New Heights Community Resource Center in Tuscaloosa reaches new heights

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 4:55 PM CST
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - An alternative school in the Tuscaloosa City School district has become much more than a second chance for students having difficulties. Community leaders have turned it into a one-stop shop resource center that has the potential impact countless people. The dedication Wednesday brought local and state leaders together including the state school superintendent.

Local and state leaders are calling it the only one of its kind in Alabama, a community resource center that now houses five agencies. The concept behind it all is to help the ‘whole’ child, according to organizers.

The New Heights Community Resource Center at Stars Academy has reached new heights. A project three years in the making, the school district’s mental health coordinator says the idea is to provide what they call ‘wrap around’ services for all students and their families. The five school district partners include mental health, health care, academics, youth prevention services and homelessness prevention services.

“Our hope is getting to the root of the issues our students and removing those barriers we’ll be able to improve their academics and help them succeed in life,” said school district mental coordinator Tesney Davis.

State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey noted this is the first of its kind in Alabama.

“To see what we can replicate here in Tuscaloosa because we need this in each and every school and every community,” said Dr. Mackey.

Tuscaloosa City School Superintendent Dr. Mike Daria says with any new venture there is always the risk it won’t work but to do nothing would be even more tragic, he says, considering mental health continues to make headlines.

“You have to expect it may not work but if it does work it can transform the lives of our students and our families,” said Tuscaloosa city school superintendent Dr. Mike Daria.

It did work for Que Chandler whose children have benefitted from one of the services already.

“Just after school...having a safe place to hang out...having after school tutoring you name it,” said Chandler.

Educators and backers of the new resource center say there are many other benefits of having all these agencies under one roof; it removes transportation issues, parents having to take off from work and students missing classroom time.

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