Communities In Schools, Inc. (CIS)

An Effective Practice


Communities In Schools, Inc. (CIS) was founded in 1977 to help adolescents stay in school and graduate from high school. The CIS model assumes that young people in jeopardy of dropping out of school generally have both academic and non-academic problems that need to be addressed. The CIS model is also based on the premise that existing social services are delivered in a fragmented and uncoordinated manner. CIS addresses this problem by operating at school sites and coordinating with various agencies and businesses to deliver needed services to youths and their families. Rather than outlining specific program requirements, the CIS model offers an overall approach for working with youths to help fulfill five basic needs:

"1. A one-on-one relationship with a caring adult.
2. A safe place to learn and grow.
3. A healthy start and a healthy future.
4. A marketable skill to use upon graduation.
5. A chance to give back to peers and the community."

CIS works to fulfill these needs by coordinating following resources: mentors/tutors, health care, academic support, human services, recreation/cultural activities, and employment services. Examples of widely-accessible services that schools with a CIS presence offer are providing clothing or school supplies, topic-specific assemblies, career fairs, field trips, health screenings and grief counseling. Other services are more targeted and sustained, including tutoring, mentoring, individual counseling, before- and afterschool programs and community service.

Goal / Mission

The goal of this program is to strategically connect resources in schools in order to help young people learn, stay in school, and prepare for life.

Results / Accomplishments

During the 2008-2009 school year, CIS programs operated in more than 3,400 schools in 25 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 1.3 million students received services from CIS programs. Results show that 79% of CIS students met their attendance improvement and academic achievement goals, 86% met their behavior improvement goals, and 93% met their reduction of high risk behavior goals.

Among students who were at risk for dropping out of school, 97% stayed in school and 84% of seniors graduated. Among students who finished high school, 66% went on to post-secondary education and 26% entered the workforce.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Communities In Schools National Office
2345 Crystal Drive, Suite 801
Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 519-8999
Education / Student Performance K-12
Social Environment / Children's Social Environment
Health / Mental Health & Mental Disorders
Communities In Schools, Inc. (CIS)
Promising Practices Network
Date of publication
Target Audience
Children, Teens