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For students to succeed academically, they need support not just at home or at school, but from the whole community, local educators say.

For that reason, Longview Public Schools is holding a community workshop on Wednesday, Aug. 21, to teach community leaders, parents and grandparents strategies for supporting youth by engaging with local schools. The free workshop will be in the R.A. Long High School auditorium from 5:30—7 p.m. and will include a presentation and Q&A session.

The workshop will be based on the book “Building a Culture of Hope” by Robert Barr and Emily Gibson. The two authors will lead the workshop, giving tips on how to build strong foundations to help students overcome barriers and make sure students stay hopeful and optimistic.

Jill Diehl, Longview Public School’s executive director of student services, said the workshop is a way to increase community participation in schools and create more opportunities for youth.

“There’s a benefit for anyone who comes,” Diehl said. “Parents, grandparents, community leaders, it doesn’t matter where you are in the fabric of our community, you can get something positive from it. It’s getting at the heart of who we are and how we can strengthen that.”

The authors will also lead a workshop for Longview district teachers the next day, focusing on building a sense of optimism, belonging, self-confidence and purpose for students. Each school will come up with a plan to help implement the strategies.

The workshops are part of the district’s goal of a “whole child approach” which focuses on students’ mental and emotional success as well as academic.

“This is a year-long process for us, not just a one-time thing,” Diehl said. “It’s something we want to embed in our schools and our community.”

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