Communities In Schools (CIS) is a network of local, state, and national partnerships organized as 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporations. The classroom model allows students to take an elective class that concentrates on life skills, employment topics, and remedial education and may also incorporate conflict resolution, violence prevention, and community service. The class may be taught by volunteers who mentor and tutor students and may use health and human service staff in leadership roles. The CIS academy model is organized as an alternative school, including the same types of instruction as the classroom model.
The Urban Institute tracked a sample of 659 students who had been enrolled in CIS during the 1989–90 and 1990–91 school years, evaluating the effectiveness of CIS programs five years earlier. The Urban Institute also interviewed senior-level CIS headquarters staff and other staff in five regional and six state offices. Secondary data analyses included a review of documents. Site visits to 17 communities provided data on replication, training, and technical assistance from older CIS projects. Data on students (attendance, grade-point averages, course grades) was extracted from CIS project files and school records.
The evaluation found that high proportions of CIS students remained in school or graduated. Eighty percent of students who participated in CIS during 1989–90 or 1990–91 were still in school or had graduated three years later (1992–93). The cumulative dropout rate for CIS students was about 7 percent annually. CIS students with serious and moderately severe problems in attendance and academic performance improved. Seventy percent of students with high absenteeism improved, and 60 percent of students with poor grades improved after participating in CIS. The majority of the 391 students surveyed believed they benefited from CIS.
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (Title V Program): Promising program structure
Ms. Elizabeth Mejia
Communities In Schools, Inc.
11965 Southwest 142nd Terrace, Unit 102
Miami, FL 33186
Phone: (305) 252-5444
Fax: (305) 524-3501
Web site: http://www.cismiami.org
Cantelon, S., and LeBoeuf, D. (1997). “Keeping Young People in School: Community Programs That Work.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Rossman, S. B., and Morley, E. 1995. The National Evaluation of Cities In Schools: Executive Summary. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.