A survey of teachers across the country confirms what Communities In Schools has long suspected. By supporting at-risk kids with non-academic needs we help teachers do what they do best: teach.
“Not every kid comes to school prepared to learn,” says Kari Hollandsworth, Lindberg High (Renton) teacher. “When their issues play out in the classroom I have to take more class time to deal with them, which deprives other students of valuable teaching time.”
Communities In Schools typically works in schools that have higher poverty and numbers of unprepared students. To remedy circumstances we employ on-site service coordinators who broker community resources into schools – connecting identified students with services such as healthcare, nutrition, counseling, hard goods like clothing or eyeglasses, as well as academic tutoring. Our mission is to surround students with the support necessary for them to graduate prepared for life.
“With Communities In Schools help these kids get the things they need so they can come to class focused and ready to learn. Now more of my time goes into actual teaching,” said Hollandsworth.
The teacher survey is a component of a larger five-year, third-party, study of Communities In Schools begun in 2005. The study’s final installment, due out this summer, compares student populations who receive CIS support to similar populations who do not. Earlier installments show, at the school level, that Communities In Schools support increases school graduation rates along with reading and math proficiencies.
Communities In Schools often complements service brokering with one-to-one mentoring. Volunteers meet weekly with students and are afforded a more intimate understanding of the young person and their needs which makes for more effective service delivery.
Wrote one Federal Way principal, “Our 2007-08 school year saw a spike in the number of students living in crisis. Assessment scores took a nose dive and for the first time we did not make AYP standards….Communities In Schools was instrumental in helping us confront this crisis – creating a “school family” of dedicated volunteers. Thanks to your partnership our 2008-09 school year was one of the greatest turn-around years we’ve ever experienced.”
Nearly three-quarters of the teachers surveyed agree that by helping more at-risk students engage in class and understand the value of education, CIS help results in higher overall classroom achievement.
In short, Communities In Schools, by thoughtfully addressing the needs of individual kids, raises the bar for all kids.