Crockett ISD, foster care facility negotiating school agreement

Crockett ISD, foster care facility negotiating school agreement
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - Crockett ISD students have been in class for a week, but 40 students in the foster system are hoping to join them this coming Monday.

The foster students are part of Serenity Place. In July, Serenity place moved from Houston to Crockett and took over the former Crockett State School facility. The facility was formally used to hold juveniles that had a criminal history. Now the facility holds around 40 children that are in limbo in the court system with CPS.

"These children are coming from all over and need to have a normal life," Serenity Place COO Chris Brown said. "We are trying to give them a normal life,"

Brown has been in communication with Crockett ISD for providing an education to the children in his care. Last week, the CISD school board agreed that the students would be taught at the facility and on a case by case basis they would be allowed to move over to the main CISD campuses.

"We will have four teachers over there for them," CISD Superintendent Terry Myers said. "We will also have an administrator over there to handle their paperwork. We have a good investment into this already. I think we need to be there for these students."

Brown said Crockett offers the foster children a setting that will better fit their needs.

"These are kids that have a bad past some times," Brown said. "They have been abused or their parents have left them. If they were in a school in a big city that had 4,500 students, they would feel left out or they would feel like they were being picked on. Here it allows them to have a small setting and they get to know each other and they get to know the teachers and the counselors."

When not in class, the foster children are in a facility that allows them to have their own dorm-style room and a facility with a basketball gym, kickball/ football field and a soon to be skating area in a second gym.

"These kids have what they need here," Brown said. "We want to erase the image of what was here. Whenever you have something new in the community people worry. These children are not bad. ... We have three of them on the football team with Crockett, and they had a game last night. They fit in with the team. You couldn't tell them a apart. We have two girls looking at volleyball. I had one kid tell me he wants to look at raising animals."

Myers wants the district to be able to get to a point where the students are in the halls of Crockett High School, but he points to a rough past that has kept the students from being allowed in the school.

"Sometimes, these children will come with some medical records from somewhere," Myers said. "They'll come with some evaluation records from somewhere outside of the education environment."

Brown said the constant moving means extra work in determining where his foster children should be put.

"The kid was at this school, and then he moved to this school and that school," Brown said. "So you are doing a trace of trying to put this puzzle back together. They could move sometimes seven or eight times a year. ... It makes school something that the kids don't like."

Myers hopes all the details can be worked out over the weekend, so the students can start their studies on Monday.

"We have to have those, so we make good placement decisions, so we don't make a poor placement or poor choice on one of these kiddos and put them in a situation where they can't be successful," Myers said.

Copyright 2016 KTRE. All rights reserved.