Some changes are on the way to how Yancey Elementary School in Albemarle County operates.
A citizen committee was appointed to review the needs of the community and what the school could provide. Thursday, the group presented those findings to both the Albemarle County School Board and the Board of Supervisors.
The committee recommended Yancey continue to be used as a school, but also become part of a three-phase program to expand community services. The hope is to grow education, recreational and employment opportunities.
"It's the centerpiece of the Esmont community and one of the centerpieces of the southern Albemarle community as a whole. It's a great location, lots of people have been to that school, they come there regularly, so offering services will be a large draw to that community,” said Craig Dommer, Yancey’s principal.
The first phase will begin immediately and the final phase will begin in August 2015.
Albemarle County Public Schools Press Release
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – A citizen advisory committee, jointly supported by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and the School Board, has recommended the creation of an intergenerational learning center at Yancey Elementary School to improve the delivery of community services in the southern part of the county.
In its report to both boards, the committee said Yancey should continue to be utilized as an elementary school and also become the focal point for a three-phased program that would expand educational, recreational and fitness offerings, health information and services, and add employment skills training and an open technology laboratory.
The committee said the first phase in the transformation of Yancey’s expanded value in the community should be the establishment of several youth athletic programs, adult education classes, health information sessions, and a technology lab. This phase should begin immediately, the report said, and be completed by August 2014.
Phase II, between August 2014 and August 2015, would include classes in technology and in workforce skill development, as well as an early childhood education program. Efforts also would begin to improve health services for the community’s senior population.
During Phase II, the committee recommended that a full-time director of Intergenerational Programming be appointed. Both Albemarle County’s Department of Social Services and the school division’s Office of Community Engagement would be available to collaborate with the new director in the planning and management of various program offerings.
The final phase would begin in August 2015 and would encompass an expansion of the existing school building to accommodate programs that would be provided by community agencies. This would include the school’s current after-school program, Club Yancey.
Separately, the committee recommended a financial development committee be appointed to work with local government and school staff in determining budgetary needs for the new center and identify potential grant and donor opportunities.
“This is outstanding work,” said Debbie Chlebnikow, the county’s Preventive Services Program Coordinator, and Dr. Bernard Hairston, the Executive Director of the Office of Community Engagement for the school division. “We are grateful for the thoughtful and in-depth analysis by the committee’s citizen volunteers and for their eagerness to include input from members of the local community,” they added.
Both Chlebnikow and Hairston served as liaisons to the advisory committee and pointed out that committee members sought to develop programs that honored the history of Yancey’s contributions to the southern Albemarle community, furthered the educational experience of students, and enriched the lives of people who live in that part of the county.
The advisory committee was appointed by County Executive Tom Foley and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Pamela Moran. Included among the committee’s objectives were:
Review community service needs and assessment data from the past several years; Develop recommendations for expanded use of the Yancey school; Determine the feasibility of public/private partnerships to support program development; Research best practice models in other parts of the country; and Examine possible sources of funding support.