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ATeams set to tackle two issues

Community leaders in a regional effort have figured their first big tasks to address. Harrison County Community Foundation president and CEO Steve Gilliland told the Harrison County Board of Commissioners and Harrison County Council Align Southern Indiana has its first two issues to tackle, one to address pre-kindergarten and the other to combat addiction.
The issues are being addressed by alignment teams, or ATeams. The two teams were trained in April with 34 people going through the training, according to Align Southern Indiana.
Pam Bennett Martin is the treasurer of the Align Southern Indiana board, while Gilliland and Lisa Long are two other Harrison County members on the board.
‘This is a collaborative between Clark, Floyd, Harrison, Washington and Scott County to try to identify some problems and work together to take care of those,’ Gilliland said to the commissioners during one of their meetings this month.
The education team, which is called the Kindergarten Readiness team, is working to establish region-wide kindergarten standards. The team, which was expected to meet in May, will look to establish a plan to get all children kindergarten ready, thanks to proper pre-K programs, while eliminating problems that keep students from getting prepared for grade school.
‘Every superintendent is grabbling with the issue of students entering kindergarten who are behind,’ Dr. Lance Richards, superintendent of the North Harrison Community School Corp., said in a release from Align Southern Indiana. ‘This ATeam will help focus efforts on the ‘why’ and how those root causes may be confronted and ultimately eliminated. We are looking to build bridges between home, community and schools.’
Align Southern Indiana hopes to see a tactical plan from the education team in the next several months, and, roughly 12 months from now a pilot tactical approach to identify the source of what keeps children under-prepared for kindergarten.
‘I am excited to see how we can positively impact our students’ success in kindergarten by this initiative,’ Wendy Erwin, the preschool director for the South Harrison Community School Corp., said in the same release.
According to Align Southern Indiana, it could take several years to see all children kindergarten-ready, but the organization and the teams are committed to the work for the long haul.
The other alignment team is called the Addiction Prevention team, which will focus on the prevention of addictive behaviors.
‘I am happy to see that we will be giving our attention to the prevention aspect of addiction,’ Leslie Robertson, a member of the Harrison County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, said in the ASI release. ‘Our goal will be that individuals never start negative behaviors.’
Harrison County Health Dept. administrator Tony Combs said earlier this month the county had nine deaths in 2017 that were due to opioid overdoses.