21st Century Community Learning Center Awards CIS of Atlanta More Than $1.3 Million

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The Grant will Fund “Real World Academy” in Banneker and Creekside High Schools


ATLANTA – Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta, in partnership with Fulton County Schools, has been awarded the FY2018 Georgia Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Center grant. This competitive federal grant program is designed to establish or expand community learning centers that provide students with enrichment opportunities that complement the students’ regular academic program.

The $1.3 million grant will allow CIS of Atlanta to provide additional support for at-risk 10th, 11th, and 12th-grade students at Banneker and Creekside high schools. In conjunction with Georgia’s High Demand Career Initiative, school principals, school system staff, and CIS of Atlanta leadership identified Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) as an area of need for these students to reinforce classroom work, learn key job readiness skills, and gain real-world exposure to STEM careers.

Therefore, CIS of Atlanta will create an after-school and summer STEM academic and enrichment program called Real World Academy. At each school, the program will serve a total of 120 at-risk students.

The program parameters will include:

• Participation 12 hours a week after-school for the entire school year
• A two-week program during the summer that will include job skills training and job shadowing
• Homework help during each session
• Mentorship partnerships with local colleges and universities
• A comprehensive STEM curriculum implemented each week
• Parent University that will meet one time per month during the school year and will follow a designated curriculum.

Real World Academy’s hands-on approach to STEM concepts and careers will spark students’ interest in the field, support classroom work, offer access to caring mentors from the community, and increase parent engagement.

Locally, CIS of Atlanta empowered more than 30,000 students during the 2016-2017 school year. 4,000 of those students received intensive, individualized support and the nonprofit anticipates that number to increase to 4,700 students during the 2017-2018 school year. CIS of Atlanta is currently serving four school districts, including Atlanta Public Schools and Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton County schools.

CIS of Atlanta recently expanded its regular program to serve an additional 10 schools, bringing the total to 18, in partnership with Fulton County Schools. This focus in the South Fulton Learning Community is to further the district’s efforts in providing wraparound support for schools that have high-need students.

About Communities In Schools of Atlanta: Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta, established in 1972, is the nation’s first, largest and most effective dropout prevention organization, dedicated to doing whatever it takes to help students succeed in school and achieve in life. Operating in more than 62 schools, mainly in Atlanta Public Schools, as well as Clayton County Public Schools, DeKalb County Schools and Fulton County Schools, CIS of Atlanta supports more than 36,000 students and their families in the 2016-2017 academic year. Based directly inside the schools, CIS of Atlanta connects students and their families to basic and critical educational and community-based resources, tailored to each student’s specific needs. Click here to learn more about CIS of Atlanta. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



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CIS of Atlanta Contributes to Major Gains in Metro Atlanta Schools

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Communities in Schools of Atlanta works with diligence, persistence, and passion every single day to build a better education system in our city and help Atlanta youth achieve success. When contributing to organizations such as CIS Atlanta, most people desire hard evidence of the impact they are having on their community. CIS Atlanta by no means just “talks the talk.” Thanks to the results of the 2017 Georgia Milestones, CIS is proud to say with confidence that we “walk the walk” and truly have an impact on the youth of Atlanta.



This past July, the 2017 Georgia Milestones showed significant gains in Atlanta Public Schools testing. Superintendent Meria Castarphen declared that these results were clear proof of the hard work Atlanta was going to turn the school system around. A total of 57 Atlanta schools (two-thirds of the entire school district!) demonstrated improved test performance, predominantly due to organizations like Communities in Schools. To read more of the results and statistics from the 2017 Georgia Milestones, click here.

In addition to significant improvement in test scores, the state has also shown an increase in graduation rates. The Georgia Department of Education recently released graduation rates over the past four years, which showed a whopping 35.15 percent increase in Clayton County Public Schools graduation rates over the past six years. According to these same statistics, this is the first year Georgia graduation rates have surpassed 80 percent since new federal laws went into effect in 2011.

By providing support both in and out of the classroom as well as identifying and addressing barriers that prevent students from succeeding, CIS site coordinators create a better learning environment for underprivileged students and help empower them to realize their full potential. These interactions have a direct impact on students’ testing abilities and enable students to graduate from high schools and even further their educations by attending college.

As Atlanta expands into an even more incredible city, its youth grow into more successful, capable, and distinguished young people thanks to organizations such as Communities in Schools. We cannot wait for years to come to see more improvements in the Atlanta Public School System!

You can learn more about the CIS process here.

Healing Hearts Widows Support Foundation of Nigeria Visits CIS of Atlanta

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Last Friday, CIS of Atlanta’s CEO Frank Brown had the privilege of meeting with Ms. Gozie Udemezue, an alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). The IVLP, run by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, brings nearly 5,000 exchange participants to the U.S. every year with the goal of strengthening ties between the U.S. and other countries and generating relationships between foreign leaders and their American equivalents. Ms. Udemezue was selected as one of six IVLP alumni to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Program’s Gold Stars’ Tour: Alumni Connecting the World.



Ms. Udemezue, lawyer, human rights activist, and soup cook, is an inspiration to say the least. As the founder of Healing Hearts Widows Support Foundation (HHWSF), she helps widows who are neglected, shunned by society, and stripped of basic human rights after their husbands pass away. She also cooks and sells Igbo soups. “The widows help to cook and the children serve,” Ms. Udemezue says. Since she was a mere eight years old, Ms. Udemezue has been caring for widows and has never understood the harsh way they are treated in their culture. She established her foundation in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2013 when she lost her own husband that she experienced the true pain and suffering of widowhood. Ms. Udemezue now dedicates her life to HHWSF, which provides free medical aid, free legal aid and spiritual counseling to widows. However, she still faces many challenges. “The biggest challenge we have is [lack of] resources,” she says. “We need a shelter.” Widows and their children often are forced to vacate their homes. In addition, Ms. Udemezue wishes to purchase project vehicles to transport them to and from outreach centers, train widows who have gone through the program to be paralegals who are capable of helping other widows, and find an effective way to help the children, who often have to drop out of school to provide for their widowed mothers.



Throughout their discussion, Frank Brown and Ms. Udemezue were able to brainstorm an abundance of ideas and inspire each other through their steadfast dedication and passion for their work. “Impact, revenue, and strategic partnerships” are the key to creating a self-sustaining organization, says Frank Brown. He asked Ms. Udemezue to consider what she wants her organization to look like in five or even 25 years, when she’s unable to run it “because all of her work means nothing if it’s not around in the next five years.” The two discussed how they were capable in their individual roles because they identified with the people they are fighting for. Just as Ms. Udemezue has struggled with widowhood, Brown suffered with his own battles growing up, allowing him relate to the children he spends his life helping. He reassured Ms. Udemezue that because she had experienced the tragedy of losing one’s spouse, her determination and connection to the widows who go through her program is beautifully strong and resilient.

“I think in America we take things for granted,” Frank said in awe of Ms. Udemezue’s commitment to her work. “For you to come in and tell me you made something out of nothing, I can look at my team and say there is no excuse.”

At the end of the meeting Ms. Udemezue said, “This was my last appointment on this trip, and it was like saving the best for last. I am proud to say it was the most impactful. It didn’t just address the work I do, it provided an opening for me to share some personal challenges and Frank’s words of encouragement provided the spring board I needed to take off, again.”

CIS of Atlanta is truly moved by and eager to witness the impact Ms. Udemezue has in her own community, and we’re more than thrilled to help make an impact on a global scale.

Help us Win a $25,000 Grant and Assist Atlanta!

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As one of the 200 finalists in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program, Communities In Schools of Atlanta (CIS of Atlanta) has the incredible opportunity to win a $25,000 grant to fund our dropout prevention program and help underprivileged youth grow into a successful, well-educated future of Atlanta. However, we cannot win without your help. By clicking here and voting for CIS, you are helping our community get the support it needs.

CIS of Atlanta’s project is to strengthen Westside Schools, specifically those in the Washington cluster. We will host literacy events in an effort to create a mentor and volunteer program that will impact thousands of children and families.

While our organization has made a huge, self-sustaining impact on the city of Atlanta, there are still so many ways we can improve and build our community, which is why we are asking for your help! The voting phase is open from August 16 – 25, and anyone with a valid email address is eligible to vote up to 10 times per day. The top 40 winners that receive the most votes will be announced on September 28.

State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a crowd-sourced philanthropic initiative that lets communities determine where grant funding is awarded. The initiative utilizes the State Farm Review Committee to vet submissions for causes and empowers the community to vote for the final 40 grant winners. The program has been inspired by the incredible number of neighborhoods that are coming together to solve a problem or improve their community.

Please share this with your colleagues, friends, neighbors, and family!




VOTE FOR CIS OF ATLANTA



Contact Us

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    Atlanta, GA 30303

    404-897-2390
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