Breaking Barriers, Building Futures: The Transformative Role of Green Hills AEA School-Based Interventionists in Southwest Iowa Education
K-12 education is a vital part of our lives that has the potential to significantly shape our future. But obstacles often cast shadows on the potential that students hold. Skipping school, missing assignments, and acting out may seem like the main issue on the surface, but beneath the surface lies a myriad of challenges. What if a single caring adult could bridge the gap, uncover the root causes, and pave the way for a positive solution? That’s exactly what Green Hills Area Education Agency (AEA) School-Based Interventionists (SBIs) are doing in schools all across southwest Iowa.
The SBI program is a cooperative effort between local school districts, the Juvenile Courts, and Green Hills AEA that focuses on providing safe and supportive learning environments for students to succeed academically, socially, and emotionally in school and beyond. Many students today face barriers such as poverty, trauma, mental health issues, substance abuse, and difficult home lives that prevent them from coming to school and hinder their ability to thrive and plan for their future.
A Rhode Island Data Hub analysis found that compared to those who attend regularly, chronically absent Kindergarteners (missing 10% of school) scored 20% lower in reading and math in later grades and were twice as likely to be suspended by the end of 7th grade. The data continues to be a concern for middle school and high school students, as those who are chronically absent any year between 8th and 12th grade are 7.4 times more likely to drop out. In 2022-23, 18% of students in Green Hills AEA were chronically absent.
Last year, the Green Hills AEA SBI program served nearly 3,700 students. Our team of SBIs have a powerful and important role that extends further than simply helping students stay in school and out of trouble, they equip students with the tools and skills they need to be successful beyond high school and out of our reach. This kind of long-lasting impact wouldn’t be achievable without the trusting relationships that are formed with an SBI embedded directly in the school environment and community.
This year, SBIs are serving in 19 schools in Southwest Iowa and will have a positive, long-lasting impact on thousands of students.
Steve McPhillips, School Based Interventionist Supervisor, Green Hills AEA