Friday, October 31, 2014

CIS is growing all over the country!

Communities In Schools has just released this Fall 2014 infographic showing some of the growth in CIS across the country. The projected network growth includes 80,700 students, 28 communities, 31 school districts and 137 schools, including our new program at East Coweta High School.

According to the national CIS office, "The expansion comes as school districts across the country are seeking out community partners to help provide critical services to meet the needs of kids most at risk of dropping out."

CIS is the nation’s largest and most effective organization dedicated to keeping kids in school and helping them succeed in life by partnering with local businesses, social service agencies, health care providers and volunteers. Whether it’s food, school supplies, health care, counseling, academic assistance or a positive role model, Communities In Schools is there to help.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

CIS represented at Nonprofit Board Training

Executive Director Gina Weathersby of CIS of Coweta County was among those attending yesterday's Nonprofit Board Training at the Newnan Centre. The event was hosted by the Newnan-Coweta Chamber, the Coweta Community Foundation and the Fayette Chamber of Commerce. Here, Gina visits with a friend and fellow attendee, Linda Kirkpatrick of Family Patterns Matter. Leading the Nonprofit Board Training was Robert Harris, a nationally recognized speaker and an expert on boards of directors and association management. Harris talked about the importance of serving on a board as well as the duties and leadership roles of board members.

Friday, October 24, 2014

All across the country, CIS is changing lives

CIS programs around the country regularly report their success stories on the national CIS website, and we enjoy learning about these accomplishments while we continue to grow our own program here in Coweta. This week, a Kansas student named Tres’Rionna Whitlock shared her story.

When she was 14, Tres’Rionna was diagnosed with a genetic eye disease that progressed to the point where she was considered legally blind by age 16.

"It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I met Mrs. Ahmad, a site coordinator from Communities In Schools of Wichita,” Tres’Rionna told CIS. "Mrs. Ahmad, along with my school nurse, administrators, social worker, counselor and my mom set up a plan for my teachers so that they could accommodate me. My teachers were to print out my notes, assignments, and tests in large font, give me extra time to complete homework and tests, limited computer work, assistance while doing computer work, and shorten my math assignments.”

Mrs. Ahmad also helped Tres’Rionna and her mother get health insurance, and this past summer Tres'Rionna was able to get a corneal transplant that has made her vision much better. Now her grades have improved and she’s on the path to graduation in 2015. If you’d like to read more about this terrific young lady and how she was helped by CIS, go here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CIS on National Bullying Prevention Month

Communities In Schools' national president, Dan Cardinali, recently interviewed Julie Hertzog, founder of National Bullying Prevention Month. Here are some things we learned from that interview:

• National Bullying Prevention Month is held in October because organizers wanted it to occur early in the school year but after things settled down from the beginning of the new school year.

• From its beginnings in 2006, National Bullying Prevention Month has had national partners including the National PTA and the National Education Association.

• The number one question the group gets is “How can I help?” Hertzog said volunteers can do anything from signing a digital petition to joining one of the bullying prevention events around the country. To read the entire interview with Hertzog, click here.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Our Executive Director featured at Chamber event!

You may be aware that CIS of Coweta County's Executive Director, Gina Weathersby, is a great leader, but did you know she sings as well? On Thursday, October 16, 2014, Gina sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" and led the crowd in singing "America" at the Newnan-Coweta Chamber's Political HobNob.

The 2014 Political HobNob, held at the Newnan Centre, was an opportunity for businesses, citizens, and the candidates to mix and mingle and discuss the issues prior to the November 4 election.

Introducing Gina, and pictured at left above, was Dennis McEntire, General Manager of Newnan Utilities and CIS of Coweta County Board Chairman.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How to tell if your child is being bullied

CIS of Georgia has published a new fact sheet listing the signs that a child is being bullied. Some of these signs include:

• Unexplained injuries
• Changes in eating habits, such as suddenly skipping meals or binge eating
• Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
• Declining grades
• Loss of friends

To learn more about the signs of bullying, including signs that a child is bullying others, click here.

Friday, October 10, 2014

How to stop cyberbullying

You’ve probably heard of cyberbullying by now. Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using technology such as cellphones, computers and tablets, often over social media sites, text messages, chat sites and websites.

According to, a resource recommended by Communities In Schools, kids who are victims of cyberbullying are more likely to use alcohol and drugs, skip school, experience in-person bullying, be unwilling to attend school, receive poor grades, have low self-esteem and have more health problems.

How can parents and kids prevent cyberbullying? Here are some tips:

• Know the sites your kids visit and what they are doing online. 

• Tell your kids that you may review their online activities if you have a reason for concern.

• Learn about the sites they visit and the devices they are using.

For more information on cyberbullying, including what it is, how to prevent it, and how to report it, visit

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hispanic and black dropout rates at record lows

Have you heard the good news? According to the Pew Research Center, more of our high school students here in the U.S. are staying in school! New information from the Census Bureau shows that in 2013, just 7 percent of those 18-24 had dropped out of high school, compared to 2000 when 12 percent of this group were dropouts.

According to Pew, "The decline in the national dropout rate has been driven, in part, by substantially fewer Hispanic and black youth dropping out of school (the non-Hispanic white dropout rate has not fallen as sharply)."

Pew reported the dropout rate for Hispanics was a record low of 14 percent in 2013, and the dropout rate for black youth was at a record low of 8 percent. The dropout rate for non-Hispanic whites was 5 percent, and for Asian youth it was 4 percent.

To read more of the Pew Research Center's findings, click here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Impact of Absenteeism

CIS National President Dan Cardinali recently sat down with Hedy Chang of Attendance Works, a national and state initiative that promotes better policy and practice regarding school attendance. 

When Cardinali asked Chang what message she would convey to CIS' 2,000-plus Site Coordinators, she said, "When I reflect upon everything I know about reducing chronic absence, I think the two most essential ingredients for improving attendance are data and caring relationships. This understanding, drawn from what we see working across the country, is reflected in our newest toolkit, The Power of Positive Connections. It shares how schools and community partners can use absenteeism records from past years and from the first month of school to connect the most at-risk students to personal relationships and positive supports that motivate them to show up to class every day. It is a step-by-step guide to what we know works—reducing chronic absence through PEOPLE (Priority Early Outreach through Positive Linkages and Engagement). I hope all site coordinators will leverage this resource. I am thrilled by the growing partnership with Communities In Schools and the potential it offers for us to combine our respective assets, resources and knowledge to ensure children throughout the United States are in school."

Here are some of the findings from the group's key research:

• Nationally, an estimated 1 in 10 kindergarten and first grade students are chronically absent.

• Results from a sample of states suggest that an estimated 10-15 percent of students in the U.S. are chronically absent each year.

• A 2011 study of elementary school absenteeism found that schools may fail to detect high chronic absences because they are masked by average daily attendance, a common attendance measure.

A number of studies and resources on absenteeism are available on the Attendance Works website. To check them out for yourself, click here.