SOUL’s greatest resource is not merely an academic program that mirrors other traditional and non-traditional high schools. Rather, SOUL provides a wide variety of avenues designed to connect students to school, whether it be through delivery of special resources and support services, or through participation in extracurricular activities. SOUL’s alternative educational setting is a vehicle of opportunity, providing it‘s students a way out of their previous cycle of truancy and disconnectedness. SOUL delivers relevant prescriptive resources and services designed to increase school attendance, connectedness, and involvement in extracurricular activities. Services include home visits to identified truants, individualized counseling, parent engagement opportunities, and scheduled participation in extracurricular and community activities.
SOUL provides a host of opportunities designed to connect students with the concept of school, such as youth mentoring, career development, leadership, community service clubs, musical education, and sports. All of these programs work hand in hand with SOUL’s staff to create a level of mutual respect among students and staff, and an atmosphere of engagement between the students and their education. The personal relationships established in a small school setting allow for a greater understanding, acceptance, and tolerance among staff and students.
In addition to the regular academic program, SOUL provides intervention and support services to its students to address the student’s personal, social, mental, emotional, and in some cases, physical needs.
Learning best occurs when a student’s social and family dynamics are conducive to learning. Unfortunately, many students come to school unprepared to learn because of undue emotional stress in their lives. With the help of the case managers at SOUL, along with a plethora of prescriptive supportive services, these students receive the attention and assistance they need to overcome the barriers that have led to truancy, lack of motivation, and a history of academic failure.
Each student receives case management services primarily aimed at cultivating a stronger personal and social acumen. Their ability to deal with what is often a dysfunctional family and/or environment is vital to their personal and academic development. Case managers work closely with the students to access resources provided by Fresno EOC and other community agencies to address personal, family, social, and emotional needs. In addition to case management services, SOUL offers mental health counseling through Kaiser Permanente’s Psychology department, as well as additional supportive services through Fresno State’s Social Work program. Case managers are available to every student at SOUL, whether enrolled in the Classroom-Based Program or in Independent Study Program. A family meeting is held upon enrollment, followed by several individual meetings so that a trusting relationship can be developed. Case managers are well versed in student needs assessment, and appropriate service and resource referrals.
Other services offered on, or near SOUL’s campus are:
¨ Mental health counseling provided by Kaiser Permanente’s Psychology Department Interns.
¨ Personal coaching and support provided by Fresno State’s Social Work Department interns.
¨ Temporary shelter and counseling for runaway and out-of-control youth by the EOC Sanctuary Youth Shelter.
¨ Child care and child development classes offered by Fresno EOC’s Head Start/Early Head Start Program at SOUL’s Early Head Start child development center.
¨ Health service needs provided by Fresno EOC’s health clinic.
¨ Housing and homelessness issues addressed by Fresno EOC’s Transitional Living Center.