“Get Georgia Reading helps communities find success because it supports a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach. Nurturing these partnerships helps organizations find new grooves in which they can work together and also better meet the needs of their community.”

Annaliza Thomas, Coordinator

With hundreds of nonprofit organizations committed to serving children and families in Hall County and Gainesville City, Hall County Family Connection Network (HCFC) is using the four pillars as a framework for action as it works to align local resources and strategies that address the needs of residents in ways that are responsive and dynamic to emerging opportunities and challenges.

Gainesville City Schools received a Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading (L4GA) grant from the Georgia Department of Education in 2018 and has worked with many local organizations and partners to support children’s language and literacy development from birth through grade 12.

To better serve the 43% of the Gainesville City student population who are English language learners, the school system is investing in professional development for its teaching staff so they will be English to Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) certified.

They launched The Hub, a student success center open to all Hall County and Gainesville City families, to deliver academic support, health care, mental and behavioral health services, and workforce planning. To meet basic needs, this one stop shop has a food pantry and clothes closet. The Hub also invites local organizations to provide services to students and families.

The Gainesville City School System is rolling out the Herd, a play on the local red elephant mascot, to address transportation barriers. The set of buses have been specially outfitted for community outreach, targeting families with children ages birth to 5. Through partnerships with the public libraries, health department, and others, the Herd will deliver learning materials, books, counseling supports, and more.

Hall County Schools are also deeply engaged with community partners to support children’s early school success. It hosts robust summer programs, including remediation, acceleration, and advanced programming, to help children progress during the break.

HCFC is working to engage other partners who can address gaps in access to services and ensure that all children and families receive the supports they need. Under Thomas’s leadership, HCFC is well positioned to access the resources offered by state agencies and systems and to implement emerging innovations in early learning and education.

Many large employers, including poultry facilities, manufacturers, and the Northeast Georgia Medical Center, are stepping up to support early literacy efforts. The medical center provides a locally produced book to all newborn families after delivery which encourages caregivers to read and talk with their baby daily. The poultry facilities have hosted backpack distributions to ensure children have all the school supplies they need at the beginning of the school year.

To learn more about Hall County Family Connection, visit their website.