New state funding will allow Yakima School District to hire a fourth education advocate aimed at preventing gangs.
Yakima City Council on Tuesday accepted $ 50,000 from Governor Jay Inslee and the State Department of Children, Youth and Families, who will pay an additional lawyer for the education of sixth-graders through until June 30, 2021.
The board also approved an ongoing partnership between Yakima School District and Education Services District 105 that supports education advocates at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Education Advocates are linked to a youth leadership program that Yakima piloted in the spring of 2019. This program authorized an intervention specialist to work with 10 sixth graders at Lewis and Clark and Franklin Colleges in focusing on helping young people make good choices. and stay away from gangs.
Data collected as part of the pilot program showed improvement in student grades, behavior and attendance. This helped the city obtain grants through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Crime Prevention. The grant funded three lawyers to provide mentorship, advocacy and resources to sixth grade students and their families within the Yakima School District.
New funding for the fourth position means that all colleges in the Yakima School District will have an advocate.
ESD 105 will hire and pay the lawyer, who will work approximately 630 hours throughout the school year and summer. The person will meet twice a week with up to 20 program participants to check grades, attendance and behavior, and help connect youth and their families to all necessary community resources. The advocate will connect young people who complete the program with at least one caring coach, teacher, mentor or counselor.