Location and accessibility to services are among the strengths of the neighborhood surrounding Terry Redlin Elementary School, according to respondents in a survey released Sept. 15, 2022 by Sioux Falls Thrive and Augustana Research Institute.
Outstanding teachers and staff, special programming and a culture of adaptability all focus on the success of the student body and their families. But, at the same time, teachers and others express a need for more support not only for the school but for families and neighbors.
Survey results were introduced to the community by Dr. Suzanne Smith, associate vice president of Augustana Research Institute, during a neighborhood convening in the school. The first of two such large group conversations, this gathering focused on participants’ reactions to the survey and their goals for their school and neighborhood.
The most common challenges and opportunities described by survey participants centered around the following overlapping five topics:
- Safety: “But it’s gun violence. Those types of things that you go, Okay, now that really raises the stakes when you have kids that go, Yeah, my apartment got shot up, and now they’re coming to school with all that trauma, but just all that to understand for your staff and your students.”
- Out-of-school time activities: “A sad thing is you see kids all by themselves sometimes and not supervised with parents, and then I always wonder what’s happening or where they’re going or, you know, is someone gonna check on them and stuff.”
- Transportation: “A lot of people who have a car but maybe it doesn’t work today and they can’t afford to get it fixed, or buy tires and whatever. So, a lot of times those car fixes are not within their means at the time. So, then they rely on neighbors or someone else that they know, if they get there [to school]. Otherwise they stay home.”
- Food insecurity: “I would say it’s more healthy food choices. And then price. I mean, just because there’s a grocery store close doesn’t necessarily mean they can buy food there. Because they may not have the money… But yeah, I think it’s more just money to pay for food, and then knowing what foods are healthy. And do you spend the $5 on a couple of apples? Or do you spend it on five bags of chips?”
- Childcare: “There’s a daycare need for kids, for people that aren’t able to afford [it]—and I think sometimes it’s that being able to find care that fits with times that they would have their job. Not everybody has their job to six o’clock or whatever, so that daycare situation is a need.”
The second neighborhood meeting, scheduled for 5–6:45 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, at the school will give participants the opportunity to dig deeper into the survey results. Then, they will form action teams to begin finding solutions to the more pressing needs they see.
Thrive commissioned the study as part of its expansion of the Kid Link demonstration initiative in partnership with the Sioux Falls School District and Volunteers of America, Dakotas. Kid Link began in the Riverside neighborhood around Laura B. Anderson Elementary just as the pandemic started in 2020.
What is Kid Link?
Thrive’s leadership has adopted a neighborhood approach to collaboration that produces immediate benefits for school-age children. The result is Kid Link. The initiative works to realign community resources to better serve children and their families.
How Can I Learn More?
News about Kid Link Riverside is available at facebook.com/SiouxFallsThrive. Parents will also receive information through their child’s classroom and other school communications tools. Click the link below to subscribe to Kid Link email news.