McNair High students attend Aspire Mentoring Academy event

Communities In Schools of Atlanta students from McNair High School networked with AT&T professionals to learn the importance of education and interview skills during the Aspire Mentoring Academy event Wednesday, May 14.

Douglas County Performance Learning Center students were also in attendance. Students worked in groups to conduct activities related to mock interviews and texting and driving with AT&T representatives. The event concluded with a tour of the AT&T phone store and lunch catered by Chik-fil-A.

Check out photos from the event below.

Career Empowerment Day motivates Clarkston High students

More than 40 working professionals, coupled with five college students, attended Career Empowerment Day on Thursday, May 15 at Clarkston High School.

Organized by Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta Site Coordinator Calleb Obumba, in conjunction with "The Men of Clarkston" male mentoring program, working professionals spoke to various classes around the school during morning and afternoon sessions of the program.

The group consisted of individuals from various fields, including aviation, investment banking, financial planning, counseling, journalism and entrepreneurship. They connected with students through engaging stories of their respective journey to professional success.

Each speaker also provided students with advice on achieving excellence in the classroom, the importance of having good behavior and character, as well as the value of obtaining a high school diploma and college degree.

Check out photos from the day's event:

CIS sponsors Atlanta Press Club Luncheon featuring new APS superintendent

CIS was proud to sponsor the Atlanta Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon on Tuesday, May 13, which featured Dr. Meria Carstarphen in her first public speaking appearance since being selected as the new superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools (APS).

During her remarks, Dr. Carstarphen shared some of the strategies which resulted in impressive graduation rate increases in the Austin school district. Among those strategies were programs to provide "wrap-around services" to the district's students who were at risk of not succeeding.

Several board members of the APS Board of Education attended the event, including four members who joined CIS Board Chair Andy McDill at the table sponsored by CIS of Atlanta.

The luncheon was covered by several media outlets, including those listed below.
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GPB: Great story which includes quotes from Patty Pflum, executive director of CIS of Atlanta.

WABE: Includes an audio version of the story.

Fox 5 News: Includes shots of the CIS banner and footage of Ashley Haynes, a graduating CIS student who attended West End Academy PLC, talking with Dr. Carstarphen and APS board member Dr. Steven Lee.

The following are a few photos from the luncheon:

CIS of Atlanta students win SAM contest

Two Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta students were recognized as winners of their categories in the 2014 Student Achievement Month (SAM) contest.

All state winners of the competition were honored at a celebratory luncheon at the Georgian Terrace on Tuesday, May 6. Westlake High School students Kylan Patterson and Jessieka Reaves received the grand prize of a new laptop computer and printer from Walmart.

Hosted by CIS of Georgia, SAM provides an opportunity for CIS students to gain the confidence and hope needed to succeed in school through an environment of competition and cooperation. Students participate at the local, regional and state level in four categories: written expression, public speaking, computer technology and creative expression. SAM entries depict positive stories regarding how students excelled and assumed responsibility for self-improvement and self-discipline through CIS programs.

Patterson won in the category of written expression and Reaves won in the category of computer technology.

For more information about SAM, please visit

Check out photos of our local winners below.

H.E. Holmes celebrates Cinco de Mayo with family literacy event

Communities In Schools of Atlanta celebrated Cinco de Mayo at Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School last week with a family literacy event filled with various activities.

The celebration featured Afri-Salsa dance classes,a holistic stress station, story-tellers, a disc jockey, bounce houses, a bookmark station, free food and raffle prizes.

Check out photos from the event below:

West End Academy PLC Ceremonies

It was an incredible night as students at the West End Academy Performance Learning Center (PLC) celebrated their progress and took one more step towards their official graduation. Students who enroll at West End Academy PLC -- students who were on the verge of dropping out of a traditional high school -- are still connected to their previous high schools, and when they complete their graduation requirements at West End PLC, they officially graduate from their "home" schools.

During the 2012 - 2013 school year, a total of 108 students earned their diplomas at the PLC, which accounted for more than 5.9% of all Atlanta Public Schools (APS) graduates, in spite of the fact that the PLC's total enrollment represented only 1.8% of total APS high school enrollment! Stay tuned for this year's results.

CIS of Atlanta helps students Choose Success

Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta hosted a memorable celebration to distinguish academic and life accomplishments of students. The students' stories touched the hearts of more than 240 family, friends, educators, elected officials and special guests during the 10th Annual Choose Success Awards Dinner Gala at the Carlos Community Center Thursday, May 1.

Event emcee Monica Pearson of Kiss 104.1FM lead the program while Freddie Falcon and Captain Planet made special appearances to energize the crowd.

The gala recognized elementary, middle and high school students from its Atlanta, DeKalb and Fulton county partner schools for making significant improvements in their attendance, behavior and attendance, and for engaging in service projects that positively impacted their communities.

Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School took first place for their service project in providing more than 75 food baskets to 30 families in need during the Thanksgiving holiday season. The winning group walked away with a $500 award to help continue providing community service.

Individual Student Achievement Award recipients shared their personal heartfelt stories of social and economic hardships and triumphs through interviews featured on video. Students were awarded with T-shirts, certificates, Nook e-readers, bicycles and $100 gift cards.

To view the videos of student profiles shown at the event, please click here.

Dayna Steele, CEO of and a Fortune 500 success strategist, awarded two graduating seniors from West End Academy Performance Learning Center with Chrome Book laptops.

Guest presenters included Rob Wilson, talk show host on WVEE 103FM and WAOK 1380AM, and Leesa Carter, executive director of the Captain Planet Foundation.

A special award presentation was also given to media proprietor of Cox Enterprises, Anne Cox Chambers, honoring her contributions to CIS of Atlanta and for her philanthropic efforts. Executive Vice President for Cox Enterprises Alex Taylor, and grandson of Chambers, accepted the award on her behalf.

The event was sponsored by Coca-Cola, WSB-TV, AT&T and others.

Check out the photo gallery from the gala below:
Photos courtesy of

Students distinguished for academic improvements, impacting their communities

Hershell Edward Holliday’s extreme lack of focus, self-discipline and motivation to boost his grades and low CRCT scores in the eighth grade almost blocked his promotion to the ninth grade following the 2011-2012 school year.

Although Holliday was allowed to advance to the ninth grade at Westlake High School for 2012-2013, he struggled in several of his core classes. He failed six classes and made C’s in the others during his ninth grade year.

Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta’s Site Coordinator Demona Warren developed a plan for the current academic year to help Holliday avoid the danger of repeating ninth grade a third time. He successfully completed online courses over the summer, and he went from failing three classes first semester last year, to passing all of his classes first semester this year.

Due to his hard work and CIS of Atlanta’s support, Holliday received a mid-year promotion and is now classified as a 10th grader. Next year, he will be classified as a fully-accredited 11th grader on track to graduate with his class of 2016.

Holliday is one of several students CIS of Atlanta builds relationships with to increase the number of students who are promoted on time or graduate.

Students within the City of Atlanta, Fulton and DeKalb County partner schools will receive special recognition for improving their academics and impacting their communities during the 10th Annual Choose Success Awards Dinner Gala. Event emcee Monica Pearson of 104.1 FM will lead the ceremony at the Carlos Community Center in Atlanta from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 1. Registration, entertainment and hors d’oeuvres will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Sponsored by WSB-TV, Coca Cola and AT&T, the gala will also honor the contributions of Anne Cox Chambers of Cox Enterprises with a special award presentation.

The Choose Success Program allows students who face various social and economic challenges to be of service to others in need. Young people are able to see that although they face challenges, they are assets to their communities. CIS believes that every child should have opportunities to give back to their peers and their communities.

VIDEO: See what Hershell's mother Wanda has to say about the impact CIS of Atlanta has made in her son's life.

CIS National's brand awareness campaign is seen locally

Communities In Schools National has launched a major public relations and brand awareness campaign called Change the Picture. The campaign, viewed at, features a sample video that will soon be seen, heard and read on broadcast, radio and print media outlets.

The digital mall posters are already visible at several mall locations in the Atlanta area, including Arbor Place Mall, Cumberland Mall, Lenox Square, Mall of Georgia, North Point Mall, Northlake Mall, Perimeter Mall, and Southlake Mall.

Below is a snapshot of the digital mall poster at Southlake Mall taken by Clarkston High School Site Coordinator Calleb Obumba.

Westlake mother daughter tea creates positive fellowship among women

The women and youth of Westlake High School enjoyed their first annual mother daughter tea and fashion show on Saturday, March 29, 2014.

Organized by Communities In Schools of Atlanta Site Coordinator Demona Warren and PTSA, the event was a social gathering that encouraged positive fellowship between mothers and daughters and uplifted real-life experiences displayed through a celebration of femininity.

The event showcased a fashion show, inspirational dance, oral expressions and musical performances arranged by students. Guests also won door prizes, and vendors provided food, gifts and crafts for the women.

Kicks 101.5FM DJ Jenny Hobby Rivera and entertainer Fly Musiq were special guests of honor.

Seaborn Lee Elementary School students receive new books through RIF

Seaborn Lee Elementary School students received new books through a RIF (Reading Is Fundamental) event sponsored by Communities In Schools of Atlanta on Thursday, April 17.

The event helped 500 students gear up for the CRCT exams, as well as making them more excited about reading.

Students chose their own books and were enthusiastic about learning. The RIF event was hugely successful and students are expecting their third RIF event in mid-May.

Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School students learn to cope with death, loss

Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School students in grades three through five learned different ways of coping with issues pertaining to grief and loss through CIS of Atlanta’s partnership with Kate’s Club

Kate’s Club, a social services group, provides demonstrations that help children and teens deal with life after the death of a parent, sibling or loved one.

H.E. Holmes Elementary was the first Fulton County school that had the opportunity to work with Kate’s Club and take part in the educational presentations.


H.E. Holmes Elementary School students get inspired to read

Communities In Schools of Atlanta partnered with KPMG and Fulton County Chairman John Eaves to provide every Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School student with free books during a literacy event Friday, April 18.

Volunteers donated their time to read to nearly 1,000 students. Cat in the Hat also made a special appearance.

Check out the photo gallery from the day's event:

Kroger shoppers can support CIS of Atlanta’s students by shopping for everyday items

Kroger shoppers can now simply swipe their Plus card to support the mission of Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta.

Kroger members must register their Plus card online at, select the organization from the list and click confirm in order to provide fundraising support to CIS of Atlanta.

If a shopper does not have a Kroger Plus card, visit the customer service desk at any Kroger. To get your Kroger Plus card number, call 1-800-576-4377 and select option 4. Members must swipe their registered Kroger Plus card or use the phone number that is related to their registered Kroger Plus card when shopping for each purchase to count toward the fundraiser.

The Kroger Community Rewards Program is committed to helping communities grow and prosper every year by giving millions of dollars to schools, churches and nonprofit organizations.

CIS and McNair MS featured on Fox5 News

Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta was featured on the April 4th edition of Fox5 News at 5 p.m. for providing 300 bags of healthy snacks to students as they prepared to be away from school for Spring Break. Included in the video is McNair Middle School Principal Ronald Mitchell helping to distribute the bags to students and parents. For too many students in metro Atlanta, the meals they receive at school through the free/reduced price program are their only reliable daily sources of nutrition.

In addition to DeKalb County's McNair Middle School, thousands of bags were given away at several other DeKalb County schools, including Cedar Grove High School, Clarkston High School, McNair High School, Stone Mountain High School and Towers High School. Bags were also distributed at Fulton County's Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School (East Point). The bags of food were donated by Street Grace and three Atlanta area churches (Northbrook, Brookhaven Christian Church and Peachtree Presbyterian Church). For more information about the donation, please view our previous artilce.

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