America’s Promise Alliance has named Council Rock of the "100 Best Communities for Young People." The national award was given to communities with "exceptional programs and services that make it an outstanding place for youth to live, learn and grow," according to a press release.
This is the first time the district has received the designation. Just three districts in the state received the award. Abington School District and Indiana County joined Council Rock as winners in Pennsylvania. Click here to view the full list of winners.
The America's Promise Alliance is a partnership dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. It consists of more than 400 national organizations representing nonprofits, businesses, communities, educators and policymakers. General Colin Powell is the Alliance's founding chairman.
"The America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People Award is a collaborative effort and acknowledgement of the many people, students, teachers, parents and volunteer organizations in our Council Rock community who contribute to the success of our students. We are honored to be part of this amazing award,” said Council Rock Superintendent Mark Klein.
Council Rock School District has created many programs that address the academic and social needs of area youth, according to district officials. One community collaboration, the Council Rock Coalition for Healthy Youth (CRCHY), mobilized the community to reduce risky behaviors. As a result of this collaboration, Council Rock School District has implemented prevention programs in the schools that teach skills related to positive decision making, problem solving, goal setting, anger management, peer pressure and more.
Additionally, the Council Rock Parenting Academy, a program of CRCHY, was created to offer free, evidence-based parent programs to all parents in Council Rock communities. Parent programs are facilitated at CRSD, pre-schools, faith-based organizations and local businesses.
CRCHY Youth Leaders partner with other youth organizations such as SADD, faith-based youth groups, scouts and national youth initiatives to promote leadership and share resources. For initiatives such as Project Sticker Shock, students placed labels on beer cases at beer distributors to warn customers that it is unlawful to buy or serve minors.
To deter drug abuse, CRCHY placed medication collection boxes in police stations to safely dispose of unused or expired medications and provided educational materials at local health fairs and expos to educate the public on the dangers of Rx and over-the-counter misuse. Teens are participating in the “Above the Influence” National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign in numerous locations. CRCHY programs and projects are supported in part by a Drug-Free Communities grant.
The Council Rock School District CARES Team helps students and/ or their families find needed services, within the school and if needed, within the community. Additionally, the CARES Team maintains a long-term relationship with the students, to ensure their continued success in school. Support groups in schools include a New Student group, families in transition, GLBTQ peer support group, interpersonal safety, preparing for college and beyond, women’s issues and building social skills.
The graduation rate of Council Rock School District students is 98 percent. In order to ensure this high graduation rate, the Council Rock School District offers their students a variety of academic tracks and programs which help them succeed while they are in the district and afterwards, according to officials. CRSD classes promote inclusion for special education students, as well, which provides invaluable academic and socialization skills.
“Being named one of America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best is significant and meaningful to the entire community,” said Francine Block, President of CRCHY. “So many dedicated people and programs contributed to this win and it further reinforces our belief that a focus on youth pays dividends to the entire community.”
“As young people across the country go back to school, it is especially timely to recognize communities like Council Rock that have come together to make supporting young people a top priority and that are committed to helping young Americans reach their full potential,” said John Gomperts, America’s Promise Alliance president and CEO.
On Sept. 12, Gomperts joined America’s Promise Alliance Chair Alma Powell, ING Foundation President Rhonda Mims and representatives from Council Rock at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., to officially announce the 100 winning communities during a live webcast.
All communities entering the 100 Best competition completed a rigorous application process. Applicants were asked to describe how different sectors of their community work together to help children and families overcome challenges.