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Sep 03, 2015 | Kevin Thompson

Cedar Park Church Helps Students Get Ahead


At Leander High School, students have the opportunity to take advanced International Baccalaureate classes with a more challenging curriculum. These classes come with more work, extra projects and additional costly supplies. But Christ Church, Cedar Park stepped in to help.


“Thirty three percent of students at Leander High School qualify for free or reduced lunch program and [many of] those taking advanced IB classes can’t afford the extra supplies they need to complete projects,” said the Rev. Jan Halstead, deacon at Christ Church. “The staff found that they were dropping the IB and advanced placement classes to return to general education classes.”


Parishioners, working with the LHS faculty, built up a resource room and were able to offer students the supplies they needed to help complete their AP and IB class projects at no cost. The principal asked volunteers from Christ Church to act as greeters on Friday mornings starting in the spring, standing by the entry doors and bus drop off line for about 30-45 minutes to greet the students as they arrive at school.


“We were told that students who come from homes where college attendance is not the norm may find the process for selection of colleges, the application process, and the financial aid application daunting,” Halstead said.  This led to the head of counseling services at LHS partnering with members of Christ Church as volunteers in the counseling department, even holding a staff development day for the school district counselors at the church.


Christ Church also partners with Jonestown/Travis County Community Services and Samaritan Health Ministries, specifically in the area of mental health. “We want to move from just donating money and material, (although that is needed) to forming face to face service that will foster relationships with our neighbors in the community,” Halstead said.