The Community Resource Center fosters ‘a big family’


Jay Deegan

The Community Resource Center, Room 38, offers students a place to build community.

Jay Deegan, Editorial Editor

Naperville District 203 is on a mission to change what an in-school suspension looks like, and hopes to form a new, tight-knit community in the process. The Community Resource Center (CRC) is at the heart of this goal.

The CRC is led by two Student Advocacy Specialists, Rebecca Moss and Ryan Crawford. Moss was formerly the department chair of Special Education at Thornton Fractional North High School. In 2016, she was a student teacher at Central. Crawford formerly worked as a Student Services coordinator in the district.

A major segment of the CRC is offering optional student groups during lunch periods. Students can come in and partake in community building exercises. During these exercises, students work to share their thoughts, opinions and feelings with each other and build a greater sense of community at school.

In-school suspensions formerly involved a student spending all day in a room. The CRC has replaced that disciplinary measure.

“If [a suspension] were to happen, they work with one of us student advocates, and use that opportunity to learn skills or to learn from the mistakes that led them to being suspended,” Crawford said. “That’s one purpose of the Community Resource Center, to mirror the shift in behavioral discipline practice.”

The CRC transformed a PE classroom into a place for students to experience a welcoming environment. Included in the transformation was the addition of couches, a gaming system, a putting green and a basketball arcade game.

“We’ve seen students who were assigned here by their deans for disciplinary reasons, and they end up coming back on their own the next day because this is a warm and positive environment,” Crawford said. “They choose to come back because of the relationships that they build with us, and the other students that are in this room through our community building.”

The CRC has offered the opportunity to students for them to build relationships outside of the traditional classroom. 

“We notice students interacting with each other, who might not have necessarily spoken to each other outside of the CRC,” Moss said. “Seeing the foundation of new relationships being started with students who don’t share the same identities has been really cool to see come to life.”

The CRC fosters “a big family,” freshman Keegan Bain said.