CCISD Communities In Schools reps help surpass state goals
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Communities In Schools (CIS) of Greater Central Texas recently received its report card from the Texas CIS state office for the grant term 2015-16. This means performance results show the local CIS agency exceeded its performance targets in academic achievement, attendance, behavior, dropout rates, graduation and promotion/retention,
During the 2015-2016 school year, CIS of Greater Central Texas served 5,578 students exceeding the state requirement of 5,347 students. Outcomes for the 2015-16 school year featured a 95 percent improvement among CIS students in academics compared to the state target of 85 percent. CIS achieved a 96 percent rating in improved behavior performance. The state target was 85 percent.
The state target for attendance was 75 percent, with the local CIS recording an outcome of 86 percent. Other performance outcomes were 97 percent of CIS students were promoted to the next grade, 94 percent graduated and 99 percent stayed in school.
“These numbers reflect the CIS case-managed students within the seven independent school districts we serve which are Killeen, Copperas Cove, Temple, Belton, Salado, Florence and Cameron,” said Michael Dewees, executive director of the local CIS agency. “Exceeding our performance targets each year truly speaks to the dedication of our case managers, site coordinators and staff. The outcomes also mirror our efforts to accomplish the CIS purpose of improving student achievement, decreasing the dropout rate and increasing the graduation rate.”
Locally, Copperas Cove Independent School District has CIS representatives that strive to impact the students they serve on each campus.
I love my job with Communities In Schools because I am able to work hands on with students in the school as well as build rapport within the local community,” said Britany Watson, who works on the Williams-Ledger Elementary School campus. “It brings me joy to witness the progress my students make throughout the year, especially when their families encounter hardships. Also, I am able to meet and work with students from different cultures, economic and social backgrounds. My job is a commitment to assist in making the school year successful for the students.“
Cassandra Ray works at two campuses of CCISD and shared about the personal rewards she feels when working with students.
"As a CIS Site Coordinator I have the unique pleasure of serving two schools, House Creek Elementary and Crossroads High School. Each school has different needs, but I'm able to offer lunch and afterschool groups that encourage creativity, self-esteem, and team building skills. I also serve many wonderful families on an individual basis and offer special events that foster family bonding and introduce students to new experiences."
Arnold Isaac is the CIS rep at Martin Walker Elementary, where he has been for four years of his seven years with CIS. He said his favorite part of the job is interacting face to face with students and getting to share in their scholastic success.
Alicia Kope and Danny Velarde represent CIS at Copperas Cove Junior High School. They said they are available to any students on that campus who need a referral.
“If you know of any student that is in need of our services please refer that student to CIS. We are located in room 257. With each referred student CIS will focus on social service needs, academics, behavior, and attendance.”
At Copperas Cove High School, CIS has a weekend backpack program for four years, which sends food home with CCHS and Avenue E students in need every weekend and has done so for four years. CIS receives food donations from the CCHS DECA Club.
According to Dewees, the local CIS chapter is achieving its performance outcomes with less money and less staff than its counterparts in larger metropolitan areas
“Our CIS colleagues around the state in larger cities are able to secure bigger budgets and larger funding,” he said. “We rely quite heavily on grants, financial support from our local school districts, donations and other funding sources to supplement state funding. We are very grateful for the generosity of the community and our business partners to donate clothing, shoes, hygiene, food and numerous other items to meet the needs of the children in our program as well as our legislators who recognize the work we do for children.”
CIS of Greater Central Texas is a local non-profit organization dedicated to positively impacting the lives of children by helping them achieve success academically and personally. The CIS mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.