After the storm, generosity gives Texas schools a lifeline
Photo Credit: Brendan Keefe of WFAATO
In August 2017, over 6 million Texans were impacted by Hurricane Harvey’s devastation. Repairing the damage done to the Gulf Coast region will require years of support. In addition to damaging infrastructure for power, transit and communications, Hurricane Harvey is estimated to have impacted over 1.4 million public school students, including 42,000 K–12 students who have been displaced across district lines.
In response, Educate Texas and Communities Foundation of Texas, along with their funding partners, quickly launched two new funds to support Gulf Coast schools and students affected by Hurricane Harvey.
One of these funds is the Harvey KIDS Education Fund at CFT, which, in addition to providing immediate relief funding to school districts and campuses to support the needs of displaced students, also provides longer-term funds to enable rebuilding and redesigning schools and the student learning experience.
To date, the Harvey KIDS Fund at CFT has raised over $1.6 million. These funds are being used to provide immediate relief as well as to support longer-term rebuilding efforts.
Harvey KIDS Funds in Action
Featured below are selected stories about how some districts are using Harvey KIDS funds:
In Pearland ISD, 414 students were forced to move into shelters outside of their regular school zones. Harvey KIDS funds are being used to provide these students with transportation to and from school, which has resulted in a daily attendance rate of more than 98 percent. Despite the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, students are learning, and the schools are maintaining normalcy as best they can.
In Pasadena ISD, more than half of the students and staff were impacted by the hurricane and found themselves living in hotels, or with friends and relatives. Currently, over 3,300 students and their families remain displaced in temporary living situations. Harvey KIDS funds will help the district hire homeless case managers to communicate with these families to assess their social, emotional and academic needs and direct them to appropriate resources. The grant will also enable the district to hire tutors to provide additional academic support.
East Chambers ISD was hit with 60 inches of water during Hurricane Harvey and many families who faced substantial losses due to the flood
are still struggling with home repairs. Harvey KIDS funds are helping East Chambers ISD support an after-school program to help students with their homework and studies by providing access to teachers, computers, textbooks and other resources, as well as transportation back home.
In Vidor ISD the potential relocation of up to 50 teachers and maintenance and transportation personnel has been a big concern since the hurricane. In order to help keep vital human capital in the district that serves nearly 4,000 students, Harvey KIDS funds are being used to offer two daily meals to staff as well as to replace lost technology.
Taft ISD faced extensive damage and classes for the district’s more than 1,000 students were delayed an entire month. To support students and teachers who must now catch up in their coursework, Harvey KIDS funds are being used to hire education consultants who will assist with curriculum and plan development to adjust for lost instructional time.
In Port Aransas ISD, Harvey KIDS funds are being used to offer licensed professional counseling services to 425 students, many of whom experienced much loss due to Hurricane Harvey. They are also using funds for medium-term student assessment and interventions.
In Aransas County ISD, the impact of Hurricane Harvey included collapsed buildings and caved-in roofs, resulting in three weeks of instruction time lost. As a result, the district and its students struggled with a lack of adequate classroom space and equipment. Harvey KIDS funds are being used by the district to replace lost technology and provide necessary items for special-needs students.
To learn more about the Harvey KIDS Fund or Communities Foundation of Texas’ and Educate Texas’ Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, please visit www.edtx.org/harvey.