Communities In Schools of Appalachian Highlands, we see potential in every student and we are committed to helping them see it too.
We provide our model of integrated student supports inside Prek-12 schools every day, weaving a network of support around at-risk students and working hand-in-hand with their school, families and communities to create access to the resources and opportunities that help them overcome life’s barriers and reach their full potential. As our theory of change illustrates, we:
At Communities In Schools of Appalachian Highlands we know that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to changing students’ lives. That’s why our evidence-based model integrates a variety of supports to help students develop their social, emotional and academic competencies that help them overcome barriers.
Our model of integrated student supports is a school-based approach to develop academic success by tackling academic and non-academic barriers. Support is provided by our site coordinators who assess a student’s needs, and then provides direct services and/or makes referrals to community partners to ensure a student has everything they need to succeed in and out of the classroom.
At every Communities In Schools of Appalachian Highlands site, our site coordinators provide a variety of supports, across three different tiers to help as many students as we can.
Many of our students face and overcome difficult obstacles in their lives. However, their survival skills aren’t always effective in the classroom or the workplace. Our program teaches students positive ways to cope with anger, conflict resolution and other strategies to keep them focused on school. From one-on-one coaching to guest speakers and roleplaying exercises, our hands-on approach helps student recognize patterns of behavior, break the cycle and see tangible improvements.
CIS sees family engagement as a crucial element to our success, and work to remove barriers that prevent caregivers from staying central in their child’s education. CIS helps support a healthy school environment where students and families feel safe and welcome. Our site coordinators are advocates for all families and check in with families often to keep them updated on their students’ progress. They’ve worked with teachers to offer community-based parent teacher nights so more parents could attend and have sponsored family nights and parent support groups to help parents stay involved.
From providing students with virtual learning support, credit recovery assistance, to finding tutors and creating quiet spaces where students can study, we do whatever it takes to create an optimal learning environment for our students.
Site coordinators teach students how to work together with others, interact with authority figures and manage anger and other emotions. Mastering life skills helps students engage more effectively with others, resolve issues diplomatically and understand the importance of compromise, patience, and other social values.
We encourage and provide students with many opportunities to connect more with their local community – from volunteer jobs, mentoring programs and outreach efforts, students can experience for themselves the value they can both bring to, and receive from, community involvement.
A student cannot focus in the classroom if they are hungry, cold or tired, or cannot see the board. Our site coordinators connect students and their families to local service agencies to meet basic needs involving food, clothing, housing, transportation, employment, rent and utility assistance, as well as referrals for crisis intervention, medical, dental, and mental health issues. Most important, we ensure that home is a healthy nurturing environment where students always feel safe.
Communities In Schools is committed to promoting good nutrition, physical activity, access to health services and a healthy school environment. We offer a variety of after school and summer programs to encourage physical activity, healthy eating and time outdoors. We believe healthy minds and bodies are the vehicles for our students’ success.
Our site coordinators are trained to help identity and reach out to kids and families who may need support services. We work with our partner schools, as well as community organizations, to provide the best resources and referrals available to our students and families. Our commitment is to treat every child with dignity and respect, and ensure they receive the services and support they need to be their best.
After school and summer programs give students experiences that can help prepare them for life after high school. Our site coordinators work hard to find and create programs that combine education with fun, hands-on experiences. These programs are particularly valuable to students whose families don’t have access to resources, as after school time and summer breaks are often when students are most distracted and adversely affected by home life. Our programs include field trips, community services programs, guest speakers and more.
We provide or connect students to individual counseling and facilitate small support groups to help them manage their emotions and interactions with peers; addressing issues such as grief and loss, depression, low self-esteem, anger management, and anxiety.
Both higher education and the modern workplace are evolving rapidly, and with this shift come new opportunities, greater competition, more complex skill sets, and job titles that didn’t exist a few years ago. It’s a lot to process, especially for students already dealing with their own unique challenges. For students pursuing college, we help decipher the application process, explore scholarship opportunities, tour campuses and conduct mock interviews. For those planning to enter the work force, we help students discover enjoyable, sustainable career paths and connect them to internships, job shadowing opportunities and leadership training courses. For those undecided, our site coordinators provide a safe sounding board to articulate goals and fears, and explore options.