Karmina Cook’s primary responsibility is to help develop the whole child at her school site. As a teacher on special assignment (TSA) for Community Schools, she provides resources for Ina Arbuckle Elementary families, students, and the community.
Ms. Cook has served as an educator in Jurupa Unified School District since 2015 and was previously a kindergarten teacher at Sunnyslope Elementary. Now in her first year as a TSA, she dedicates more of her time to helping her community at Ina Arbuckle. Ina Arbuckle is one of 12 JUSD Community Schools, supported by a Community Schools Partnerships Programs grant. The Community School concept involves providing wraparound student and family services to support the whole child and the whole community.
“I bridge that gap between the families and the teachers and the staff at our site,” Ms. Cook said. “Being able to help the community out is something that’s really important to me.”
Through Wellness Wednesday activities, Ms. Cook builds connections with students.
With the help of a Behavior Health Therapist and Behavior Health Intern Associate, she conducts structured activities centered around self-care, mind and body, and well-being for students. They have created a safe environment for students through these activities and discussions.
Ms. Cook provides new experiences for many students as well. Some made friendship bracelets or talked about kindness for the first time during Wellness Wednesdays. “Having the safe space for them every week to just talk, and have that adult to connect with- and to build those relationships is so important.” she said.
Ms. Cook plans to continue to help close the gap between the community and her school. “I’m going to be that positive light for the school,” she said. “I want [the community] to know that I’m here for them no matter what they need me for.”