Fort Hill Community School has established partnerships with several community agencies, colleges and government departments. Students who attend FHCS have opportunities to participate in activities which offer a wide variety of services and address the diverse needs of students. Students participate with partnerships when they meet the criteria set by the school staff: students must be current with assignments, have no behavior incidents, and must be good ambassadors for the school. During the 2013-2014 school year 98% of middle and high school students participated in one of the partnerships.
Fort Hill Community School and the Jamerson YMCA have a partnership which allows students to attend swimming and exercise activities at the YMCA on a weekly basis. Students who could not swim were offered swimming lessons by the Jamerson staff. FHCS teachers assisted as students practiced their new skills. Several students acquired new techniques and others learned to swim independently for the first time.
On alternate days, or as an option to swimming every visit, students were also introduced to exercise machines and healthy exercise habits. Some high school students were offered exercise activities which included lifting weights on the Y-On Wheels, which came to Fort Hill Community School; other students participated in rock wall climbing. This year students will be eligible for a trip to climb Sharp Top Mountain, hike the trails at Liberty University, fish in a fishing park, and even experiment with kayaking! Fort Hill Community School thanks the Jamerson YMCA and Susan Landergan for this wonderful opportunity!
The partnership between the Humankind agency and Fort Hill Community School was established over ten years ago and continues to grow. Students participate in weekly sessions where they discuss anti-drug and substance abuse behaviors. Students receive support from the Humankind staff and FHCS staff to help them avoid the dangers of experimenting with drugs and other harmful substances. Students participate in an annual poster contest, have open and honest discussions with counselors, and build relationships which extend into summer programs. FHCS is proud of the partnership with Humankind; many of our students have benefited from the lessons they have learned from this program. A big thank you goes to Humankind for their continued support of Fort Hill Community School!
For the past five years Fort Hill Community School and Lynchburg College have embarked on a partnership that offers students an opportunity to visit a college campus and get a feel for what it could be like for them to pursue attending college. Selected students are paired with college students and are given a "college tour". Students have time to question their tour guide, visit the physical therapy facility, the theater department, the dance company, and the cadaver lab, and see programs and students in their everyday activities. Students even get to work with some Lynchburg College students in their classes and participate in projects the students are working on for class. One of the exciting perks of this tour is eating lunch in the college cafeteria! One student who participated in this event looked around as she was walking across campus and said, "Wow, this is just like a dream!" Our thanks go to Dr. Gail Brown and many others at Lynchburg College for making this partnership a success.
Lynchburg City Department of Public Works
This partnership is in the infant stage, but is very popular with students. During the course of academy sessions, students have the opportunity to tour de Department of Public Works and see firsthand the equipment used in snow removal, street repair, landscaping, and trash removal. Students participate in training sessions where they learn how to complete a job application, and then they participate in an interview with a panel of Public Works supervisors. After the interview students shadow supervisors in the field as they experience what employment could be like for them. In the past students have held temporary summer jobs in the field and have learned basic office skills as they work with city staff. Fort Hill Community School is thankful to Gaynelle Hart for masterminding this partnerships (and to her staff for mentoring the students of Fort Hill)!
Peakland United Methodist Church
The partnership between Peakland United Methodist Church and Fort Hill Community School is celebrating its third year. They have been active supporters of our annual Holiday event. Church members purchase gifts from individual student wish lists, and provide items for the students' stockings. This year the "Ruth Circle" from the church provided gifts and stockings items to 20 students. In addition they contributed pajamas, slippers, hoodies, etc. as an additional surprise.
The church was our special guest at the annual Sweetheart Luncheon last February. Students chose a church member as their sweetheart and enjoyed a one-on-one lunch with them. This was an opportunity for our students to spend time with an adult who is active in the community, and enjoys getting to know our young people. Fort Hill Community School thanks the members of Peakland United Methodist Church for their support and participation in these important events on the school calendar.
Grace Memorial Episcopal Church
Fort Hill Community School and Grace Memorial Episcopal Church are at the "signing stage" of this brand new partnership. Members of the church community have already taken the initiative to contribute to the students by donating a stove to the school. They have also welcome some of our talented artists to paint and decorate two old pianos with fresh and vibrant artwork.
The church has already become active at Fort Hill Community School. For the annual Thanksgiving Dinner, the church provided four prepared turkeys and an impressive selection of desserts. In addition, several members of the congregation arrived to help with the set-up and serving of the food. It was a wonderful opportunity to welcome our newest partners an share in one of our favorite annual traditions.
Grace Memorial Episcopal Church also participated in our holiday event and provided gifts and stocking stuffers to twenty of our students. Church members will also be teaching our students photography skills and hope to showcase their efforts in the church hallways. Fort Hill Community School is extremely grateful to Rev. Cathy Montgomery and the congregation for the way they have embraced our school community.