Helping all students succeed builds stronger, healthier and more economically stable communities where every person is capable of reaching their greatest potential.
Many of the young people we serve are facing challenges both inside and outside the classroom. What sets Communities In Schools (CIS) apart is the way we coordinate a comprehensive range of services to support all the needs of these students—academic and non-academic—so they come to school ready to learn.
CIS provides in-school/virtual supports and connects students and families to the community-based resources they need. Our school-based staff, known as site coordinators, bring resources, services, families, and volunteers inside the school to create a community of caring adults who work hand-in-hand with educators to make sure young people have the tools they need to attend school regularly and remain on track to graduation.
Integrated Student Supports
Working to meet the needs of the whole child
CIS’ Integrated Student Supports Model is a school-based approach to develop academic success by tackling academic and non-academic barriers. Support is provided by our site coordinators who assess a student’s needs, and then provides direct services and/or makes referrals to community partners to ensure a student has everything they need to succeed in and out of the classroom.
We provide these supports in three different tiers.
Services available to all students.
Ex: Career Day, Health Fair
Small peer groups
Targeted services which can be provided in a group setting to students with a common need.
Ex: Healthy Relationships Girls Group, Anger Management Group
Providing case management to targeted students.
Ex: Counseling Services, Basic Needs Provision
By differentiating our supports, we are able to serve most students in a school and also focus attention on targeted students that have significant needs.
Within each of these tiers, CIS site coordinators provide services unique to the community in which they serve and can include the following:
Our site coordinators work hard to ensure that students have the resources they need to progress academically. From providing students with virtual learning support, credit recovery assistance, to finding tutors and creating quiet spaces where students can study, we do whatever it takes to create an optimal learning environment for our students.
What can seem like small obstacles can easily lead students off track. That’s why ensuring students have access to basic needs is so important. A student cannot focus in the classroom if they are hungry, cold or tired, or cannot see the board. Our site coordinators connect students and their families to local service agencies to meet basic needs involving food, clothing, housing, transportation, employment, rent and utility assistance, as well as referrals for crisis intervention, medical, dental, and mental health issues. Most important, we ensure that home is a healthy nurturing environment where students always feel safe.
Many of our students face and overcome difficult obstacles in their lives. However, their survival skills aren’t always effective in the classroom or the workplace. Our program teaches students positive ways to cope with anger, conflict resolution and other strategies to keep them focused on school. From one-on-one coaching to guest speakers and roleplaying exercises, our hands-on approach helps student recognize patterns of behavior, break the cycle and see tangible improvements.
College & Career Preparation
Both higher education and the modern workplace are evolving rapidly, and with this shift come new opportunities, greater competition, more complex skill sets, and job titles that didn’t exist a few years ago. It’s a lot to process, especially for students already dealing with their own unique challenges. For students pursuing college, we help decipher the application process, explore scholarship opportunities, tour campuses and conduct mock interviews. For those planning to enter the work force, we help students discover enjoyable, sustainable career paths and connect them to internships and job shadowing opportunities. For those undecided, our site coordinators provide a safe sounding board to articulate goals and fears, and explore options. Many of our kids have a limited frame of reference of what their careers can be, so an important part of our job is making them aware of the possibilities and encouraging them to “dream big”. From there, we help them understand and meet the requirements to ultimately achieve their goals.
Community & Service Learning
Students served by CIS not only get the help they need to succeed in the classroom, but they also gain valuable experience in the real world by participating in public service activities. We encourage and provide students with many opportunities to connect more with their local community – from volunteer jobs, mentoring programs and outreach efforts, students can experience for themselves the value they can both bring to, and receive from, community involvement.
After school and summer programs give students experiences that can help prepare them for life after high school. Our site coordinators work hard to find and create programs that combine education with fun, hands-on experiences. These programs are particularly valuable to students whose families don’t have access to resources, as after school time and summer breaks are often when students are most distracted and adversely affected by home life. Our programs include field trips, community services programs, guest speakers and more.
We know that greater parental involvement in a student’s life promotes greater student success. But parents and guardians often face their own obstacles. Language barriers, busy work schedules, and other family obligations can keep caregivers from getting involved in their child’s student life. CIS sees family engagement as a crucial element to our success, and work to remove barriers that prevent caregivers from staying central in their child’s education. CIS helps support a healthy school environment where students and families feel safe and welcome. Our site coordinators are advocates for all families and check in with families often to keep them updated on their students' progress. They’ve worked with teachers to offer community-based parent teacher nights so more parents could attend and have sponsored family nights and parent support groups to help parents stay involved.
Life/social skills cover a broad range of topics – including personal health and hygiene, money management, digital footprint best practices, character development, and other essential skills such as how to study, how to manage time, and even how to set and achieve goals. Site coordinators teach students how to work together with others, interact with authority figures and manage anger and other emotions. Mastering life skills helps students engage more effectively with others, resolve issues diplomatically and understand the importance of compromise, patience, and other social values.
Despite the advancements in modern medicine, many kids in America continue to face a number of serious, chronic, health-related issues. Asthma, obesity and poor dental health are just a few. Add to this poor nutrition, plus lack of regular exercise, and it becomes clear how physical health can be a barrier to success. Communities In Schools is committed to promoting good nutrition, physical activity, access to health services and a healthy school environment. We offer a variety of after school and summer programs to encourage physical activity, healthy eating and time outdoors. We believe healthy minds and bodies are the vehicles for our students’ success.
Professional Mental Health
Some students face emotional, behavioral and mental health challenges, either directly themselves or in their immediate family. Our site coordinators are trained to help identity and reach out to kids and families who may need support services. We work with our partner schools, as well as community organizations, to provide the best resources and referrals available to our students and families. Our commitment is to treat every child with dignity and respect, and ensure they receive the services and support they need to be their best.
Social Emotional Growth
We provide or connect students to individual counseling and facilitate small support groups to help them manage their emotions and interactions with peers; addressing issues such as grief and loss, depression, low self-esteem, anger management, and anxiety.
CIS helped get my son to school when he kept refusing. CIS went the extra mile to come get him and talk to him. They brought us food and helped support the children when their grandmother and I were in the hospital.
– the Riley family