Monday, December 29, 2014

How CIS changed the picture of education in 2014

This is the time of year when many organizations take a look back at their performance over the previous 12 months. According to the national CIS blog, pictured above, CIS accomplishments this year included "a new branding campaign that featured the stories of our students who, with our help, overcame significant obstacles to stay in school and succeed in life." Some students simply needed a caring adult in their life, while for others it was a practical need such as a trip to the eye doctor or dentist.

Even the White House took note of CIS efforts, not once but twice. CIS students joined President Obama to launch the My Brother's Keeper Initiative, and later in the year other CIS students were invited to an event with Vice President Biden.

"Beyond the individual success stories from CIS students and site coordinators, the media also gave increased attention to our broader policy message this year," according to the national CIS blog. "The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, US News and World Report, MSNBC, National Journal and NBC News all ran stories making the point that when you surround children with a community of support you can get kids to class, give them the tools they need, help them achieve, protect them from harsh discipline policies, help them after school, ensure they have a safe place to stay and improve their communities." To learn more about the 2014 results CIS experienced all across the country, click here.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Electronic games, apps can help kids learn

You know all those computers, tablets and electronic games the kids got for Christmas? According to CIS of Georgia, game-based learning is a growing trend in education circles, and a number of free online games are available which will allow students to have fun while also increasing their technology skills. 

Companies such as GameDesk provide free educational games for students, games that let them apply concepts learned in the classroom and further develop their understanding of a subject.

There are also many mobile applications (or apps) that can help students, parents and educators stay organized, informed and on-task. Some of these free apps include Remind, which allows teachers, students and parents to safely text one another with homework and test reminders; Evernote, a note-taking app which is perfect for research projects; and StudyBlue, an app which lets students create flashcards to help them study. To learn more about the computer games and apps that can help students succeed, visit CIS of Georgia's Parent Resource Center by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

CIS Board Chairman Elaine Wynn featured in Forbes

Forbes magazine has released its third annual Forbes Philanthropy issue, and among the philanthropists recognized is national CIS Board Chair Elaine Wynn, director of Wynn Resorts, pictured above fourth from right.

Wynn, one of America’s six top education philanthropists featured in the issue, was asked to share her thoughts on education success. Wynn writes, “Unfortunately we have an education system that sustains poverty. Children who come from well-to-do families have many more advantages when it comes to education. They can opt out to go to private schools, or if they’re in public schools, they’re in neighborhoods where parents demand better-quality facilities and better teachers. There’s a huge discrepancy between haves and have-nots and the correct distribution of resources. We tend to perpetuate poverty because we can’t seem to have an impact on changing that distribution.”

To read more about the special Philanthropy issue of Forbes and what these leaders have to say about education, click here.

Friday, December 19, 2014

CIS receives Christmas donation from Keller Williams

This Christmas will be much brighter for the families of four CIS of Coweta County students thanks to a generous gift from Keller Williams Realty. The four students were selected to receive $75 gift cards as part of The Keller Williams Kares 4 Kids program, which since 2005 has donated over $525,000 directly to children in need and to children’s charity organizations, social services organizations and health care facilities in communities served by Keller Williams.

Mary Ann Dossett Shelton, Team Leader of Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners Newnan, said, “This is our last program of the year and we thought it would be a great idea to help some of our deserving children have a Merry Christmas.”

As part of its local Christmas effort, Keller Williams donated 40 gift cards in the amount of $75 to be given to students selected by Coweta County Schools officials.

Communities In Schools of Coweta County was one of the organizations selected. Denise Buchanan, the CIS Site Coordinator at East Coweta High School, has already identified four students to receive the gift cards. Above, Denise, third from right, accepts the donation from Keller Williams at their Newnan Crossing Bypass office.

“This will really make a big difference to these students and their families,” Buchanan said. “We are grateful to Keller Williams for their support."

“We are glad we could help,” Mary Ann Shelton said. “This is our community and these are our students and we hope we have done a small part to make their Christmas a little better.”

Monday, December 15, 2014

What is "The CIS Model"?

Anyone who decides to get involved with CIS will soon come across the term "The CIS Model." So just what is the CIS Model? According to the national CIS organization, our unique model is an evidence-based approach, adapted to meet each community's unique needs, and it's the basis for the success of CIS.

Important features of our model include:

The site coordinator, who fills a pivotal role as the point of contact inside the school. The site coordinator connects students and families with community partners and resources. Both academic and nonacademic needs may be addressed.

A collaborative effort, which involves relationships with local businesses, social service agencies, health care providers and volunteers.

Integrated services, which means the site coordinator works with volunteers, partners and the community to provide students with the tools they need to succeed both in and out of the classroom.

Proven success is also important to the CIS model. Each year, CIS affiliates report outcomes so they can monitor and adjust services to effectively deliver the human, financial and community resources to help children succeed.

To learn more about the CIS model, click here for a tour.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Five-year study shows positive results for CIS schools

Communities In Schools takes pride in achieving results with its efforts to lower the dropout rate and increase the graduation rate. A five-year national evaluation of CIS was conducted to determine whether CIS actually has an impact on student-level and school-level outcomes. Among the findings:

• CIS schools demonstrated positive effects on both dropout and graduation relative to their non-CIS comparison schools.

• CIS schools experienced small but consistent improvements in performance on state-mandated assessments for math compared to non-CIS schools. Schools that fully implemented the CIS model experienced greater improvements in both math and reading.

• CIS schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels consistently reported positive improvements in attendance.

The study also found that "Communities In Schools is unique in its ability to lower dropout rates and increase on-time graduation compared to other dropout prevention programs." If you'd like to download a PDF copy of the full report and learn more about how CIS is making a difference, click here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

CIS leadership giving back to community

You may be aware that our CIS leadership does a great job of partnering with the community to help students succeed in school. What you may not be aware of is that they are also great at giving back to the community! Last week, East Coweta High School Site Coordinator Denise Buchanan and CIS of Coweta County Executive Director Gina Weathersby volunteered to sing Christmas carols at the Newnan-Coweta Chamber's Winter Wonderland Big Expo, a business exposition, at the Summit Family YMCA in Newnan. From left are Denise, Monica Millians of The Southern Credit Union, Gina, and Joy Barnes of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

Also, on Wednesday, Gina was called upon to introduce speaker Anne Meisner, president and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Southeastern) in Newnan, at the Chamber's Women of Prosperity Luncheon.

We're so pleased Gina and Denise know the value of giving back to the community that gives so much to CIS!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

ECHS site coordinator attends training in Washington, D.C.

CIS of Coweta County’s East Coweta High School Site Coordinator, Denise Buchanan, recently attended CIS site coordinator training in Washington, D.C. Here Denise, at right, visits with CIS of Coweta County Executive Director Gina Weathersby during a recent meeting at ECHS.

According to CIS, "A site coordinator is a paid staff member positioned inside a Communities In Schools partner school. He or she fills a pivotal role as the single point of contact working within a school to provide integrated student supports. Site coordinators connect students and families with community resources that address both academic and nonacademic needs. They act as positive role models, mentors and friends to students supported by Communities In Schools and do everything within their power to help students succeed."

Denise is working toward her site coordinator certification, and the training program covers such topics as building community partnerships, assessing needs of students and families, and data collection and reporting. We congratulate Denise on expanding her skills as a CIS site coordinator!