly Pitman, School Social Worker

“Ginny is welcoming to every student in our school. She works hard to understand the needs of our students in order to help them be successful and feel valued.  I really appreciate the positive way Ginny reaches out to stakeholders in our school and community.” - Ariel James, Enka Middle Teacher


Bruce Waller Asheville MiddleBruce Waller, Asheville Middle School

Bruce shares, "I like to use the metaphor of a lighthouse. It’s a place where people who are far and long, those ships that are way out there and looking to come into harbor, can settle down and establish themselves. I think Asheville Middle School is becoming a lighthouse in the Asheville City School district. By doing that, you have to bring in the right organizations and community partners so everyone is working together to address all the needs of students and families."
  • During the 2018-2019 school year, Asheville Middle held 22 Homework Diners, welcoming 372 participants to the table together to share homework support, resources, and camaraderie.
  • 6 parents of color volunteered in classrooms 5 days a week for 2 hours per day through the AVL Parent Leadership Program
  • 47 Resource Team members from 20 cross-sector school and community partners met monthly to track data and problem-solve around the needs of the school and community
Kind Words about Bruce: “The AMS Community School Coordinator is a key player within our school community. Bruce is respectful and kind to all our students and brings a unique skill set to our team. He is an example of COUGAR PRIDE!” - April Dockery, Asheville Middle Principal
“Bruce is ALWAYS READY to assist, support, strategize to ensure a student is seen, heard and valued! Bruce is Awesome sauce!” - Marta Alcala-Williams, Asheville City Schools Family Engagement Coordinator


Josh Wells Owen MiddleJosh Wells, Owen Middle School

“Across the country, communities are finding that they can better support student success if they can also help families and neighborhoods too, and that it all works better if they do that work INSIDE a school. We call this the ‘community school strategy’,” Wells shares. The school becomes a hub for how families access all of the different services that address their needs. They way I look at it is, ‘we’re looking to make schools more supportive of the whole student. We can provide a tutor but if a child is going home hungry or to an unsafe neighborhood, they are still in danger of falling behind.” 
  • 24 Homework Diners were held during the 2018-2019 school year at Owen Middle, with 206 participants from 63 different households.
  • 8 Owen Middle staff / parents were trained in Restorative Practices Community Building Circles
  • More than 70 students received group mentoring / behavioral health supports through organizations such as Access Family Services and Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC.
Kind Words about Josh: “Josh is the best, simply put. His passion for kids and his job is contagious; it’s motivating just to be around him.” –Dianna Ryel, Guardian ad Litem and Givens Highland Farms
“Josh is amazing! Our school is a much closer community since he came to be with us and much of that is through his hard work and dedication to Owen Middle and our school and community family. Josh is always there to lend a hand, a shoulder, and a good word. I can come up with a million things to say about Josh, but I can summarize it by saying I’m not sure how we got by without him!” - Krista Langlois, Owen Middle Teacher
“I have had the privilege of seeing the work that Josh does at Owen Middle School, and appreciate the great way he is involved in all aspects of the school. He is recognized by the students as a caring friend, who is always available to support a student, either with academic issues or providing a snack or meal if the student is hungry. He is respected by the faculty, as an advocate for all students and families, and is always available to assist any staff or faculty member, in regards to a student. He continues to provide creative leadership to the Owen resource team and keeps them fully informed about his plans and programs, and is very much appreciated by the group for his work at Owen Middle School.” - Dr. John DeWitt, Community Volunteer


Jocelin Rosas Erwin MiddleJocelin Rosas, Erwin Middle School

Jocelin is new to the role of Erwin Middle Community School Coordinator this year. Jocelin says her first order of business is of course in relationship building. “I want to keep supporting the things the Erwin team already set in place and everyone who built these amazing partnerships and programs. I’ve been talking to people and listening to them and taking notes, hugging, taking more notes...that’s what I’ve been doing and will continue to do.”  
  • 20 Homework Diners were held at Erwin Middle in the last school year, with 512 participants (students, parents, teachers, and community members from Erwin Middle and around the community). Nine parents on the Erwin Homework Diner Parent Team supported Homework Diners.
  • 32 students were trained to be student ambassadors in the school through “Welcome Warriors”; 24 newcomer students at Erwin Middle received a warm welcome and orientation to the school from a peer Welcome Warrior student.
  • 35 Resource Team members from 18 cross-sector school and community partners met monthly to problem solve around the needs of the school.
Kind Words about Jocelin:  “Jocelin is a great listener! This skill makes her SO good at her job, because she works to really understand the needs of the community, the school, and partner organizations. Shout out to Jocelin at Erwin Middle!” - Rebecca Loli, AB Tech
“Jocelin has been a huge help in connecting Journeymen with school staff and a great group of young men for our mentoring group. I so appreciate her authenticity, candidness and sense of humor—she brings life and creates what feels like "real community" in a setting that can sometimes feel a bit institutional (public schools)! We love working at Erwin!” - Jordan Folz, Journeymen Asheville