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The Carthage Press
  • New principal's job includes Bright Futures

  • As principal at Pleasant Valley, Gary Danielson also takes over as coordinator of a district-wide program designed to help students meet their needs beyond the classroom, so they can do well in the classroom.
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  • As principal at Pleasant Valley, Gary Danielson also takes over as coordinator of a district-wide program designed to help students meet their needs beyond the classroom, so they can do well in the classroom.
    According to the district, "Approximately 2,900 (65 percent) of Carthage students are living in poverty and many of them do not have the skills or support to overcome life's challenges."
    The sole purpose of the Bright Futures-Carthage program is "to remove barriers to students’ education," the district said.
    Danielson said York Elementary School had a similar program where faith-based groups came into the school and helped students. He said 95 percent of the students at York were on free or reduced lunches, so he's familiar with programs like Bright Futures.
    Bright Futures serves as the hub connecting community resources with students that need them in an effort to  give all students the opportunity to develop skills they need to be successful – not only to graduation, but beyond.
    "It's a big part of the Pleasant Valley job and it's a district directive and a community directive," Danielson said. "At York, we had backpacks, we had faith-based organizations in our building every day, just assisting the kids. With this program, it's a little bit different."
    2014-15 kickoff
    Bright Futures-Carthage kicks off the school year with its Stuff the Bus event, scheduled for 9 a.m.-5 p.m. July 25 and 26 at the Carthage Walmart.
    Volunteers with Bright Futures will be on hand those two days to accept donates school supplies for children who live in families that might not be able to afford those supplies.
    Danielson said it's a great way to start the school year for the program, but he's hoping to make it much more in the coming year.
    "I think it's very important to kick off the school year with a whole array of supplies," he said. "But I really would like to see a bigger diversification on Bright Futures, since it is a community support program, I think we need to have a lot more of the community being present."
    Face-to-face
    Danielson said Bright Futures is about the snack packs and the Stuff the Bus program to collect school supplies and other physical supplies that students need, but it's also so much more than that.
    "What I've come to find out is there's a little bit of a disconnect in this community about what Bright Futures is," Danielson said. "Some people think it's just providing the weekend snack packs, some people think it's the materials. That's what Stuff the Bus is, where we acquire the materials and school supplies for student needs. But the other aspect is it provides any need that a student might have across the district. If that's tutoring, if that's mentoring, if that's eyewear, to underwear, it's trying to take that student and give him or her the best opportunity to be a successful society member."
    Page 2 of 2 - Danielson said Bright Futures is also about showing students that they are important and they are worth an adult taking his or her time to hear what that student has to say.
    "It's face to face time," he said. "Some of these kids just need face-to-face time with an adult, whether that be a lunch buddy, a reading buddy, just an adult to listen to them and let them know they matter. If any adult would look back, they had an adult in their life as a kid, whether that be a parent or an uncle or some family friend, anybody can be that person for a student."

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