Communities In Schools of Greenbrier County (CISGC) is a local West Virginia affiliate of the nation’s leading drop-out prevention program, Communities In Schools. CISGC’s mission is “to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.” CISGC links educators with the community to bring local talents and resources into the schools and create a network of support that keeps kids in school and engaged in learning. As a result, teachers are free to teach and students have the opportunity and skills to focus on learning. In recent years, the education field has come to recognize the role of schools as not only an academic institution, but also important in supporting student health, safety, and well‐being by developing integrated student support initiatives. These initiatives offer specific services and supports to students and their families to build a foundation for academic success. Referred to as community schools and wraparound supports as well as integrated student supports models, these initiatives help schools connect struggling children with secure housing, medical care, food assistance, tutoring, and other critical supports.
Teachers and school administrators who interact with children daily know that nonacademic issues can undermine academic success, because how can you concentrate and learn if you are hungry, scared, tired because you have no bed to sleep in, or dirty, or all of these? Research increasingly supports these practitioners’ insight by confirming that nonacademic factors in a young person’s life influence their ability to concentrate, learn, process information, and behave well in class. This, in turn, influences academic and life success as well as overall well‐being. Students who suffer from poor physical or mental health, who are homeless, who experience instability at home, or who come to school hungry do less well in school than students who feel safe and secure.
SITE COORDINATOR ROLES:
Our site coordinator fills a pivotal role as the single point of contact working inside the school coordinating and providing integrated student supports. They work with school leadership and staff to connect students and families with community resources that help to address both academic and nonacademic needs, allowing students to show up healthy, safe, and prepared to learn. Their dedication and enthusiasm for helping our at-risk youth is immeasurable!
Through conversations with school leadership and review of school improvement plans, the CIS affiliate, site coordinator and their school support team work to align goals that best meet the needs of the students, avoiding duplication and overlap of supports. When site coordinators actually begin providing supports, they collaborate with community partners and businesses to recruit volunteers for tutoring programs, build up clothing closets with support from local businesses or connect struggling families with much-needed medical attention – just to name a few.
Here at Communities in Schools of Greenbrier County, we find that when we bring the right people to the table, we are able to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.
CISGC believes that every child needs and deserves the “5 Basics”:
- A one-on-one relationship with a caring adult
- A safe place to learn and grow
- A healthy start and a healthy future
- A marketable skill to use upon graduation
- A chance to give back to their community
To find out more about what CISGC is doing currently, visit our Facebook page!
CISGC depends on our partners to provide Greenbrier County at-risk and disadvantaged students with the services and resources they need.
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HISTORY OF CIS OF GREENBRIER COUNTY
Communities In Schools of Greenbrier County was established in January 2003 and began serving students in August 2004. CIS of Greenbrier County is a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to helping at-risk and economically disadvantaged youth succeed in school and in life. During the 2017-2018 school year, CISGC had ten staff consisting of eight site coordinators, one afterschool program coordinator, and a full-time Executive Director. We provide free services to at-risk youth in ten Greenbrier County schools: Alderson Elementary, Crichton Elementary, Rainelle Elementary, Rupert Elementary, Ronceverte Elementary, Smoot Elementary, White Sulphur Springs Elementary, Eastern Greenbrier Middle School, Western Greenbrier Middle School and Greenbrier East High School.