Communities In Schools Featured in the Columbus Dispatch

Communities In Schools was recently featured in an article in The Columbus Dispatch!

This quote from the article so beautifully summarizes what we do in our work inside Central Ohio schools:⁣

“Ultimately, the goal of site coordinators such as Price is to improve attendance, behavior and academic performance. But doing so requires building relationships with students and shattering barriers that often have little to do with school, she said.⁣ Some days, she helps prospective first-generation college students fill out financial-aid forms.⁣ Other days, she connects families with resources to help them overcome poverty, homelessness or medical problems. Or she provides support to students from broken families plagued by drug abuse or violence.⁣ And almost every day, she’s lending an ear with care and concern.”⁣

Click here to open the article in PDF form.

Click here to read the full article on The Columbus Dispatch Website.

Southside Parent Engagement Program

 

The Communities In Schools Parent Engagement Program is a Southside prevention and early intervention service, offered as a systematic approach that promote strategies used to build Protective Factors in families:

  • healthy family relationships and mutual support
  • values
  • strengthen parenting
  • strengthen parental social
  • strengthen emotional health
  • facilitate children’s social and emotional development
  • respond to family crises
  • observe and respond to early warning signs of abuse and neglect
  • links families to services and opportunities.

The program helps families establish positive relationships with their children, their communities and their children’s schools, helping them navigate the various systems, and enabling them to be active participants in their children’s education.

We have a Site Coordinator who works with students in schools across the Southside feeder pattern, elementary through high School. Our Site Coordinator identifies the needs of not only students, but their families, and provides or connects services and interventions to address the assessed needs.

We work to empower parents by helping to meet basic needs, overall family needs and the school needs of their children, removing barriers that might prevent them from supporting and assuring the academic success of their children.

Evidenced Based Models Used: The program utilizes the Communities In Schools evidenced based model, the SAMSHA community based model and the SEARCH Institutes Parents Further model utilizing the 40 Developmental Assets for a healthy family and the 40 Developmental Assets for kid’s k-12.

This program is a collaboration and partnership focused on Columbus’ Southside and is funded by the ADAMH Board.

Community of Support Breakfast

3rd Annual Community of Support Breakfast

Tuesday, May 15, 2018
8:00am – 10:00am
OSU Fawcett Center
2400 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, OH 43210

The CIS Community of Support Breakfast is
more than just an annual fundraiser;
it is an opportunity to RAISE AWARENESS of the needs of struggling students in Central Ohio and to
PROMOTE COLLABORATION within our community
to ensure that
STUDENTS STAY IN SCHOOL AND ACHIEVE IN LIFE

Invite your colleagues, family, friends, and neighbors!
Table and individual seats are available!
Can’t make it that day?
Sponsor another individual to attend this signature
fundraising event!

Help us make a difference in the lives
of Central Ohio youth and their families

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS:
Breakfast Buffet
Networking
Keynote Address
Student and Principal Testimonials
and new this year…….
BINGO FOR KIDS!

Communities In Schools of Central Ohio is tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Your contribution is tax deductible as provided by the law.

Community of Support Breakfast and Mifflin High School

Please save the date for our 
3rd Annual Community of Support Breakfast
Tuesday, May 15, 8:00am – 10:00am at the 
OSU Fawcett Center, 2400 Olentangy River Road 

REGISTER HERE

The Community of Support Breakfast is more than just an annual fundraiser event, it is an opportunity to RAISE AWARENESS of the needs of students in Central Ohio and to PROMOTE COLLABORATION within our community to ensure that every student stays in school and achieves more in life.

The Program highlights include:

  • Buffet Breakfast
  • Networking
  • Keynote Address
  • Student Testimonials
  • Video Presentation

Can’t make it that day? Sponsor another individual to attend this signature fundraising event! Invite your family and friends, neighbors and colleagues! Table and individual seats are available!
 
Spotlight Series: Mifflin High School
 
Mifflin High School significantly increases graduation rates!

Mifflin High School, in the 2015-2016 school year, had a graduation rate of around 58%. That school year, Communities In Schools and Site Coordinator Darren Carrington entered the school. The results were staggering; the graduation rate soared to 73% over three years! Darren attributes this success to working as a team and focusing on reaching to achieve their goals in the site plan. 

Now, in his 4th year at Mifflin HS, Darren has taken over 500 students on college visits in Ohio to University of Cincinnati, University of Akron, Ohio Dominican University, Capital University, The Ohio State University, Wright State University, Columbus State, Central State, Otterbein University, and Columbus College of Art and Design. They have averaged 8-10 college visits per year giving the students the opportunity to be exposed to a different culture/climate, and gaining college and career prep experience. 

Darren has created an incentive based College Visit program, in which eligible students must show good attendance, good grades, and no suspensions. It is working! 
Attendance has increased to 86% from 72% over the past three years, and more kids are going to college upon graduation!!! 20 kids from Darren’s caseload have gone to college!

Additionally, Darren has taken advantage of the Columbus City Schools Office of Student Mentoring Initiatives (OSMI), a program that prioritizes mentoring resources and programs. In his time at Mifflin HS, Darren has added several mentoring services that were not there before.

The newest mentoring collaboration is with Doug Williams, former Ohio State Buckeye, who reached out to Darren to focus on freshman boys who have been identified as “at risk” due to maturity and behavioral issues. Mr. Williams meets with these boys on a bi-weekly basis and plans to continue working with these same students for all 4 years of high school.

In the beginning of this school year, a new non-profit, At the Table, brought their T.H.R.I.V.E. mentoring program to Mifflin and it quickly became their largest mentoring group, supporting 29 female students and focusing on empowering young women. For the past 2 years, many students have benefitted from the program offered by Starfish Alliance, which is a trauma informed mentoring group that also has a focus on entrepreneurship.

We are very excited about the impact Communities In Schools has had on attendance and graduation rates at South High School. Thank you so much for your continued support!

Amy Gordon, LSW

Executive Director
Communities In Schools of Central Ohio

CIS News – Hamilton Township High School

Happy Spring,

Please save the date for our annual Community of Support Breakfast, Tuesday, May 15, 8:00am – 10:00am at the OSU Fawcett Center. 
More details to follow soon.

Having just completed my first full year as the Executive Director of Communities In Schools of Central Ohio, I am humbled and amazed at the work our school Site Coordinators do every day to serve their schools and students! They are in the trenches working with homeless studentspregnant and parenting middle and high school students (yes, middle school!), students who have lost one or both parents to drug overdoses, students sleeping on the floor every night because there are no beds in the house, and students who regularly experience trauma – seeing their mom beat up by a boyfriend, watching their best friend being shot, or even just the trauma of not knowing where their next meal will come from when they’re not at school. The challenges so many of our students face is daunting and sometimes hard to believe, yet it is the reality for many young people today. Communities In Schools works to address non-academic barriers, barriers like those mentioned above. The barriers that make it difficult to come to school or to be able to focus on school once they are there. 

In the 2017-2018 school year, CIS of Central Ohio expanded into ten additional schools and two new districts. We increased from serving nine schools with nine full-time Site Coordinators in the 2015-2016 school year to serving twenty-one schools with twenty-two full-time Site Coordinators this school year, that is 144% growth in just two years! While we celebrate our growth, we are also very aware of the reality – the needs of our schools and students are immense and they are struggling! 

Last year our Site Coordinators impacted over 7,300 students and our recent growth has doubled our efforts, expanding our outreach to more than 15,000 students being impacted by the work of CIS. Our Site Coordinators are extremely energetic and caring, and they are passionately engaging services and resources that support the students and families in their schools. 

Consider the following statistics:
·        A high-school dropout is ineligible for 90% of jobs in America.
·        Kids who don’t read proficiently by 4th grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of school.
·        75% of US crimes are committed by a high school dropout
 
99% of our CIS case managed students stayed in school last year!
 
Please join us in supporting students and empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life- we can’t do it without you!
 

Warm Regards,
Amy Gordon, Executive Director, LSW
 
Spotlight Series: “Extraordinary” things are happening at Hamilton Township HS

Communities In Schools is very excited to start partnering with a new district this year, Hamilton Township, and new Site Coordinator Brittany Price is off to an excellent start!

Brittany began by putting together educational information for students and parents at the Parent Teacher Conference nights. This exposed the community to CIS in general and provided families an understanding of what resources are available to them. She also joined the Attendance Committee so she could recognize, firsthand, which students might need assistance with home issues preventing them from being in school.

Brittany also jumped right into providing one-on-one mentoring and resource support for students and families. Brittany collaborated with 2 teachers at Hamilton Township HS and Ohio State Representative Alicia ReeceOhio State Representative Hearcel Craig, and US Congresswoman Joyce Beatty to bring young black males employed in government/legal positions into Hamilton Township to speak to and mentor the students.

“Bringing these legal aides, all who are college grads, 
into the school to speak with our 
students was powerful. These professional had similar lives 
growing up and they really inspired our students to think about what 
their futures could look like.”

Communities in Schools strongly promotes collaboration among our Site Coordinators. As a result, veteran Site Coordinator Darren Carrington, at Mifflin High School, introduced Brittany to a program called “King Me”, within The Extraordinary Gentlemenorganization. A representative from the program, Traci Blaylock comes to the school to meet with and mentor young African American males 4-5 times a month. Other collaboration within the CIS Site Coordinator team has allowed Brittany to easily bring in the LASER program, an initiative at OSU that is a community of students and scholars engaged in expanding the presence of Latinos in higher education. The LASER program is also fully utilized by veteran Site Coordinator Christopher Whiteside at Columbus Global Academy.

In January, Brittany also took students to a career fair at Milo Grogan Community Center sponsored by CareSource. This has empowered students by exposing them to good career choices now and for the future.

Through our amazing community partnerships, we are empowering students to stay in school and achieve MORE! Thank you so much for your continued support!

Stiles Elementary School

Dear Friends,

First and foremost, thank you so much for your support during 2017! It has been an exciting year of growth and impact at CIS of Central Ohio. As we continue to support students facing numerous challenges and barriers to their academic and personal success, I am so encouraged by the tremendous impact the CIS Site Coordinators have on the students and schools they support every day! We could not do this work without YOU!

Have a wonderful and peace filled holiday season!

Warm Regards,
Amy Gordon, Executive Director, LSW

Spotlight Series: Stiles Elementary School

Stiles Elementary School celebrates Awesomeness

At Stiles Elementary School, a South-Western City School, students are encouraged, celebrated, and supported through grassroots activities and programs developed by seasoned CIS Site Coordinator Shannon Wealther. Shannon has invested heavily in getting to know the needs of students and families at Stiles, studying research briefs, and working with staff and parents to develop many initiatives that are building kids up at Stiles.

The Awesome Awards were born out of the desire to recognize every student in the school for their growth.

“For many students, the only time their parents were contacted by the 
school was when they were having a problem. We wanted to change
the culture at Stiles so that every parent could come into the school to
celebrate their child’s successes.”

The Awesome Awards happen four times a year, and recognize every single student at Stiles Elementary in two ways. First, each student, encouraged by a growth mindset, fills out an “I am Awesome because………” card which is posted on the school walls. Then, one of the student’s teachers completes a “You’re Awesome because……….” card, which highlights something the student doesn’t see in himself/herself. Parents are invited into the school to celebrate these awards with their child and teacher in the classrooms.

Parents and Teachers United (Padres y Maestros Unidos) is a series of parent education workshops Shannon developed after surveying parents, meeting with staff, and analyzing research briefs. Workshop topics have included

  • Bullying,
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD),
  • Internet Safety,
  • Assessment and Grades,
  • Immigration and Citizenship, and
  • Math and Literacy.

These programs have been very well attended, and have touched on many of the areas of stress and hardship for students and parents, giving them the education and support they need to succeed.

Kindness Week became a successful collaboration between Stiles, Youth to Youth and The Ronald McDonald Adventures in which all students were challenged to kindnessgoals and initiatives for an entire week. This week put kindness in the forefront of students’ minds as they practiced giving and receiving kindness from fellow classmates.

In addition to her many grassroots initiatives, Shannon works very closely with students and families in need at Stiles while collaborating with resource partnerships in the central Ohio area, such as providing food at the Fresh Produce Markets, weekly Buddy Bags, and household resources to families in need.

Through our amazing community partnerships, we are empowering students to stay in school and achieve MORE! Thank you so much for your continued support!

The Big Give Results and South High School

 Dear Friends,

On October 10th and 11th, Communities In Schools participated in The Columbus Foundation’s Big Give. It was a wonderful opportunity to join our amazing community in this giving event. Thank you everyone for your generous donations and continued support of CIS!
 
Spotlight Series: South High School’s MENTORING Successes!
 
South High School is the school to watch with regard to Mentoring!

Extensive amounts of mentoring are happening at South High School thanks to second year CIS Site Coordinator, Tomeka Whitehead! Her legwork last year and over the summer has really paid off in numerous new opportunities and partnerships for the students at South High School.

Tomeka commented that “It is very exciting because, last year, we buckled down on the basics like attendance and uniforms, and now this year we are able to celebrate those individual successes and expand support for students beyond their basic needs toward career driven plans.”

More than half of South’s student population benefits from Report Card Conferences, in which volunteers from the community sit down with students and discuss their report cards. According to Tomeka, “This gives students so much confidence that their lives are important and that their academic goals matter.”

South has joined forces with Starfish Alliance, an organization that was born in 2002 with the mission to improve the odds of young people whose lives have been touched by the foster care system. Knowing that they were charged “to save as many as they could”, they have recently opened their arms to wrap supportive services around several additional clusters of kids – those in low-income families, survivors of trauma, justice-involved, and opportunity youth. Their extensive, personalized mentor program is being fully embraced at South High School!

This school year, South also partnered with Charles Martin and Clarence Jackson who run a powerful African American Male initiative called My Brother’s Keeper (MBK). This mentoring program is designed to address opportunity gaps for boys and men of color in our community. In November 2015, Columbus City Schools (CCS) was selected as one of 10 school districts across the country to participate in the roll out of the MBK School Success Mentor Initiative to address and eliminate chronic absenteeism for 6th and 9th grade students. This program is already helping young men at South High School in big ways.

Tomeka also helped roll out a Columbus City Schools district mentoring program at South called Project Mentor. In this bi-weekly mentoring program, community members are paired up with students in a 2:1 ratio to build relationships, discuss career goals, and affect change in student’s lives.

In addition to all of the organized mentor programs Tomeka has partnered with at South, Tomeka herself has had major success with her own one-on-one regular coaching and mentoring of students. Two of her students, Jackson and Marissa (above), have benefitted greatly from her mentoring and have gotten themselves out of very difficult life paths into leadership positions within their JROTC program! The students are winning all sorts of awards and are excelling in life thanks to their relationship with Tomeka!!!

We are very excited about the mentoring programs that have been initiated and are in place at South High School and look forward to measuring their success! Thank you so much for your continued support!

Amy Gordon, LSW

Executive Director

Communities In Schools of Central Ohio

Backpack Giveaways and Finland Elementary School

 Dear Friends,

Communities In Schools is looking forward to the start of another amazing school year!

In July, CIS of Central Ohio was one of four organizations selected globally to participate in Global Impact Day 2017. Thanks to JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Break A Difference for their work recruiting and coordinating employee volunteers. They provided us with a valuable in-kind donation of over 1400 filled backpacks! 

CIS coordinated the first handout of backpacks that same day in partnership with Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services to 100 students from our schools who attended their summer camp.  

CIS of Central Ohio was the only US non-profit selected as partner recipient for this effort.  

CIS also received 546 backpacks from the Fennessy/Harden Backpack Project; enabling CIS of Central Ohio to distribute 1946 total backpacks to our students this year!

According to the Huntington Backpack Index, for the 2017-2018 school year, parents can expect to pay $662-$1489 per child for school supplies and extracurricular activities; gratefully, these donations make a huge dent in the budgets of families in Central Ohio.  

Spotlight Series: Watch D.O.G.S. at Finland Elementary

Dads are getting involved at Finland Elementary School!

The Watch D.O.G.S Dad program at Finland Elementary School was a huge success thanks to the efforts of school staff and Kira Shade-Ray, Finland’s full-time CIS Site Coordinator.  The goals of the Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program are:

  • To provide positive male role models for the students, demonstrating that education is important by their presence in the schools
  • To provide extra sets of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying.

Watch D.O.G.S. are fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and other father-figures who volunteer for at least one day each year at an official WATCH D.O.G.S. school.

At Finland, Kira launched the program with a pizza party; inviting father-figures to the school to learn about the program, get their free t-shirts, and sign up for days to join their kids at school!

“There is so much excitement in the school when we have a Watch D.O.G.S. volunteer spending the day with us.  The volunteer starts the day in their child’s classroom, then travels around to other classrooms.  The kids LOVE seeing the dads in the lunchrooms.  The kids all want their dads to come so they can meet their friends.” 

Kira always takes a picture of the dad and student(s), who wear matching Watch D.O.G.S. t-shirts, and puts them up on the Wall of Fame to inspire other dads to join the fun.  

Our long term goal is to have a dad in school everyday.

Kira has also started a 4th Grade and 8th Grade Reading Buddies partnership with Finland Middle School this school year, and plans to reinstate and grow both programs in the 2017-2018 school year. 

Through our amazing community partnerships, we are empowering students to stay in school and achieve MORE!  Thank you so much for your continued support!
 
Amy Gordon,

Executive Director

Communities In Schools of Central Ohio