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Grant helps teens in detention

Coupeville schools will be starting a new program to help young people confined in the Island County Juvenile Detention Center.

The school district received a $190,000 state grant that will pay for three positions to implement a host of new programs at the detention center, located adjacent to the county jail in Coupeville. The district is responsible for educating the youth held there.

Superintendent Patty Page said the school district will be hiring a teacher, a career specialist and a transition specialist for the center.

The additional staff will allow the district to provide services that will help detainees prepare for a career and transition back to their regular school.

“Hopefully they get a vision for life after high school,” Page said.

There will also be a comprehensive summer school program implemented to help at-risk youth. Page said credit retrieval courses will be offered along with instruction on healthy living.

The Juvenile Detention Center held 277 youth last year. Page said the number incarcerated at the center ranges between three and 11 youngsters at any one time. The number of at-risk students that will be helped by Coupeville’s program is a little more difficult to determine. Page said the Coupeville School District will reach out to the other districts on the island.

School officials are busy trying to hire the three employees needed to operate the new programs in order to meet an Aug. 31 implementation deadline.

Page said the grant funding is only a temporary source of money, but the district can apply for the grant when it comes up again. Having an established program in place will help.

Page said the school district can operate the program on a cost-neutral basis and already has one part-time employee working at the detention center.

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