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DMPS adding 25 more community school coordinators, who also serve as homeless liaisons

DMPS is adding 25 more coordinators, meaning there will now be one at every school in the district.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines Public Schools is welcoming 25 more community school coordinators to double the current number in the district and place one in every school.

The position helps ensure students' personal and academic success, according to Cara Edmondson, the district community coordinator. She said the new coordinators will be placed at elementary schools to help enhance the student experience and connect families.

"Community school coordinators exist as the bridge to build relationships and partnerships with our organizations in the community, and provide services and access for students," Edmondson said.

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund made it possible to hire those additional employees.

Edmondson said data shows the coordinators help the district meet students' basic needs.

The community school coordinators will also act as homeless liaisons, alongside success case managers.

When a student identifies as homeless, school employees take an assessment and help the student and their family access basic necessities like food, health care and dental care.

Lyn Marchant, a current community school coordinator and homeless liaison, said there are currently 886 homeless students in DMPS and that number is expected to rise. 

"I think if we can provide them as much consistency at school as possible, then we are helping that student maintain structure, maintain health and wellness and be ready to learn as much as they can," Marchant said.

The new coordinators will train until the start of the new semester, which is Jan. 20. At that point, they will transition into their assigned schools.

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