"Frankly Speaking" Blog

CIS provides low-income students a chance to achieve academically

According to a new research bulletin from the Southern Education Foundation, low income students are now a majority of the children in America’s classrooms. The report found that on average 51 percent of students across the U.S. were low-income in 2013, as reported in a recent AJC Get Schooled blog.

Among the 21 states with majority of low-income students, Georgia placed seventh with 60 percent of kids of low-income.

The Southern Education Foundation research bulletin concluded:

“The trends of the last decade strongly suggest that little or nothing will change for the better if schools and communities continue to postpone addressing the primary question of education in America today: what does it take and what will be done to provide low income students with a good chance to succeed in public schools? It is a question of how, not where, to improve the education of a new majority of students. If this new majority of students fail in school, an entire state and an entire region will fail simply because there will be inadequate human capital in Southern states to build and sustain good jobs, an enjoyable quality of life, and a well-informed democracy. It is that simple.”

Given the changing demographics in our schools, the work of Communities In Schools of Atlanta is becoming increasingly more important.

During the 2013-2014 academic year, 79 percent of students at our Fulton County partner schools qualified for free or reduced price lunches, while 73 percent of students qualified in our DeKalb County partner schools.

CIS of Atlanta organizes its service delivery within a framework of six focus areas that are critical to students’ success in school, including supporting academic and career enrichment, improving student attendance and behavior, providing support to families to meet basic needs, increasing parent engagement with their child’s education, and increasing community partnerships.

We recognize that in order for children to succeed in school, they must have their basic needs met. Students and families at our 17 CIS schools have access to a variety of support services, including a CIS Emergency Fund that allows families to pay rent, utilities, clothing, food or critical health care services in a time of crisis. Last school year, 40 families in CIS partner schools received emergency grants totaling more than $12,500!

We assist with several common and unique family situations. Like the two ninth- grade siblings who were referred to CIS services by their school counselor for uniform assistance. However, after meeting with the siblings’ mother, who was on long-term disability, the family was also in need of school supplies and food assistance. CIS of Atlanta provided $250 to support the students’ academic and personal needs. Due to CIS Emergency Fund assistance, the siblings became compliant with the school’s uniform policy and they averted negative consequences.

Similarly, we recently worked with a single mother of a high school student who began experiencing financial hardship due to her work hours being reduced. With a total of three children- including a newborn and a child in college- she became short on her rent payment. CIS of Atlanta’s Emergency Fund was able to provide financial support to the family and the high school student was able to focus on his academics and improve his behavior.

The CIS of Atlanta Emergency Fund is made possible through support from the Hank Aaron Fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta and from the Camp-Younts Foundation (administered by SunTrust). We are committed to increasing the availability of these funds to more families because the need is great! To contribute to the Emergency Fund, please contact Cliff Albright, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or simply visit our donation page and select Emergency Fund as the campaign you would like to support.

Frank Brown, Esq.
Executive Director