Community Engagement Coach/Social Worker, Ms. Kathy Timmerman Supports Families When they Need it Most

Posted by PA Distance Learning on 9/21/20 8:26 AM

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PA Distance is thrilled to have the newly-formed Community Engagement team to facilitate open communication and offer support when students, and their parents, need it. On the front lines of this effort is PA Distance's new Community Engagement Coach and Social Worker, Ms. Kathy Timmerman. Ms. Timmerman has years of relevant family engagement experience, coming from a prior position with Children Youth Services, and has a strong family & community support philosophy.

"It's always been my passion for working within a school," Ms. Timmerman said. "Everything that I've done up until this point has allowed me to gain the experience needed to now do this job. It's rewarding to be able to help people through something."

Ms. Timmerman coordinates with school counselors, administrators, and teachers to connect with PA Distance families in need. As long as parents are comfortable talking with her, she can step in, introduce herself, and let them know how she can help with their individual situation.

“I work with families for a variety of reasons and to assist with a wide range of situations,” she explained. “I do research to find resources within their local communities on their behalf and connect families with people in their area that can assist them directly.”

“I’ll call families, email, video chat, whatever they want to do and are comfortable with,” she said. “Every day is different and you have to adapt from one moment to the next.”

Community Engagement is vital at PA Distance because of the work that our team does directly correlates with each student’s success in school.

“If there’s a stable home environment they’re going to be successful in school,” she said.

One of the team’s overarching goals is to help parents locate resources within their local communities and coordinate with beneficial organizations to form relationships.

"My job involves a lot of networking across the state," Ms. Timmerman explained. "I've been working on a county-by-county Regional Resource Guide for parents to reference if they need assistance on the local level."

After finishing the Regional Resource Guide, Ms. Timmerman is also planning to create a national resource guide and a guide for teachers and other PA Distance staff members so that anyone can provide support when asked.

“If you empower the family, provide supports, and help them find resources on their own, they will succeed,” she said. “So, I was trained in family engagement with a little twist that really adds to the PA Distance experience.”

“It’s the best feeling in the world when you know you’ve helped someone and helped to make their life better and work through a problem,” she said. “I’m excited to meet more people and help as many people as possible. It’s very gratifying.”


Topics: Family Resources, Tech & Teaching

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