Social workers helping students excel in AISD classrooms

Over the years, Amarillo Independent School District has seen an influx of students who live in poverty, many refugees. Studies show when a child is food insecure and tired, they can't learn. That's why the district has employed social workers to make sure their students have basic necessities.

Sabre McLean was hired by AISD 12-years ago to work at San Jacinto and Margaret Wills Elementary when the principals at the time noticed they were spending a lot of time working on social issues with struggling families instead of educating their students.

"Amarillo has a lot of homeless families, families that sleep in cars, families that stay in shelters. And every night we have kiddos that are in those situations," said social worker, Sabre McLean.

In fact, more than 23% of Potter County families are living in poverty, that's according to the Census Bureau. A number that's growing along with the refugee population. Studies show when kids are food insecure, tired, and embarrassed over worn out clothes, they're not learning.

"When kids come in and they're dirty, they haven't had a good nights sleep and they're hungry. My job is to provide those services so they can be in their chair doing their job and learning," said McLean.

She works with the students and their families making sure they're fed, clothed, and getting help with basic needs. But the only dollars spent AISD is on these social workers salary, everything else is donation based.

"AISD does not need to be spending its money on things like this when the community has all of the resources so I can call a church or I can call people I've developed relationships with and they'll help me with what I need," said McLean.

She added that they're in need of school supplies and backpacks. You can drop off those donations at Margaret Wills Elementary during normal school hours.