Employers – large and small, public and private – have been facing a similar challenge since the start of the pandemic: filling job vacancies.

That challenge is just as true for education. At Des Moines Public Schools, recruitment and even hiring bonuses continue for several positions, including bus drivers, food service workers, preschool associates, and more.

However, thanks to a measure approved this week by the School Board, called the Community and Family Support Initiative, DMPS is expanding its relationship with long-time partners to meet some of those support needs at schools.

“A big reason behind this initiative is to provide support to schools that continue to be short staffed due to the lingering effects of the pandemic,” said Allyson Vukovich, director of community schools at DMPS. “Like countless employers, DMPS continues to have job openings in a number of areas. Working with our existing partners is one way we can provide help in areas such as classroom support, recess duty, meal time support, and general community building.”

The pilot program will begin by expanding the school district’s existing relationship with the Boys & Girls Club. The focus will start on schools that currently have Boys & Girls Club facilities on site: Carver, Moore, and Studebaker elementary schools and Hiatt, McCombs, Meredith middle schools. In addition, Callanan Middle School and Greenwood Elementary School are also part of this first phase because of their proximity to and relationships with the Boys & Girls Club on the Drake University campus.

Over time the plan is for the pilot program to expand to serve 20 schools.

A total of $400,000 is being budgeted for the initiative. ESSER funds – federal dollars designated for school districts to address the impact of the pandemic – will be used.

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