For 16,000 children in Atlanta living in poverty, challenges outside the classroom can stand in the way of success inside the classroom. At Communities In Schools of Atlanta, we work in schools full time to remove barriers by building one-on-one relationships that empower students to stay in school and succeed in life.This allows us to see the unique needs of each student and collaborate with teachers and community partners. Whether it's clean clothes, help with school work or emotional support to help a child cope with and recover from a traumatic event, we connect students with the relationships and resources they need to succeed.
Whole school supports are a needed service that we provide to our schools to help strengthen the entire school body. These activities include parent engagement sessions, whole school attendance initiatives, community service days, back to school events, read-a-thons and many more great opportunities for all students.
How CIS of Atlanta supports students and schools.
In a third party study of our case management process by MDRC, we confirmed that our program works. Leading indicators include improved attendance and an increase in graduation rates. It also includes and increase in students having more involvement in supportive activities as well as improvement in nonacademic outcomes - compared to schools without Communities In Schools.
We do this through a tiered approach by working with the entire school, targeted groups of students and high-risk individuals.
Tier 2: Targeted Group Support
Our targeted group support activities are designed to help groups of students who are dealing with similar barriers. We implement programs and rely on our expert partners to provide support in areas where we don't have specific expertise. Those areas include: math and reading tutoring, anti-bullying programing, mentoring groups, backpack meals, risky behavior initiatives and smoking cessation.
Tier 1: School-Wide Services
Our school-wide services and resources are designed to foster a positive school climate and address school-level risk factors. They are short-term interventions that are provided on an as-needed basis. These services or resources are open to all students. Examples of Tier 1 resources or services include motivational speakers for school-wide assemblies, career or college fairs, and school-wide anti-bullying programs.
Tier 3: Individual Case Management
Our case management service is our most intense level of service and where we spend the majority of our time working with students. In conjunction with school staff, our interventions are guided by an integrated process of developing individualized support plans with each student and family and using that to guide, track, evaluate and adjust to fit the needs of each student we serve. Regular check-ins during school, supportive one-on-one sessions, home visits and referrals to outside support is crucial to ensure our students succeed.