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Student, Family and Community Services

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This school district provides many programs and services to ensure that students succeed in school.  Some of these are nationally recognized initiatives such as Capturing Kids Hearts and SAT Readiness assistance while others are locally developed efforts including Futures for Kids, System of Care, and Second Chance Academy.  There are programs to help students catch up in academics, as well as help to accelerate students in their learning.  Many of these efforts are a collaboration with DPS partners, such as the school wellness centers that are a partnership with Duke.  There are social workers, behavior intervention and support specialists, and other specially trained staff members and resource staff who help students at every level.  Read about some of these programs here and contact the individuals listed for more information.

Resources for Crises

Community Conversations


  • Counseling Services are available to all students to address areas of personal, academic, and social difficulties as well as college preparation and career exploration. 
    Contact: Elementary Schools: Michelle Hedgepeth-Smith;
  • Personal Education Plans are developed by teachers who find that learning or behavioral issues are interfering with student learning in the classroom.  The plans outline specific strategies that should be implemented in the classroom in order to address areas of concern.  The success plan must be reviewed at regular intervals to determine whether the strategies are effective.
    Contact:  School Counselor
  • The Student Assistance Program is a school team whose purpose is to provide resources and supports for students that have been identified by teachers and/or parents as having problems that are interfering with the learning process.  The SAP process takes a step-by-step, organized approach to assessing, planning, implementing, and evaluating strategies to improve student performance.
    : Michelle Smith

Behavior Support


  • Futures for KidsFutures4Kids is an on-line portal that includes career exploration to guide high school coursework planning and selection.  Electronic 4-year plans are generated for 8th and updated by 9th grader.
    Contact:  Rick Sheldahl

Student and Family Assistance

  • School Social Workers serve as the link between school and home around issues that are impacting student achievement.   The primary focus of the social worker is to ensure that students who have excessive unexcused absences receive the support and follow-up that they need in order to come to school every day.
    Theresa McGowan
  • School Wellness Centers offer medical/physical and emotional well-being services at school-based wellness clinics through a partnership with Duke University Health System’s Lincoln Community Health Center.  The school sites are staffed by medical personnel who, with parental permission, see students to address medical and social/emotional issues that are interfering in the learning process.
    Contact: Rick Lemke
  • System of Care is an integrated network of community resources and services which supports collaboration among families, professionals, and the community.  The local system of care integrates the work of education, juvenile justice, health, mental health, child welfare, family court, other community organizations, and families form teams that share the responsibility to ensure that children and families have access to the services and supports they need.
    ContactMichelle Hedgepeth-Smith
  • Homeless Liaison Services are mandated to all students who meet the federal definitions of a homeless student under the McKinney-Vento Act.  Services are provided to ensure equal access to educational opportunities for students whose families are homeless or are in transitional living situations. 
    ContactJacqueline Love, 919-560-3927

Section 504 Inquiries

For inquiries regarding Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) contact: Michelle Hedgepeth-Smith, 560-3924

You may also visit the Section 504 Services page for more information.

High School Services

  • Freshman Academy is a transitional program for students in their first year of high school. These academies provide additional academic and social support and skill-building opportunities to students to ensure they establish a positive beginning to their high school career.
    :  High School Counselor
  • The PSAT Test is given to all sophomores and juniors in Durham Public Schools. This test not only provides students with a score report that outlines a specific study plan for the SAT, but it also is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship competition.
    Contact: Student Services Department at the high school
  • High School Completion Plan - High School Completion Plan for Durham: Dropout Prevention, Intervention, and Student Recovery is a comprehensive plan for ensuring all students complete high school.  The High School Completion Plan for Durham is organized into five focus areas: 

    (1) Student Trends & Dropout Prevention,
    (2) Instructional Reform,
    (3) Student Support Initiatives,
    (4) Parental & Community Leadership, and
    (5) Data Quality. 

    Each focus area includes strategies to address specific barriers to high school completion.  The strategies include specific action steps, person(s) responsible, timeline, evaluation methods, and resources needed.
  • High School and Beyond Plans – Counselors and Career Development Coordinators work with high school seniors to ensure every student graduates with a clear plan beyond high school.  School counselors and Career Development Coordinators ensure that seniors have mapped out and implemented all the necessary steps to fulfill the student’s plan beyond high school.