Walmart's Back-to-School drive to benefit CIS students!

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CIS of Atlanta is partnering with Walmart locations throughout Georgia to collect school supplies for economically-disadvantaged students through the annual Build a Backpack Back-to-School Supply Drive. The supplies will help at-risk students start the new school year off on the right track by providing materials needed to attain success in the classroom.

From July 13 through Aug. 31, designated bins located in the front of select Walmart locations will allow shoppers to donate school supplies. All school supplies are needed, including backpacks, pencils, pens, erasers, crayons, markers, loose leaf paper, glue, binders, calculators, rulers and scissors. The Walmart stores where donations will benefit CIS of Atlanta are located at 1105 Research Center, Atlanta, GA 30331 (Cascade area) and 844 Cleveland Ave, East Point, GA 30344.

Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) is also hosting a Back-to-School drive to support King Middle School students. Other organizations, including Frazier & Deeter and Infosys, have provided support in the past to CIS of Atlanta students through their own Back-to-School drives.

You can also join these efforts by organizing a Back-to-School Drive at your office, church, civic activities or gatherings, and encourage friends and co-workers to donate. CIS of Atlanta can provide collection bins if necessary. For more information about getting started or conducting a drive, please email Partnerships Manager Dionne Butler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Finally, you can support CIS students from the comfort of your home by donating online. Include "Back to School Supplies" in the "Campaign" box under Donor Information. A donation of just $25 can help a child be prepared for success when they return to school!

CIS applauds Senate for passage of the Every Child Achieves Act

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ARLINGTON, VA. — July 16, 2015 — Communities In Schools (CIS), the nation’s largest and most effective dropout prevention organization, today issued the following statement praising the United States Senate for demonstrating leadership in passing the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act of 2015.

“Today the Senate has taken a bold step forward in recognizing that schools working with communities can address academic achievement and poverty simultaneously. By allowing educators to integrate wraparound services and provide supports that help disadvantaged kids focus on learning, we will improve student achievement. This bill is a victory for our nation’s children,” said Dan Fuller, vice president for legislative relations.

Fuller added, “Research has demonstrated that these services play a significant role in raising student achievement and blunting the impact of poverty. For educators and school leaders, wraparound services (integrated student supports) strategically deliver needed resources that enable students to focus on learning and teachers to focus on teaching. There is no question that this an important resource for educators. In a recent national poll of 700 teachers conducted by CIS and Public Opinion Strategies, 88% of respondents reported that poverty is a barrier to effective learning in public schools.

Perhaps most importantly, wraparound services are critical to changing the picture of education in our country for millions of students. Research has proven that these evidence-based programs and activities work. For example, among those students receiving our targeted interventions in 2014-2015, 97% were promoted to the next grade, 99% stayed in school and 96% of eligible seniors graduated. In addition to yielding substantial academic improvement, the requirement for wraparound services/integrated student supports ensures taxpayer resources are being used to deliver programs and approaches proven to work. On behalf of the nearly 1.5 million young people we serve, we call on the Congress to include provisions for wraparound services in the final compromise version, and move swiftly to ensure it is enacted into law.”

Why Most Students are Getting the Least Out of School

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Did you know that the majority of our nation's K-12 students are living in poverty and are systematically lacking the external supports they need to succeed in school? In his well-informed, compelling talk, Dan Cardinali, President of Communities in Schools, makes a very passionate plea for weaving Integrated Student Supports into the very design of public education in order to drive students' holistic development while negating poverty's predictive effect on lower academic performance.

Dan Cardinali is president of Communities In Schools (CIS), the nation’s largest and most effective dropout prevention organization serving nearly 1.5 million students in 26 states and the District of Columbia. Under his leadership, the organization has been recognized for developing a highly effective model for decreasing dropouts and increasing graduation rates.

As a thought leader in the field of public education, Cardinali has positioned CIS as the leading, evidence-based provider in a burgeoning field of Integrated Student Supports. Credited with fostering the growing national trend toward community involvement in schools through partnerships with parents, businesses, policymakers and local nonprofit groups, CIS is uniquely focused on two things: 1) the integration of existing community resources to meet student needs on both an individual and community level and 2) ongoing evaluation and incorporating what works into the network-wide model.

Communities In Schools is acutely aware of the 11 million students that remain in need of this effective model. This awareness has fueled CIS’ innovative notions of non-linear scale, a challenging strategy for the financially constrained nonprofit sector. Cardinali’s singular focus on providing opportunity to all students has been fueled by his experience working with impoverished communities in the South Bronx, Appalachia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Mexico. He is a respected voice in the national debate over education reform, frequently informs the news media, and routinely partners with think tanks, strategic funders, universities and policy forums.

Cardinali is a 2007 Annie E. Casey Children and Families Fellow and leads the K-12 subcommittee of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Education Excellence for Hispanics. He also serves on the boards of America’s Promise, Independent Sector, Peace First and Child Trends. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a master’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. To learn more, click here

Dollar General Literacy Foundation awards CIS of Atlanta $2K grant to support summer literacy

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In late May, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation awarded Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta a $2,000 grant to support summer literacy.

“Students who are unable to read on grade level by the third grade are significantly more likely to drop out before completing high school,” said Frank Brown, executive director of CIS of Atlanta. “Communities In Schools is working to help parents keep their children engaged in learning over the summer break to prevent the loss of academic skills when kids aren’t regularly involved in learning experiences. We’re so excited for the support of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to help keep our students off the summer slide.”

CIS of Atlanta will serve students at Hamilton E. Holmes Elementary School during the three-week summer program by providing reading kits for both classroom and home use as part of the Read, Write and Communicate Camp. The summer reading program complements the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) program that CIS sponsors during the school year, through which the organization provides three FREE books to EVERY student at partner elementary schools!

“It is exciting to see the impact grants from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation make throughout the country, especially as we cross the $100 million threshold in overall donations and the difference it has made to nearly six million people,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. “The Dollar General Literacy Foundation truly embodies the company’s mission of Serving Others throughout the communities we serve.”

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is proud to support initiatives that help others improve their lives through literacy and education. Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $100 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping nearly six million individuals take their first steps toward literacy or continued education.

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