SAVANNAH Ga., (WSAV) – The Deep Center of Savannah received a three-year 600,000 dollar grant from the William and Flora Foundation.
A portion of that grant will be used to fund the Healing School Initiative created by The Deep Center and Chatham County Public Schools. Together, the organizations will work to keep students in the school community rather than pushing them into disciplinary settings.
Deep Center has chosen Hubert Middle School as the pilot school for the program. School Principal, Brian Dotson, explains how the initiative will help reach their end goal.
“The end goal here is to build those relationships not just between students and teachers but also teachers and teachers, administrators and teachers, while at the same time reducing the suspension rate because that keeps kids in school and we are in the business of teaching kids,” Dotson adds.
The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System is the 10th largest school district in the state of Georgia. The county alone has twice as many court-involved youth in Georgia and Executive Director of Deep Center, Dare Dukes, says there is a reason for that.
“In general our county is over-sentencing and over disciplining young people when we should be serving them,” Dukes explains.
The program will also address bias like race, class and other barriers that could impact student success.