School evolves again

By Marlena Hartz: Freedom Newspapers

Lincoln-Jackson evolved from a segregated school for black students, to an integrated school, to an arts academy. These days, it is undergoing another evolution, into a family center.

The arts academy has changed locations and merged with Bella Vista Elementary. And in turn, Lincoln-Jackson has become home to a flock of innovative programs aimed at educating parents and students.

Programs housed at the center include:
• The Family Leadership Institute
— The FLI is a diverse educational program created to give families knowledge, tools and inspiration to help their children succeed in school and life, according to a Clovis Municipal Schools pamphlet.

• The Family Literacy Program — The literacy program educates 4-year-olds, focusing on the importance of language. Parents enrolled in the program are asked to attend 10 sessions of the FLI and participate in classroom activities. Three literacy classrooms will be set up at the center, with morning and afternoon sessions, according to school officials. Another classroom will remain at Cameo Elementary.

• Clovis Community College courses — Community members may attend language and GED classes at the center at no charge through a partnership with the Clovis Community College.

• Parents as Teachers Program — Led by educator Shannon Arredondo, this program imparts parents with the skills they need to be successful parents, with a special focus on new and young parents, school officials said. “It is tough enough to be a parent when you are 30, much less when you are 17,” Lincoln-Jackson Family Center Coordinator Anna Kolek said.

• The Migrant Program, the 21st Century Afterschool Program, and a food and clothing bank will also be housed at the center.

Still in its infancy phase, school officials have a grand vision for the center, Kolek said. Over time, more family-centered programs will be added, she said.

“It is starting small, but we want to try to become a family center, a place families can come to and really use — a welcoming, open place,” Kolek said.

The center will officially open its doors Aug. 16, Kolek said, although its programs don’t necessarily start on that date.