From the Desk of Jeff Brown State Director Communities In Schools of Michigan
Communities In Schools of Michigan: State office update:
Michigan’s graduation rate in 2014 was 76 percent. In the schools with a Communities In Schools (CIS) site manager responsible for connecting students with targeted and sustained services with community partners, the graduation rate in the same school year was 93.1 percent. Resources provided to the CIS state office increase the number of youth being served in Michigan, foster stronger partnerships at the state and local levels garner more resources for student support and ensure a high standard of quality among CIS Michigan affiliates.
Whether or not a student drops out from high school also has an effect on Michigan’s economy. According to the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE) raising Michigan’s graduation rate to 90% for all students would result in the following annual gains:
• $244 million in increased earnings
• $188 million in increased spending
• $48 million in increased investments
• $632 million in increased home sales
• $24 million in increased auto sales
• 2,150 new jobs
• $328 million in economic growth
• $17 million in increased local tax revenue
Graduation rates are significantly lower in districts with higher percentages of students who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches (a measure of poverty) in both urban and rural Michigan districts. A large percentage of Michigan’s high school students live in these districts. In Michigan nearly 44% (600,000 school age children) live in poverty.
Resource Development has been a key focus of the Board and Staff:
State Farm Insurance, DTE Foundation, THI Inc., Consumers Energy Foundation, AFT, The Skillman Foundation and personal donors have played a significant role in support of efforts to reach more children in Michigan. Local affiliates in Metro Detroit, Kalamazoo, Lenawee County, Mancelona and Tecumseh have been supported by a wide range of sources including, School Districts, Foundations, Philanthropists, Businesses, United Ways and local fund raising events.
The Michigan network of five affiliates has continued to provide significant impact on graduation rates and dropout prevention efforts. The most recent data shows that CIS has been able to change the picture of education for many of Michigan’s most at risk students including:
|Youth Receiving Services||25,237|
|Case Managed Students||2,623|
|Percent of Potential Dropouts Staying In School||99.0%|
|Percent of Seniors Graduated||93.1%|
|Percent Improving Behavior||68.7%|
|Percent Improving Achievement||75.7%|
|Percent Improving Attendance||60.1%|
The State office has been invited by Lansing Public Schools to begin pilot operations in support of students in two buildings during the 2015-16 school year. Washtenaw Intermediate School District has discussed possible expansion of CIS services (currently provided in two Ypsilanti schools by CIS of Metro Detroit) to other Districts in the county. CIS of Kalamazoo with the support of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation has completed a feasibility study into the possible expansion of services throughout the county. CIS of Mancelona is in discussions with community leaders regarding a feasibility study to expand services to other Districts in the Grand Traverse Bay area.
The CIS Michigan Impact Report has been created and distributed (also available on the CIS website at http://www.cismichigan.org/our-results/ ) to report on the achievements of students at CIS school sites in 2014-15. Facebook and twitter posts regularly update followers on the progress of efforts to support students across the state. Media advisories are provided regularly to help focus attention on the needs of at risk students in Michigan, and CIS efforts to help.
Local efforts by stakeholders, to engage lawmakers in understanding and supporting efforts by CIS to reach more children continue. CIS of Michigan continues to participate in productive conversations with Gov Snyder’s office, legislators of both parties and government officials at the Michigan Department of Education, The Department of Health and Human Services and other related government Departments.
Efforts are underway to request policy inclusion in the Michigan Student Code of a definition of (ISS) Integrated Student Supports which sets a high bar for quality. As momentum builds to provide ISS to more at risk students, CIS believes that it is critical that these services are provided by organizations that have an evidence based model independently verified by a third party which has been proven to increase graduation rates, decrease dropouts and improve academic performance.
Efforts continue to be made to work closely with statewide education, economic development and social welfare organizations to link the impacts of CIS’s Integrated Student Services to positive statewide outcomes.
Support of the Network
Working as the liaison to the National CIS office, providing guidance and support and assisting in the development of capacity of the local affiliates has been a high priority. In 2014-15 the CIS State office assisted in the successful accreditation of CIS of Metropolitan Detroit, the reaccreditation of CIS of Mancelona and is supporting reaccreditation efforts at CIS of Lenawee and CIS of Tecumseh. Communities In Schools developed the Total Quality System to establish clear operational guidelines that ensure uniform quality and improved outcomes for all students being served by Communities In Schools affiliates. The TQS system is part of an organization wide commitment to evidence-based practice and the highest standards of accountability. All CIS affiliates are required to meet the standards to achieve accreditation (all CIS local affiliates in Michigan are accredited).
Communities In Schools of Michigan wishes to acknowledge the generous support of State Farm,THI Inc, AFT, DTE Foundation, The Skillman Foundation and Consumers Power along with others for their support of our work. Without them, we would not be able to assist Michigan’s students.