Spud Impact helps our Moorhead, MN schools in a wide range of ways. Currently, one major need that our student facilitators are seeing is truancy. Students who WANT to be in school but are facing hurdles such as missing buses, not waking up in time because they do not own alarm clocks or do not have a phone line - this ties into food insecurity, as many of these same students are then missing out on nutrition. When students miss school, staff are required to do truancy reports to the county. The goal is to remove those hurdles, but the reality is that some students have to get ready for school while parents have already left for work. Some of the youngest cannot walk to school on their own, nor do they have the proper winter gear to do so.
Overall, it is the facilitator staff's goals to make a positive experience for the whole family in prioritizing education - when truancy is recurrent, it can lead to shame and negative feelings surrounding schooling. We want to support those students sooner so that by the time they reach middle and high school, they are emotionally and mentally stronger. Staff have been identifying needs of individual students, and providing one-on-one time for counseling or
social/hygiene education. Each of the 5 elementary schools in Moorhead has between 20 to 60 students who are missing school regularly for various reasons.
Because many of these students are lacking basic needs, we want to build an app for families/guardians to request items through a "Spud Store" that will be managed by staff. We plan to engage our Moorhead students at the Career Academy to help build an app that the district will be able to oversee. We plan to fund the startup of housing articles of clothing and hygiene items, alarm clocks, etc. so that staff can then distribute to those in need within the schools.
Funded by Cass Clay (February 2023)