State Farm Insurance has made its third consecutive investment in Communities In Schools of Michigan. The evidence based model is the nation’s leading dropout prevention program. The State Farm investment will assist CIS to “change more lives”, increasing graduation rates and academic achievement, leading to more post-secondary opportunities and success. Here are comments excerpted from two CIS Alumni’s testimony to the State Board of Education from Feb of 2014. (Names have been changed to protect privacy)
“At the age of fourteen I was placed in the foster care system, and for the first time, I was enrolled in an urban public school. Adjusting to the culture of the school along with not having a family in a position to support me was difficult.
My site coordinator was caring and supportive. Honestly, she was like family with her warm spirit and infectious smile. Whatever I desired to do, she would encourage me and find resources to support me….she was like a second mom/grandma. She would not let you slide. It was the perfect mixture of tough love and a soft heart. She was exactly what my school and the community needed.
Often times, people seem to forget the things that transpire outside of school effects how students perform in school. I am glad ….she was there to bridge the gap of needed services in my life”. (Currently enrolled at the University of Michigan)
“In spite of their work ethic, our family never had much. My parents wanted more for us, but really didn’t have an understanding of how we would achieve that. By the time I had reached high school, three of my older siblings had dropped out of school. One of my sisters became pregnant her senior year of high school.
I missed a lot of school because it was easy for me to skip. I was not overly concerned with turning in my assignments or completing required work even though I was bright enough to do well. It was this time in my life that I became involved with Communities In Schools
I became involved with a drama club that was supported by CIS ….I loved that drama club. To be involved, I had to get my grades up and come to school more often, which I did. I helped to design the set, choose costumes, and I also got a small part in the play. It was the first time I ever had a sense of accomplishment”. (Currently enrolled at Ferris State University)
The State Farm Insurance investment is supporting efforts to expand efforts by Communities In Schools to reach more at risk students, such as those who testified above. The state office of CIS assures quality, data collection, fidelity to the proven CIS model and builds capacity for existing CIS Michigan affiliates to provide more services to more at risk students.