I was on hand at the Prichard Committee annual meeting last fall when the Division of Family Resource and Youth Services Center (DFRYSC) was recognized with an Award of Excellence. Brigitte Blom, President and CEO of the Prichard Committee stated that FRYSCs were the true heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. And I completely agree.

FRYSCs were established as a component of the historic Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) of 1990. The mission of these school-based Centers is to help academically at-risk students succeed in school by helping to minimize or eliminate non-cognitive barriers to learning. Today in KY, there are 888 FRYSCs in over 1,200 schools.

FRYSCs coordinated over 49,000 home visits during the school closure (March-June 2020). The majority of these were likely to deliver food, household supplies and NTI packets. For comparison, during the same period in the previous year, FRYSCs coordinated 8,000 home visits.

The work of the center coordinators and administrative division is a team effort, and this recognition means so much to our team. My participation in early focus groups as a business leader, being in the legislative chambers the day the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) was passed, and then implementing the first FRYSCs in Rowan County led to a very unexpected 31-year career with FRYSC. Bringing schools, communities, business, industry and faith-based partners together collaboratively was brilliant for both the Prichard Committee and the founding principles of DFRYSC. And it continues to be nationally recognized as the model for implementation.

Less than two months after DFRYSC and its staff were honored, the Prichard Committee in partnership with the Kentucky Department of Education and DFRYSC received a 5-year grant from the US Department of Education to establish effective and evidenced-based “community schools” in collaboration with identified local schools and communities.

Under Melissa Goin’s leadership and the entire FRYSC staff, coordinators and partners DFRYSC has broadened with vitality and strength to sustain the original vision as the national standard for excellence in providing school-based student and family services. I’m excited about the opportunities that this grant provides for our Commonwealth to meet the whole needs of Kentucky students and families.

Press Release link.


Since 1983, the Prichard Committee has worked to study priority issues, inform the public and policy makers about best practices and engage citizens, business leaders, families, students, and other stakeholders in a shared mission to move Kentucky to the top tier of all states for education excellence and equity for all children, from their earliest years through postsecondary education.

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