CIS Success – one student at a time
SOUTHPORT, N.C. – As summer comes to a close and students return to school for a new year, we look back on some student successes that Communities In Schools of Brunswick County (CIS) delivered last year. The mission of CIS is built on student success. CIS’ mission is to “surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.” CIS Action for Success Dropout Prevention Program is a primary partner for providing opportunities and supporting student achievement and success in Brunswick County Schools.
CIS currently provides an Action for Success program in all four Brunswick County middle schools, Waccamaw School, and Supply Elementary School by incorporating Success Coaches, community volunteers along with club and business partnerships to support student achievement. CIS assists Brunswick County students through tutors, mentors, Teen and Peer Court programs, 21st Century Community Learning Center after school program, school/business partnerships, and parenting education, with a focus on dropout prevention services.
The unique aspect of the CIS Action for Success program is the placement of CIS Success Coaches in each school for individualized student assistance and intervention. Obstacles and challenges arise for students that can negatively influence their education. CIS Success Coaches give the students a trusting one-on-one relationship with a caring adult to help them overcome their challenges and succeed at their highest potential.
Many students in schools today face struggles that we don’t even realize exist. CJ, an eighth grader, knows this all too well. Before starting sixth grade, CJ’s sister passed away suddenly and he was dealing with troubles at home. He felt disconnected from everything, wasn’t being heard by friends or teachers in his struggles, and became closed off to others during his seventh grade year. Bad behavior, fights, and poor grades followed. CJ was referred to the CIS Action for Success (AFS) program at his school. He started attending after school groups like CIS WhyTry, after school tutoring, and small support groups with CIS
Success Coach Amber Malave.
CIS evidence-based interventions helped CJ learn to control his emotions and how to talk to his parents about his feelings when they argued and yelled. The CIS AFS program and Ms. Malave became a sounding board for CJ where he could be heard, and receive assistance to focus on emotional control and positive ways to communicate. CJ says, “Without CIS I wouldn’t have been able to get through. The best thing in middle school for me was the CIS program.” Completing his eighth grade year, CJ has come full circle in his life. He wants to give younger CIS students a chance at a better life so they do not make the same mistakes. CJ chooses to volunteer his own time and give back to other students by meeting with younger students in CIS programs during lunch or after school to mentor them for appropriate behavior and offer support to cope with obstacles and problems they might be facing.
Some students feel they grow up with CIS. CIS student Alex shares the impact of the CIS program through his time in middle school. “The CIS Action for Success program has helped me to keep my grades up in 6th, 7th and 8th grade through some good and bad times in my life. CIS Success Coach Michele Rau, many tutors and my mentor have helped me reach my goal to go to high school! CIS has helped me become a better student by helping improve my attitude and encouraging me to do the best in school.”
Shyanne was involved with CIS all three years of middle school, with a reputation for troublemaking and classroom disruption throughout the school. Her CIS Success Coach Whitney Franklin remembers her first involvement with Shyanne. “She scribbled all over her test and circled answers without reading. The sentence “I hate this test” was written all over her test booklet. Shyanne was also disrespectful daily to her teachers and classmates, frequently using inappropriate language, and occasionally causing fights with her peers.” CIS Success Coach Ms. Franklin met daily with Shyanne and weekly with her teachers and school administrative staff to discuss progress, and see if additional support was needed. Through CIS programs and Ms. Franklin’s direct assistance, Shyanne was able to work on anger management, conflict resolution, healthy choices and character building. Together Shyanne and her Success Coach set daily goals, worked on study skills and building of self-awareness.
Shyanne graduated from the eighth grade with honors achieving the A/B honor roll and receiving many student graduation awards. Shyanne feels much more excited about school now and learning new things to prepare her for the future. She has expressed her goal in life is to work with students who are having difficulties in school and at home. She wants to support kids and students in education to give them a better future.
These students are examples of those who CIS programming helps to move toward a positive path full of self-respect, opportunity, and growth. They are becoming better students, academically and behaviorally. The relationship with a caring adult, their CIS Success Coach, has helped them become more connected with their education and see more opportunities for themselves. CIS is proud of the success of these students and each of the students enrolled in CIS programs.
The efforts of CIS making a difference in the lives of students and families are well documented. In the 2017-2018 school year, organization efforts resulted in more than 4,221 young people and families receiving services including academic tutoring, social enrichment, and evidence-based intervention services that reach far beyond the classroom.
CIS offers evidence-based, student support at four middle schools, Waccamaw School, and Supply Elementary School. Students often face multiple risk factors for dropping out of school or not being promoted to the next grade. CIS Success Coaches are embedded at these schools to work with students through individualized Student Support Plans for case managed students.
During the 2017-2018 school year, 352 students received individualized case management in the CIS AFS program.
- 88% of students referred for low performance in Math or Reading improved, based on report cards and end of grade testing.
- 82% of students referred for behavior issues showed a documented change in behavior, based on school disciplinary records.
- 79% of students referred for truancy issues improved attendance, based on school attendance records.
- 99% of students provided with CIS case managed services were promoted to the next grade.
Helping more students succeed and preparing them for a strong future is important and it is easy to join the many individuals, community organizations, and businesses that are CIS partners and regularly help change lives. For more information about CIS of Brunswick County and our Action for Success program, please contact the CIS office at 910-832-3494 or visit www.cisbrunswick.org and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.