|CHARLESTON, WV – First Lady Cathy Justice today hosted an informative luncheon for Superintendents and county representatives from the 19 counties not yet involved in Communities In Schools (CIS), the nation’s No. 1 dropout prevention program.|
“Today has been a very important day,” First Lady Justice said. “We were able to showcase some of the success stories and important accomplishments of our CIS program in West Virginia over the past four years. These Superintendents and their representatives got a first hand view of how CIS works and all the possibilities the program offers. Now is the time to join the statewide program, and I am confident that Superintendents left here feeling they want to come on board as soon as possible.”
|CIS Founder Bill Milliken, CIS Vice President of Learning and Practice Michael Huang, along with several veteran Superintendents and CIS staff members from the West Virginia Department of Education were in attendance at the event.|
“I am more excited than ever about the incredible vision First Lady Cathy Justice, and her husband, Governor Jim Justice, have for seeing that Communities in Schools of West Virginia is in all 55 counties,” Milliken said. “I leave today full of hope that this will be accomplished. West Virginia, by doing so, will be a model for other states to follow by making sure all children have the resources to stay in school and prepare for a productive and hope-filled future.”
For more than 40 years, CIS has been the leading national provider of integrated student supports and improving student outcomes by removing academic and non-academic barriers to learning. CIS aims to forge community partnerships and bring resources into schools to help remove barriers to student learning with a goal of keeping all students in school and ultimately graduating.
|In 2018, First Lady Justice started the CIS program in three pilot counties. Since then, the program has expanded to include 195 schools in 36 counties. Over the next two years, First Lady Justice hopes to onboard the 19 counties that have not yet implemented the CIS program.|
“No one in education was fully prepared for a global pandemic, but CIS schools in West Virginia had a leg up because dedicated site coordinators knew their students, knew the community resources, and were ready to help keep students engaged in their learning,” Huang said. “As we move forward, Communities In Schools shares in First Lady Justice’s vision to make sure West Virginia is the first state to have a CIS site coordinator in schools in every county. We’re determined to make this happen.”
The foundation of the program is the site coordinator, who builds relationships that empower students to stay in school and succeed in life. These site coordinators work inside schools in partnership with school staff to identify challenges facing students in school or at home. They bridge this need with resources through neighboring community partners that provide various levels of support.
“It is so important to have that one person a student can go to for whatever is bothering them,” First Lady Justice said. “Whether it be a medical need, a personal need, or a scholastic need, the site coordinator is always there for them. Having caring adults at school and at home is the ideal scenario, though we know that is not always possible. This program is truly changing lives.”
More information about Communities In Schools West Virginia can be found on the new website www.ciswv.org