After a Hometown Hero story about James Wogan was published in the Times on Tuesday, he sent out an e-mail to let the community know about it and thank those who work directly with students in the Mt. Diablo school district, where he oversees programs for foster youth, homeless students and those who are struggling.
Here is his messsage:
“I’ve been nominated as a ‘Hometown Hero.’ This is a great honor, but it’s truly a team effort. I’m grateful to the staff with Mt. Diablo School Linked Services who work tirelessly to support vulnerable students. I appreciate our teachers, our amazing teachers, and all of the district staff and community partners who are dedicated to seeing all children feel well, and do well in school. The ‘heroes’ in my book are the children who face incredible struggles yet get up every day and come to school to learn.
I’m hopeful that this article will help to raise awareness of the struggles that many children and families face and maybe even lead to cash, gift card, or check donations c/o Mt. Diablo HOPE.’
James C. Wogan, MFT, LCSW
Administrator, School Linked Services
Mt. Diablo Unified School District
Foster Youth Services, Homeless Outreach Program for Education (HOPE)
2730 Salvio St. Concord, CA 94519
Office: (925)682-8000; ext. 3054″
Wogan told me that every district employee who is not a teacher is there to support the relationship between students and teachers.
I mentioned this to Mike Langley, who agreed. Here’s what Langley said:
“He’s a sweetheart — a nice guy. And he’s correct, because it’s to support the student and right now, the primary relationship of the student is with the teacher. It’s unfortuante that we don’t have experienced counselors to meet the needs of the students in areas other than academics, so we evolved into having the teachers being counselor-teachers and that’s not necessarily what a lot of teachers are trained for, but they try to fill the need.”
Here’s another story I wrote recently about the increase of homeless students in California, in which Wogan is also quoted: http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20714274/most-students-eagerly-count-days-until-summer-vacation
This includes Clayton Valley High student Matthew Fiore and his Dad Michael Fiore, who became homeless after they were evicted when Michael Fiore could no longer work, due to illness.
Wogan’s comments at the beginning of the Hometown Hero story reveal that there is always more that can be done to help needy students:
“I struggle between feeling grateful for what we have done for them,” he said, “and knowing that we’re still not meeting the needs of all the kids.”
What else could the district do to help its most vulnerable students?
JULY 25 UPDATE: After my story ran, CBS featured Wogan in a “High Five” segment: http://cbsloc.al/MmE0qR
Here’s a note about it from Wogan: “Frank Mallicoat from CBS KPIX came out to feature our successful programs. ‘High Five’ to the hundreds of our homeless students and foster youth who have overcome so much to do well in school! It’s truly a team effort.”