Scavo High School provides services to students beyond the classroom setting.
Located in Des Moines, Scavo High School became the first full-service high school in Iowa in January 2016. With assistance from partnerships within the Des Moines community, Scavo is able to provide: dental and healthcare services, daycare for young moms, a food pantry, and other services to their own students and those throughout the Des Moines Public School system.
The idea of a full-service school came about when administrators in the Des Moines Public School (DMPS) system saw how high of a demand there is for their students. “We realized the urban resources were limited so we knew we had to create those services,” Lyn Marchant, Community School Coordinator, said. The team of administrators found examples in New York City and Cincinnati, Ohio for inspiration. Administrators took aspects from their programs and brought them back to Des Moines.
In January 2016, Scavo released their full services to their students. Lyn Marchant explained Scavo as a “one-stop-shop”.
“Everything our students need is available to them in one building,” Marchant explained.
The dental services are provided through community sponsors Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation and the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation. Dr. Peter Blough provides dental check-ups to students once a week. Primary Health Care Clinic, sponsors the clinic in Scavo which offers assistance to DMPS students twice a week.
“The biggest thing is we can’t do it alone. It takes a village to supply the services we have at Scavo. We, as a team, do it together for the students,” Marchant said.
Through a partnership with Eat Greater Des Moines, all meals at the school are paid for. However, Marchant said that if there wasn’t a partnership, a large percentage of the students would go hungry.
According to the DMPS website, during the 2012-2013 academic year, “Out of the 314 students enrolled at Scavo, 222 of them were eligible for a free or reduced meal program.” To assist with the issue, the Food Bank of Iowa created a food pantry directly in the school to support students and families who are in need of assistance.
Young Moms, a program assisted by Teddy Bear Town, Children and Families of Iowa provides daily daycare to the children of Scavo students. The daycare takes children ages 2 weeks to 3 years, allowing students to come back to school without having to worry about daycare expenses.
Other resources for students include: mental health services and support groups, Unity Point counseling services, Iowa Workforce Development program, and grief and loss programs. Students at Scavo high school can also participate in student leadership programs, Volunteer Honor Cord program, Robotics, and athletic teams.
Despite the great success, challenges have come along the way for Marchant and her team when creating the student and family services at Scavo.
“Our biggest issue is marketing and getting the word out about our programs,” Marchant said.
All services provided at Scavo High School are available to any student in the Des Moines Public School system. The next steps for Scavo are to provide a way of transportation for all students in the district to use the resources and services. “We want to find a way to remove those barriers since a lot of times our student’s parents are able to bring them to their appointments.”
In addition to providing a way of transportation to students, administrators are planning to add an optometrist clinic and expand on their current services. “At the end of the day, our goal is to break down all possible barriers so our students are ready to learn and get the education they deserve…it may be an alternative school, but they are still the same students.” Marchant said.