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.

CIS executive director praises education pioneer

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CIS of Atlanta Executive Director Frank Brown, Esq., spoke to those present at a Atlanta City Council June meeting to praise Dr. Dorothy Yancy for the impact she made in his life and her accomplishments in education.

Dr. Yancy received a proclamation from the Atlanta City Council to distinguish her as a pioneer in education and for being such a positive force in the southeast.

A native of Alabama, Yancy is the 14th and 16th president of Shaw University. She was the 12th president of Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), and the first female to hold each of these prestigious titles.

As senior class president of Brown's fourth year at JCSU, Yancy was instrumental in helping Brown obtain his first internship with Congress Mel Watt. Also due to financial hardships during Brown's senior year, Yancy provided financial support for his law school applications, which ended up sparking his interest and career in politics.

Yancy currently sits on CIS of Atlanta's Board of Directors.

Click here to see a news clip from the ceremony on WSB-TV.

Check out photos from the city council meeting:

Tri-Cities High School students bridge the gap over the summer

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Officer Miles Nicholson of the Atlanta Police Department spoke to more than 40 Tri-Cities High School ninth-grade students about dealing with figures of authority, how to talk to police and consequences of negative behavior.

Officer Nicholson was last week's featured guest speaker as part of the Summer Bridge program. With the theme of "Hunger Games," the program encourages students to support and motivate their peers.

Using a variety of differentiated instruction, students participated in academic competitions, scavenger hunts, social skills games and team-building activities while reading the novel "Hunger Games." Guest speakers were invited each week to provide students with a motivational experience. The Summer Bridge program concluded with a field trip to Pin Strikes Entertainment Center for team-building activities and a recognition ceremony.



CIS of Atlanta hosted the Summer Bridge program at Tri-Cities, along with other partner schools within DeKalb and Fulton county public school systems. The Summer Bridge program allows incoming ninth-graders to engage in learning activities focused around the subjects of math and reading to help them retain knowledge over the summer. CIS staff integrate a variety of creative activities to promote and enhance the team building experience.

Students are provided with a free, nutritious breakfast and lunch each day of the program.

Check out the video of Tri-Cities students during the Summer Bridge program:

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