Coming together to help students

By MORGAN MANNS
STAFF WRITER

From bullying, to alcohol, to drugs, to problems at home — there are many reasons why students aren’t excelling in school.
Fostoria City School’s staff and local organizations that affect youth have come together as a group, called Consortium, to discuss various resources in an effort to help local students with their personal needs.
Consortium is a group of individuals from the school district, primarily guidance counselors, who gather and discuss important issues that appear to be prominent within the four different buildings — Fostoria Junior/Senior High School, Fostoria Intermediate Elementary School, Riley Elementary School and Longfellow School — and the appropriate steps to take to fix and/or avoid those problems.
“We try to get together with county agencies from all three counties (Seneca, Hancock and Wood) to see what they have to offer and learn more about their services,” said Teresa Vogel, Consortium facilitator. “We then use that information to communicate with our students’ families.”
She said that various organizations from the tri-county area present their services and provide flyers that the district can distribute to students. In the event that an organization’s services are needed, the district knows their contact information and exactly how they can help that particular student.
“The main focus is the kids,” Vogel said. “If we have students come to us we can use these resources and extend the information to either the family or the agency.”
Organizations and agencies that have been represented at Consortium meetings with guest speakers include CASA of Seneca County, Family Resource Center in Findlay, Family and Children First Council in Tiffin, Girl Scouts of NW Ohio, Wrap Around Services in Seneca County, the Geary Family YMCA, Kaubisch Memorial Public Library, pastoral services of Fostoria, Jobs and Family Services of Seneca County, WSOS, PatchWorks, First Step, Fostoria Alcohol and Drug Center, court representatives and more.
Topics include child abuse, youth employment, household needs, alcohol and drug abuse, bullying, life skills, self-esteem and more.
Consortium began almost 20 years ago, according to Vogel. Three guidance counselors in the district came together and had the idea to begin a group that would bring in local organizations that may benefit certain students.
“Because we’re a three-county district, it’s hard to know who to call for what because we have kids that come from every county,” Vogel said. “After it became a formalized meeting, we had people from different school districts in the area, and even one in Cincinnati, come here and visit us because they wanted to know how we did it. Many districts have modeled our Consortium.
“It’s been a huge success and we want to keep it going so we can better provide our students with a variety of resources if they need them.”
The following items were discussed at Friday’s meeting of Consortium:
• How to get more parent involvement within the district;
• How to help students better transition to the next building;
• Girl Scouts of Northwest Ohio will host a Summer Day Camp in Fostoria June 25-27;
• Seneca Mentoring Youth Links (SMYL) will host its second annual Golf Scramble at 8 a.m. June 28 at Loudon Meadows Golf Club, 11072 W. Ohio 18 and Dad Fest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 14 on the courthouse lawn in Tiffin;
• Jobs & Family Services of Seneca County will have applications available for school clothing vouchers July 1 (applicants can apply beginning July 8); and
• Fostoria Junior/Senior High School will fund a trip to a Toledo Mudhens game for 50 students who received no tardies, no unexcused absences, and no more than one excused absence for the 2013-2014 school year.
Vogel said the group is always looking for more organizations or agencies to attend the monthly meetings, adding that they don’t have to come to every meeting; rather, the group would like to hear what their organization can offer the students of the district.
For more information or to inquire about the meetings, which will begin again in September, contact Vogel at 419-436-4110 or tvogel@fostoriaschools.org.

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