Fort Dodge Community School District renewed its contract with Girls Remedial and Learning Center Program, also known as GRLS, through June 2013.
The GRLS program is part of the Youth Shelter Care of North Central Iowa, a non-profit agency that is licensed as a foster care facility.
"It's for girls, all girls, middle school through high school, with mental health issues," Lis Ristau, FDCSD director of special needs, said of GRLS.
Jim Seward, Youth Shelter Care executive director, said he is pleased to be continuing their partnership with the school district.
"We're very happy," he said. "We have a long, healthy professional relationship with the school district. For seven years we've providing this option for education for girls who are struggling with behavior problems and this is a way they can meet their education requirements."
The program's qualified counselors help girls to develop skills for use in school and daily life before they return to senior high, Seward said.
"We have them for one to three semesters and get them back into their high school home so they can continue and finish their high school career gainfully and better equipped to handle educational stressors," he said.
The day treatment program is "a little different" from a public school setting, Ristau said.
"The students get the same curriculum that we use here in Fort Dodge, however they have what they call BHS services, which are behavioral health services," she said. "They get counseling, usually once or twice a week, and a strong piece of that is a parent component, where those counselors also work with the families."
She added, "That's an addition, something that we don't have as much here in the public schools."
Fort Dodge Community School District has a 28-E agreement with Youth Shelter Care, Ristau said.
"It's just to help facilitate the educational piece of the girl's program," she said. "It lays out kind of what their jobs are and what our jobs are. Basically, for Fort Dodge Public Schools, it's just monitoring their educational program, making sure they're following Iowa Core standards, that the curriculum is appropriate."
She added, "They do use our curriculum that we use here in Fort Dodge, and they follow our calendar."
FDCSD also provides teacher evaluation services for GRLS and serves as a fiscal agent for the program, Ristau said.
"We'll do the billing for out-of-district students for them, collect that money and then return it back to the GRLS program," she said. "It's an agreement that we've had for a number of years that just spells out what each party does to educate the girls that attend there."
The contract with Youth Shelter Care for the GRLS program was renewed at the last regular meeting of the FDCSD board, on July 9. Ristau said she was "delighted."
"It's a wonderful partnership and it's a program that is so needed here in Fort Dodge," she said. "They do take a number of students that are out-of-district, as well. The need is there for girls that have significant mental health service needs, needing those extra supports, as well as those families. I'm elated that we get to continue that partnership."
Ristau applauds the GRLS programs and its efforts.
"They've had a lot of success over the years," she said. "The goal of the program is always to have the girls return to public school or graduate from high school, and they're able to do both of those. It has been a very good addition to what we have here in Fort Dodge."
According to Ristau, Youth Shelter Care is a non-profit agency and does not receive taxpayer funds from the school district.
"It's all nonprofit," she said.