East Middle School Opens Parent Resource Center

East Middle School Opens Parent Resource Center
Posted on 03/02/2021
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DeSoto East Middle School has partnered with local 501c3 organization, Serving with a Purpose (SWAP), to establish an on-campus Parent Resource Center (PRC) to assist families with practical as well as educational needs.  During a COVID-19 sensitive ribbon cutting, the team unveiled the two remodeled classrooms that make up the PRC – one room for tutoring, training, and/or computer access, the second room for the resource store.


East Middle School’s zoning district includes 15 apartment complexes, many housing financially challenged families.  Even pre-COVID, campus counselors were regularly identifying needs beyond the classroom including food insecurity and limited clothing options.  Further observation indicated a potential need for adult education or student tutoring, sometimes hampered by the lack of technology options at home.  The newly unveiled PRC will address both needs for East Middle School families, including siblings who may attend different campuses.


Serving With A Purpose is a nonprofit Christian organization that was founded by Melissa Toney on October 26, 2011. Their mission is “to serve with purpose by equipping, educating, and empowering individuals, families and the community with the life skills needed to expand and create opportunities, break generational curses and strongholds and set a solid foundation to be all God called them to be.” Toney, also a DeSoto East employee, has seen first-hand the needs of the students and families attending this campus.   

All resources provided by Serving With A Purpose are free to the individuals and families they serve. They provide many resources such as toiletries, clothes, furniture, school supplies, household goods and so much more. Toney said she  is “passionate about serving to meet the needs of people and would like to have a S.W.A.P. Resource Center in every school within the district to help families in need, this is only the beginning.”


Working with outreach counselor Brittany Torres, processes were developed for families to develop needs assessments that are used in creating a recovery plan.  Students also have the option of earning credits by volunteering to assist in the PRC during the open hours which include daytime, evening and weekend hours.  COVID protocols have been established to control crowd size, take temperature and manage contact tracing.


The need is great.  Even before the official ribbon cutting and grand opening, Mrs. Torres was able to use resources from the PRC to provide desperately needed assistance to an East family suffering from a deadly house fire.


SWAP hosts life skill classes weekly that help educate on different subject matters including resume writing, interview skills, financial literacy, parenting, Microsoft, work/life balance and many more.  Encouraging personal growth and development, as stated in their published literature: “If your mom/dad didn't graduate from high school or college S.W.A.P. that out for a diploma and a degree.”


The original partnership plan was approved by former East Principal Deidre Hannible, currently serving as the district’s Deputy Chief Academic Officer.  During the ribbon cutting, Hannible expressed “I am so happy and pleased that this is now a reality for our DeSoto East families.”  Taking the baton to finish the development, current interim principal Travis Anderson concurred, ‘it’s amazing to be able to be a blessing to so many people.”


“I am really proud of the team here at East Middle School,” enthused Superintendent D’Andre Weaver. “Our educators think of the non-academic needs of our students and families, this resource center will mean the world to our families.”


“We can only expect higher performance from our students when they no longer have to worry about these resources!” observed board president Amanda Sargent. “The opportunity for parents to update resumes and build jobs is just phenomenal!”


East Middle School families in need of assistance should contact campus outreach counselor Brittany Torres as soon as possible.  Families at other district campuses with immediate food needs should contact their campus counselor who will be able to work with Mrs. Torres on a resolution.