Administrator’s Corner: Schools, communities operate best when they work together

Published 8:00 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Administrator’s Corner by Tyler Johnson

Do you remember hearing the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child?” I’ve talked about this saying before and I still feel this holds true today. As a freshly new parent myself this saying has brought a whole new meaning for my wife and I. Being a parent is challenging enough, but when we throw in different variables such as being the only income earner in the house, the increasing costs of goods and services, including health care and child care, it can make being a parent even more challenging.

Tyler Johnson

Here at Southwest Middle School we have roughly 500 sixth and seventh graders and half of our students qualify for free/reduced meals. Middle school is often the time when our bodies go through puberty, and we see the changes that go along with it. We’ve seen a need to help our students with hygiene products, school supplies and even laundry services. Seeing these different needs here at Southwest we have created what we are calling “The Tiger Den.”

Email newsletter signup

The Tiger Den is a program we have started here at Southwest where students can get school supplies, hygiene products, gently used to new clothes and even laundry services. The goal is to eliminate as many barriers as we can for our students who might not want to come to school for things outside of their control such as having school supplies or clean clothes.

It’s fairly simple and straightforward for our students as well. Anytime a student needs a product from the Tiger Den they can fill out an online form where they can check what items they are in need of. Throughout the day our office staff and social worker will get notified when a student fills out the form and will then get the product(s) for the student and have one of our hall monitors put the product in the student’s locker.

We are calling our laundry service under the Tiger Den “Loads of Success.” In this case, if students are in need of their clothes being cleaned, for any reason, they can drop off their clothes in the morning in one of our “Loads of Success” lockers. During the day those clothes get cleaned and put back in the locker for the student to pick up at the end of the day.

We have been fortunate for our community members and partners who have donated both supplies and money to this program. This has been completely funded through donations from different organizations throughout our community. We would like to thank the following organizations for their donations to help get this program started:

  • Union Center: $1,000
  • Moose Lodge: $1,000 and hygiene and school supplies
  • American Legion: $1,000

We would also like to thank the individuals who have also donated supplies, sometimes anonymously. I believe schools and communities operate at their highest levels when both work together. We are lucky to have great support from community organizations and individuals here at Southwest.

Tyler Johnson is the principal at Southwest Middle School.