A Proven Model of
Communities In Schools employs a service model proven by independent research to produce positive outcomes for at-risk youth and schools. The CIS Model pairs the provision of widely accessible prevention services and resources that are available to entire school populations with coordinated, targeted and sustained intervention services and resources for the subset of students who are most at risk of dropping out of school. At the school level, the CIS site coordinator works with school administrators to identify school and student needs, developing a plan of integrated whole-school and targeted services. The site coordinator oversees the delivery of services and ensures effectiveness by monitoring and adjusting services as needed.
1. Needs Assessment
Working with school leadership and staff, CIS site coordinators — who are based inside schools — prioritize the needs of the school, determine which supports need to be increased or improved and identify supports that the schools need but don’t currently have access to. In addition to the school needs assessment, site coordinators also identify students at risk of dropping out, assess what they need and then find the right supports to ensure they stay on track to graduate.
4. Monitoring and Adjusting
Once the site coordinator and their school support team have identified needs and put plans in place to address those needs, they continue to meet with students, families, teachers and providers to make sure that the supports they have selected are working. Setting goals with individual students and the school as a whole, they monitor progress and adjust supports accordingly. If they find out that a plan isn’t working as well as it could, they bring the right people back to the drawing board to adjust and create a plan that does.
Once the needs assessment is complete, the site coordinator meets with their school support team, made up of faculty and staff of their school, to put together a plan to address these needs–through school-wide, targeted group and individualized supports. They then collaborate with volunteers and other local providers to put these plans into action. They attach measurable goals to the plans and track progress against defined metrics to ensure they provide the best possible supports, producing positive results for schools and students.
Just as we monitor and adjust the supports we are providing on the ground, Communities In Schools® (CIS) also conducts evaluations of the entire CIS model – both at the school-wide and individual student level. Additionally, the CIS National Office engages in 3rd party evaluations of the network to ensure fidelity to the CIS model and positive impacts for the schools and the students they serve. These evaluations, some of the most rigorous conducted in the field of Integrated Student Supports, show that the Communities In Schools approach has proven to increase graduation rates, decrease dropout rates and improve student attendance, leading to brighter futures for the students we serve.
Many students and their families have a hard time accessing and navigating the maze of public and private services. There may be ample resources in a community, but rarely is there someone on the ground who is able to connect these resources with the schools and students that need them most.
Through our school-based coordinators, we bring community resources into the schools we serve to empower success for all students by removing barriers for students at risk of dropping out, keeping kids in schools and on the path to graduation by leveraging evidence, relationships and local resources to drive results.
Communities In Schools offers in-school mentoring and tutoring, supportive guidance to students and parents, school uniforms and supplies, referrals to community agencies and assistance with 'emergency' clothing for students at the elementary schools.
3. Integrated Student Supports
The Communities In Schools® site coordinator works with volunteers, partners and the local community to provide students with the supports they need to succeed both inside and outside the classroom.
We provide these supports in three different tiers. 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.
Tier 1: School-wide services
Tier 2: Targeted programs
Tier 3: Individualized support
6. Proven Success
Of students nationwide that receive targeted support from CIS programs for the 2016-2017 school year:
99% stayed in school
94% of were promoted to the next grade
93% of seniors graduated or received a GED
88% met or made progress toward their academic improvement goals
Every year, Communities In Schools® (CIS) affiliates report outcomes on everything from student promotion rates to volunteer hours. We use this information not only to demonstrate our effectiveness, but also to inform the way we do our work.