CIS Recognized by
Time Magazine

In Time magazine’s annual National Service Issue, Communities In Schools was mentioned as one of four national organizations to get involved with to help improve public education.

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Annual Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Communities in Schools MSNBC "Morning Joe"

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COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS FAQ'S

What is Communities In Schools?
Why is Communities In Schools needed?
What makes Communities In Schools the “leading” organization in its field?
How have Communities In Schools programs helped Georgia communities?
What are some specific outcomes of Communities In Schools sponsored activities?
How and where did Communities In Schools get started?
How do I get involved with Communities In Schools programs as a donor or volunteer?
How do I find out about Communities In Schools programs and services in my area?
How do I get Communities In Schools publications?
How do I develop Communities In Schools programs for my area if services aren’t already available?
What are the start-up costs involved in developing a Communities In Schools program?
How is Communities In Schools funded?
Why does Communities In Schools require 60% of its board members to be from the private sector?
Does Communities In Schools offer programs for adult learners?
Some Communities In Schools programs have Charter status.  What does that mean?
What is the purpose of the Communities In Schools state office?  Does the Communities In Schools state office compete with local Communities In Schools offices for funding?

What is Communities In Schools?

Communities In Schools is the nation’s leading community-based organization helping kids succeed in school and prepare for life.  CIS began in Atlanta and now serves over 1 million young people with programs and activities in 27 states and the District of Columbia.  For over 30 years we have been widely known for our dropout prevention programs, but we’re much more.  In Georgia, 50 Communities In Schools sites increase attendance and graduation rate of thousands of students yearly.  Our organization bases success on our ability to build strong local community partnerships with school administrators, regulatory agencies, businesses and other youth-oriented organizations.  Our local CIS sites tailor programs and activities to meet the specific needs of its community and schools.  Types of programs include Performance Learning Centers®, mentoring, parent education, technology training, literacy initiatives and youth leadership development.  For information on our national office and other CIS programs, visit the national website.

Why is Communities In Schools needed?

Everyday, many students face educational hurdles that come from outside the classroom.  Hunger, poverty, family crises, low self-esteem, medical problems, violence, alcohol, and drugs negatively affect a child’s chances of being successful in school and in life.  Communities In Schools takes a community development approach to supporting kids by unifying the full resources of the community around children, families, teachers and schools as a support system to address these educational hurdles.  Communities In Schools works at building relationships, locally and statewide – because the impact of all groups linked to the schools can achieve the positive results in kids and families we all seek.

What makes Communities In Schools the “leading” organization in its field?

We are not aware of another organization with a similar mission (helping young people successfully learn, stay in school and prepare for life) that reaches such a large number of students, schools and communities, and has an equivalent history of experience and success.

How have Communities In Schools programs helped Georgia communities?

In 45 Georgia communities, Communities In Schools has helped nearly 100,000 students succeed in school and prepare for life.  Activities such as mentoring, tutoring, reading programs, job skills development, technology training, leadership training and parent involvement have helped kids stay in school, pass to the next grade and graduate with marketable skills.

What are some specific outcomes of Communities In Schools sponsored activities?

Learn more about our Special Events

When and where did Communities In Schools get started?

The earliest form of Communities In Schools began in the 1960′s with storefront schools in New York City to give school dropouts a second chance to earn a high school diploma and go on to college.  In 1968, these “street academies” which combined personal support to students with a strong alternative educational program, received funding from the U.S. Postal Service and opened in six cities across the country.  In 1973, the Atlanta program, then known as Exodus, Inc., became the dropout prevention model that was studied, refined, and replicated across the country under the name Cities In Schools, now known as Communities In Schools (CIS).  The CIS national office moved to Washington, D.C. in 1983 and the Communities In Schools of Georgia state office officially incorporated in 1989.  Now the national network has expanded into 27 states and the District of Columbia, serving over 1 million young people annually.

How do I get involved with Communities In Schools programs as a donor or volunteer?

To get involved with Communities In Schools as a volunteer, contact your local Communities In Schools program.  To make a donation to Communities In Schools of Georgia, click here or call 1-800-888-5784.

How do I find out about Communities In Schools programs and services in my area?

To find out about Communities In Schools programs in your area click here, or call 404-897-2974.

How do I get Communities In Schools publications?

To receive CIS marketing materials, click here or call 404-897-2391.

How do I develop Communities In Schools programs for my area if services aren’t already available?

To develop a Communities In Schools program in your area, please contact the Community Development at the Communities In Schools state office at dbrown@cisgeorgia.org or call 404-897-2974.

What are the start-up costs involved in developing a Communities In Schools program?

  • Under a comprehensive approach, there are minimum costs to individual communities to implement CIS.
  • A community’s investment in establishing a local CIS initiative consists of identifying available resources, determining local needs, developing a plan, coordinating with local boards of education, hiring an executive director and support staff, raising funds to match CIS grants for start-up and support, and tracking and reporting on students served.
  • The cost to a community of sustaining a CIS collaboration varies from minimal to modest.  Many local CIS operations begin – and maintain – their staffing levels with a single executive director and an administrative assistant.  Salaries and benefits vary depending on community standards; office rent and supplies may often be in-kind contributions; typical budgets also include travel, insurance and other miscellaneous costs.  Larger CIS operations may require more staff and in some CIS programs staff is assigned to each school served.  On average, for every $100 donated to CIS, $90 goes directly to programs and services.

 

How is Communities In Schools funded?

Communities In Schools, Inc., a national 501(c)3, is privately and publicly funded through a variety of corporate, foundation and federal grants.  Communities In Schools of Georgia, similarly is funded through a variety of state, federal, corporate and foundation grants.  On the local level, Communities In Schools sites receive funding from the CIS state office, local private sector support and various state, federal, and foundation grants.  Ensuring ongoing financial support for the CIS partnership should be addressed openly by community collaborators prior to CIS implementation in order to not compete for funding directed towards local service providers.

Why does Communities In Schools require 60% of its board members to be from the private sector?

Private sector resources are the key to sustaining Communities In Schools programs that help kids succeed in school and prepare for life. Therefore, even though all segments of the community are represented on a local Board of Directors (educators, social service professionals, parents and representatives from faith-based organizations), a majority of private sector representatives are needed to create and sustain the link between local businesses and schools so that all kids can succeed.

Does Communities In Schools offer programs for adult learners?

Communities In Schools operates Parental Information and Resource Centers.  Through these centers, parents of pre-school and school aged children can receive services.  Some CIS programs provide adult literacy services.

Some Communities In Schools programs have Charter status.  What does that mean?

Communities In Schools sites go through four programmatic developmental stages, culminating in chartered status.  A CIS site begins in the planning stage, which usually takes one year for a task force to identify problems, and assess and prioritize community needs.  After the planning stage, a site moves into the implementation stage and a Board of Directors is put into place and an Executive Director is hired to begin programming.  Following eight logistical steps, a site is then moved into the operational phase to fully begin serving students.  A CIS site is then ready for charter review, which requires a rigorous accreditation process.    Five different key operational areas are examined carefully by a state and national CIS team during the review for chartering.  Chartered sites are more sustainable because they are institutionalized and not built around any one individual.  A chartered site receives first preference for pass-through funds from both the State and National office.

What is the purpose of the Communities In Schools state office?  Does the Communities In Schools state office compete with local Communities In Schools offices for funding?

The Communities In Schools state office works to begin new CIS programs and also provides training and technical assistance for the 50 local Communities In Schools sites currently operating in Georgia.  The state office also coordinates certain multi-county/statewide programs.  For a list and description of those programs, click here. The CIS state office does not compete with local Communities In Schools offices for funding.  Funding for the state office comes from national foundation grants, as well as state and federal sources.

PERFORMANCE LEARNING CENTERS FAQ'S

 

What is a Performance Learning Center (PLC)?

The Performance Learning Center is a small, non-traditional high school geared toward students who are not succeeding in a traditional school setting.  The PLC creates a business-like learning environment where students complete assignments using online, computer-based curriculum with the assistance of learning facilitators.  The PLC also utilizes project-based learning, service learning, job shadowing, internships, mentoring and dual enrollment with technical and four-year colleges.  The PLC can be located in off-campus or detached centers or within an existing school.  The PLC is a small school model and generally has 75-150 students.

Why were the PLCs created?

According to the Georgia Department of Education, each year in Georgia the 12th grade class is approximately 40% smaller than the 9th grade class four years earlier.  Georgia has one of the highest dropout rates in the country.  The PLCs were created to help reduce this dropout rate by reaching those students in the dropout pipeline.  The PLCs use the Communities In Schools philosophy to build a caring learning environment where students are challenged to meet their social and academic goals.  The environment allows students ample opportunity to graduate and emerge with certifiable employment skills.

Who do the PLCs serve?

The PLCs serve high school students who are not succeeding in a traditional school setting.  Students referred to the PLC typically experience poor academic achievement, are chronically late to or absent from school and are at high risk of dropping out of school.

Where are the PLCs located?

There are 29 PLCs in Georgia.  Click here for more information.

How does a student enroll in a PLC?

School administrators and parents submit referrals to the PLC student selection committee along with students’ transcripts.  The student must successfully complete an interview process, take a Basic Achievement Skills Inventory (BASI) assessment and students and parents must sign a contract detailing their obligations before being admitted.

What are the benefits of a PLC?

All students assigned to the PLC have an opportunity to catch up academically or move ahead at their own pace.  Students also benefit from technical training, internships, project-based learning, service learning and job shadowing experiences.  Eligible students can apply for dual enrollment with technical or four-year colleges.

Is the PLC part of the regular public school system?

Yes.  The PLCs enroll students who are referred from the regular public school system.  Students have the option of graduating with their original high school class if they meet all requirements on time or graduating with the PLC students.

How long does it take to graduate from a PLC?

The time it takes to graduate from a PLC depends on the number of credits a student needs.  A seat-time waiver from the Department of Education allows students to work at their own pace, first making up classes they’ve failed before moving on to additional coursework.  The PLCs offer credit-deficient students a way to obtain credits without losing additional time.

Do PLC students adhere to the same academic and graduating requirements expected of all Georgia high school students?

Yes.  Students must take the same required classes and successfully pass the same end of year course tests in order to graduate.

What type of online curriculum does the PLC use?

NovaNET, an online courseware system from Pearson Education Technologies, serves as the PLC’s curriculum.  The interactive curriculum is aligned to Georgia’s Quality Core Curriculum (QCCs).  Online communication tools allow users to have real time conversations with any learner in the NovaNET community.

How do PLC students progress through the coursework?

Students must attain 80% accuracy on course work before advancing.

How many teachers and administrators does the PLC have?

The PLCs have a 1 to 15 teacher-student ratio.  The five teachers are referred to as learning facilitators, and the principal is referred to as the academic coordinator.  Additionally, there is a CIS services coordinator who works with parents, handles non-instructional issues facing students and provides information to the community.

Does the PLC offer electives and extracurricular activities?

Because most of the students who attend the PLC are behind in credits, only some electives and extracurricular activities are offered.

Does the PLC incorporate project-based learning and service learning into its curriculum?

Yes.  Students are required to participate in project-based learning and/or service learning.  Project-based learning helps students develop research and writing skills, become familiar with technology and collaborate with peers during presentations.  Service learning engages students by enriching their academic skills as they help others and give back to their communities.  The project-based learning and service learning projects help students to develop leadership skills.

Why do students participate in job shadowing, internships and dual enrollment at the PLC?

Participating in job shadowing, internships, and dual enrollment helps students become productive and successful adults and gain valuable work and college experience.

Why are PLC students required to participate in the morning motivation and complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP)?

Morning motivation is a daily session designed to establish, maintain and nurture a positive safe environment for PLC students to learn, grow and experience success.  Students have the opportunity to lead daily discussions and activities that build applicable presentation and life skills.

With the assistance of a staff member, the IDP helps students begin thinking about their career and life goals.  Each student develops an individualized plan based on their needs and interests that includes academic, career and personal goals.

Are there opportunities for mentoring at the PLC?

Yes.  Each student needs a mentor from the community.  Together they work on career development and other areas of interest.

What type of support does the local school district provide to the PLC?

The school district provides the PLC with a building, instructors and some capital.

What type of support does Communities In Schools provide to the PLC?

Communities In Schools provides additional capital, computers and other equipment, technical support, ongoing training and a services coordinator who helps with non-academic issues that may affect a student’s ability to learn.

What is the relationship between Communities In Schools and the PLC?

The Performance Learning Center is one of Communities In Schools’ key programs.  The PLC initiative exemplifies the CIS philosophy that every child deserves five basics: a personal, one-on-one relationship with a caring adult; a safe place to learn and grow; a healthy start and a healthy future; a marketable skill to use upon graduation; and a chance to give back to peers and the community.

Other key CIS programs in Georgia include mentoring, parent education, literacy, technology and youth leadership.

How is the PLC initiative funded?

Communities In Schools of Georgia (CISGA) received a $6.3 million grant to be disbursed over a five year period from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for PLC expansion throughout Georgia. The grant requires matching funds and CISGA continues to seek donors.  The total PLC five-year initiative will cost $9.7 million.  The Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation in Atlanta was among the first to provide PLC funding.