Location: Wilton, ND (Rural)
Year Joined: 2019
Grades: Pre-K through 12
NDFSCS Implementation Team:
Site Coordinator, Superintendent, Elementary Principal, Secondary Principal, School Counselor
In 2019, a call went out for schools to become pilot sites for the North Dakota Full-Service Community Schools Consortium (NDFSCS). These schools would embark on the journey together, learning how to best utilize community resources and building the Full-Service Community School model for North Dakota.
Wilton Public School was one of the first to answer the call.
“We already had the big hallmarks of a Multi-Tiered System of Support. That structure has really been fostered in Wilton,” said Lisa Klabunde, Secondary Principal. “That put us in a good place to be able to utilize data to understand what we were missing as a school and what other needs we could meet.”
In order to help identify and meet those needs, Wilton added Peg Haug to their team as the school’s NDFSCS Site Coordinator. Haug, a former HR professional who was just a year away from retirement when she first learned of the Site Coordinator position, was drawn by the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with both students and educators.
“This is more than my retirement job,” Haug said. “This is my ‘feed-my-soul’ job.”
Today, Haug supports the school by identifying resources, applying for grants, collecting data, and acting as an additional set of hands for Wilton’s teachers and principals.
“That’s not our wheelhouse. We don’t know where to partner for sponsorships or donations. We don’t always have time to look for partnerships, even though we really want to,” Klabunde said. “It just ends up being something that’s farther down our to-do list because the immediate needs in the school come first.”
Through partnerships with NDFSCS Core and Foundational Service Providers, Wilton has been able to better meet students’ needs such as physical and behavioral health services and additional academic support. Wilton does not have a school nurse on-site; their partnership with Avel eCare allows students to access healthcare by virtually connecting with an experienced school nurse at any time during the school day.
Connections made through the Consortium have also led Wilton to a partnership with Sanford Health, in which students can meet one-on-one with a licensed psychologist without ever having to leave school.
“These students would typically have to go into town to receive those services, and the waitlist in Bismarck for mental health services is quite long, up to six months” Klabunde said. “We’re able to identify those students and get them in for their first meeting with a mental health professional within two weeks.”
Wilton has also partnered with Nexus-PATH to implement Targeted Case Management and North Dakota Reading & Math Corps to provide evidence-based academic interventions. While services like these are designed to serve only the students who are experiencing the highest level of need, Klabunde says that their impact can be felt throughout the entire district.
“Typically schools are good at serving 80-90 percent of their population, but that traditional school model does not work for all kids and families. It’s our goal in Wilton to make sure we are meeting kids and families where they’re at and helping them grow from wherever that space is,” Klabunde said. “The opportunities have been plentiful and we wouldn’t have had the time, energy, or understanding to go after those if we weren’t part of the Consortium.”