Sherry: Showing Students that Not All Who Wander Are Lost
Sherry Hoyle, a site coordinator from CIS of Tennessee, received the 2022 All In for Students: Site Coordinator Award for her enduring commitment and dedication to her students and community.
Sherry began her journey as a Communities In Schools® (CIS®) site coordinator nearly four years ago. “I have been in education for 16 years. I heard about Communities In Schools and I thought, hey, this is a different avenue, but similar to the avenue that I was in. I've been doing that now for almost four years, serving the needs of the students and their families,” said Sherry.
Sherry’s journey as a site coordinator at Bolivar Central High School has been, at times, challenging. The school is located in a rural community with a high poverty rate. “Resources are very limited. Just [meeting] the basic needs of life was a problem here,” explained Sherry, “but with Communities In Schools, we are able to help ease some of those needs.”
When you enter Sherry’s office, you’ll notice a sign that says, “Not all who wander are lost.” This is a phrase Sherry lives by. She repeats the phrase often to her students so they know that even though they may feel lost today there is hope for tomorrow and she is there with them every step of the way.
“[Sherry] listened to me and listened to what I had to say. She cared about everything I said. I wanna say thank you for helping me and looking out for me.” – Justin, CIS Alumnus
The work of a CIS site coordinator does not happen alone. Sherry’s overall vison for her school and students is everyone working together for the common goal, student success! Sherry implements her vision through building relationships with school faculty and community partners to address the needs of the school and students.
CIS site coordinators begin the school year by conducting a needs assessment to determine existing resources and gaps that need to be filled. Sherry’s assessment revealed a connection between the lack of basic needs assistances and students with higher chronic absenteeism rates. Using her community donor connections, Sherry was successful in getting a refrigerator and freezer donated so she could store healthier food options for students and families. Sherry also has a substantial hygiene and clothing closet for her students and families to provide them with basic needs items. Sherry’s school and community partners see the value in having CIS inside of their school and work closely with her to identify and alleviate barriers to student success.
“In my opinion, Sherry has made an impact tremendously because students now are coming to school, they're graduating, they're getting their work done. Her role and the work that she's doing is very important.” – Bethany Miller, Teacher, Special Education
When reviewing some data, Sherry noticed several female students were displaying behavior issues and their grades were starting to fall. So, she started an all-girls group called “Heads Up” where she helps students with social-emotional issues identify de-escalating techniques by working through real-world scenarios and outcomes.
One of Sherry’s students was struggling with her self-esteem her senior year. Sherry placed her in the Heads Up group where the student learned coping skills and strategies to improve self-esteem, alongside her peers. By spring, the student had made significant improvements and graduated with the self-confidence she needed to attend college in the fall.
“Since starting the [Heads Up] program, I've definitely seen a change in behavior. They're happy. They're happy about coming to school. I've seen them grow. They're learning to embrace themselves. That's so important to me.”
During the pandemic, Sherry's dedication to her students shined. She partnered with the University of Tennessee Extension office to obtain food boxes for her families and personally delivered them to families who could not meet at the drop-off time. Another barrier for students in rural communities during the pandemic was access to the internet. Sherry tirelessly copied work packets and delivered them to students with transportation barriers.
For some of her students, Mrs. Hoyle is that “one caring adult” in their life. “As I am a support to my students and my family, my support system is what has kept me on this journey. That's why I'm able to continue to give support to those wonderful babies that I serve and I'm glad to serve every day,” Sherry explained.
Thank you, Sherry, for showing what it means to be #AllinforKids! Watch Sherry's story below.