How It Works
Communities in Schools always work at the invitations of the school superintendent, and in partnership with public schools.
Communities In Schools of Lake County seeks to understand and address the underlying reason why kids are unable to focus on learning. Whether kids need eyeglasses, tutoring, nutritious food, or just a safe place to be, Communities In Schools provides the programs and services or finds the resources, and delivers them to the young people right inside schools where kids spend their days.
Every 26 seconds a student drops out of school. Communities In Schools works within the school system to address underlying factors that impede student success. Our organization is actively engaged with policy makers, school staff, parents and business partners to ensure that Communities In Schools’ services are extended to as many K-12 students as possible and that those students have access to college.
Our Successful Model
What sets us apart is our model of integrated student services. Communities In Schools positions a dedicated staff member – a school-based coordinator – inside partner schools. The coordinator works with school staff to identify students at risk of not graduating; assess school and student needs; and establish relationships with local businesses, social service agencies, health care providers, and parent and volunteer organizations to harness needed resources.
Communities In Schools helps schools and communities assess the needs of their youth through a comprehensive needs assessment. We then design plans for meeting those needs, using existing resources. We connect young people with services in a variety of ways: In some schools, services are made available to all students and their families. In other schools, CIS connects services with particular students in need, either on a one-time basis or as part of a carefully monitored case management system. CIS also brings community resources to students and families through after-school programs. We accomplish these tasks by bringing the “Five Basics” into the school.
The CIS Site Model is a process for delivering integrated, evidence-based services to achieve positive student outcomes at both the school and individual student levels. Thus, the model calls for connecting students with a combination of widely accessible services (Level One) to address school-wide needs and targeted and sustained services (Level Two) to address the needs of individual students with the greatest risk of eventually dropping out of school. The model contains six basic steps including:
- Assessing needs;
- Planning to address identified needs;
- Delivery of evidence-based services;
- Evaluating the effectiveness of services; and
- Annual reporting.
The CIS process documents volunteer service and partnerships with the schools to reach these anticipated outcomes: improved attendance, improved academic achievement, improved behavior. Achieving these priorities will lead to increased graduation rates.
An independent, five-year evaluation of its work shows that Communities In Schools is one of a very few organizations proven to keep students in school and the only one to document that it increases graduation rates. The study also shows that a higher percentage of students served by Communities in Schools reach proficiency in 4th- grade and 8th-grade reading and math.
These priorities have been identified by Communities In Schools of Lake County and partners to address challenges:
1) Support and enhance family involvement initiatives
2) Expand and enhance mentoring, tutoring, and other volunteer activities
3) Connect targeted students with existing supportive services
4) Promote college and workforce preparation activities
5) Support early literacy efforts