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LEAD Public Schools

Introducing the LEAD Exchange: How This New Resource Supports Families and Removes Barriers to Learning

At LEAD Public Schools, we work to identify barriers to student success and provide real-time interventions to help alleviate them. A variety of factors can make it difficult for a child to attend school daily, including a lack of access to basic needs – such as laundry detergent and hygiene products.

The LEAD Exchange is a new initiative that is launching at LEAD Brick Church and LEAD Neely’s Bend to support families with access to these basic needs and encourage students to attend school each and every day. 

How does it work? In exchange for attending school, students will receive bucks to spend at the LEAD Exchange store, which has necessity items available for purchase. Each day at school equals $5.00 in bucks to spend. There will be a monthly shopping window during which families can stock up on essentials with their earned bucks.

“The presence of our scholars in school is essential for their learning!” said Dr. Ricki Gibbs, LEAD’s head of elementary schools who modeled the LEAD Exchange after a similar program at a school where he previously served as principal. “Simply put, our scholars cannot master grade-level material if they are not in school. The LEAD Exchange provides additional encouragement for both students and parents to prioritize daily attendance. We are confident that when our scholars attend school regularly, the dedicated educators within our network will guarantee their achievement, meeting or surpassing grade-level expectations.”

What makes this program so unique is that there is no intake form, no questions to ask, and no eligibility criteria. Everyone that attends LEAD Brick Church and LEAD Neely’s Bend is eligible to participate, because we want everyone to engage with our school, we want all students in school, and we want to impact the total family!

“I have the honor to be able to manifest and carry out projects like this one for families that choose LEAD as their school of choice,” said Biridiana Martinez, LEAD’s family engagement associate for the network. “Times can shift rapidly for some of our families and knowing that the school in which their child attends not only cares for their students academic needs but also the needs of the family on a greater scale is the LEAD difference.”

“Engaging families through initiatives like The LEAD Exchange is crucial for fostering a positive and supportive educational environment. It enhances communication between educators and parents, building trust and creating a partnership for the success of the student. Family engagement not only supports academic achievement but also contributes to a holistic approach to education by addressing social, emotional, and behavioral aspects of a student’s development.” –Dr. Ricki Gibbs, Head of Schools, Elementary

Having essentials at home can ease the burden that impacts how families can engage with their child’s school. The LEAD Exchange is just another way to contribute to the success of our LEAD families, and in turn, our students.

“I want the Nashville community to be able to hear about this initiative and recognize this as part of the LEAD difference created for our families.” –Biridiana Martinez, Family Engagement Associate, Network Engagement

The official launch dates for the LEAD Exchange are Feb. 29 for Neely’s Bend and March 1 for Brick Church. For 2023-24, LEAD Neely’s Bend and LEAD Brick Church will have a LEAD Exchange. In 2024-25, we will look to replicate these efforts at our other LEAD campuses. 

For more information, reach out to Biridiana Martinez.

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