Communities In Schools (CIS) is the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization, helping kids stay in school and prepare for life. In the 2010 – 2011 school year there were 181 local CIS affiliates and 14 state offices operating in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Almost 2,700 schools partner with Communities In Schools nationwide and nearly 1.26 million CIS students and families benefited from CIS services during the 2010 – 2011 school year.
CIS works inside school systems with superintendents, principals, educators, and other personnel, to forge community partnerships that bring resources into schools and help remove barriers to student learning.
CIS addresses both the total student—physical, psychological, and social needs—and the whole school environment. Our research has shown that this attention to the needs of individual students and the school is critical to reducing dropout rates and increasing graduation rates. The key is the CIS Model. Comprehensive and integrated services are provided in each participating school through a single point of contact—the school-based Site Coordinator. Site Coordinators tailor services to the needs of individual students. Services may encompass academic help, provision of health care, counseling, transportation, donated goods, mentoring, afterschool programs, and much more.
For 40 years, the CIS Model has proven to be a cost-effective model that district leaders recognize as a critical component of successful school turnaround.
Communities In Schools of Greenbrier County (CISGC) was established in January 2003 and began serving students in August 2004. CISGC is a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to helping at-risk and economically disadvantaged youth succeed in school and in life.
CISGC’s mission is “to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.” CISGC links educators with the community to bring local talents and resources into the schools and create a network of support that keeps kids in school and engaged in learning.
During the 2016-2017 school year, CISGC had seven staff consisting of five site coordinators, an afterschool program coordinator and a part-time case manager working in eight Greenbrier County schools: Alderson Elementary, Crichton Elementary, Rainelle Elementary, Ronceverte Elementary, White Sulphur Springs Elementary, Eastern Greenbrier Middle School, Western Greenbrier Middle School and Greenbrier East High School.
Governor Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice understand the significant impact CIS has made in the lives of Greenbrier County students and are committed to build upon the program’s success. With support from the Governor and the First Lady, the West Virginia Department of Education successfully secured funding to expand CIS throughout West Virginia. The improvement package will create additional CIS sites across the state.
Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, the CIS model has been expanded into select schools in Berkeley, McDowell, and Wyoming Counties. The CIS model will allow for comprehensive and integrated services to be provided to students through a single point of contact – the school-based site coordinator. School based site coordinators collaborate with community partners to meet the needs of students facing academic, behavioral, and social challenges. Research shows that attention to the needs of individual students and the school is critical to reducing dropout rates and increasing graduation rates. The partnerships that will be formed across schools and states with the National CIS offices will enable our students to receive the supports necessary to graduate high school.