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Communities In Schools (CIS)





Communities In Schools (CIS) was developed in 1977 so that underserved youth could get the assistance they needed to stay in school. The mission of CIS is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. CIS believes that every child needs and deserves five basics: a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult; a safe place to learn and grow; a healthy start to a healthy future; a marketable skill to use upon graduation; and a chance to give back to peers and community.

CIS is a national program (the largest dropout prevention network in America), and it operates in 2300 schools in 25 states and the District of Columbia. CIS addresses the social, emotional, physical, and academic needs of the students it serves. The program actively connects students and parents to educators, local health and service organizations, governmental agencies, and businesses that can provide the essential academic and non-academic services required to provide opportunities for the lifelong success of students.

CIS accomplishes this by providing on-site, integrated student services within the school day such as individual case management, after-school programs, mentoring, health and wellness activities and services, career and college guidance, and service-learning to students identified as at-risk of dropping out of high school.


Target Settings: Rural, urban, inner city
Target Groups Served: At-risk
Districts Served: Charleston County, Greenville County,   Midlands

Research and Evaluation:

What national or other research was considered during the development of this program/initiative? Describe the evidence that shows the program/initiative works.

A national evaluation of the Communities In Schools programs was conducted at the school level for 1,700 participating schools. ICF International surveyed each school to determine the level of implementation of the program components. The high implementation schools partnering with CIS were matched with an equal number of comparison schools without the CIS program.

The initial findings indicate a higher percentage of students reaching proficiency in reading and math in the CIS schools. School-level outcomes, such as academic achievement and attendance, were also higher than in those schools without coordinated services. Finally, the evaluation indicated that CIS is one of only a few scientifically-based programs to show improvements in reducing dropout rates and the only program to improve students’ ontime graduation rates. Nationwide, 79% of CIS students had improved attendance, 86% had fewer incidents of discipline, 80% had improved academic performance, 91% were promoted to the next grade, and 84% of eligible seniors graduated. Only 3% dropped out, which is lower than the national average of 4%. It is also lower than the estimated 6% dropout rate for student populations similar to those served by CIS.

Additional information may be found at, including a Five-Year National Evaluation Executive Summary, a comprehensive analysis of the findings on the impact of Communities In Schools.


Annual Cost: The cost per student is $180
Funding Sources: Each affliate raises money in it's local area through local corporations, United Ways, grants, school districts, etc.
Staffing Needs: After-school teachers and volunteers
Infrastructure/Equipment Needs: Funding for Overhead, Laptops, Staff training
Partner Organizations: Major partners in Greenville include United Way of Greenville County, OnTrack Greenville, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Greenville County Schools, AT&T, Fluor Corporation, Kiwanis Foundation, Hollingsworth Foundation, Greenville Federal Credit Union, Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy, Cresscom Bank, GE, Greenville County Redevelopment Authority, ScanSource, Wells Fargo, Ports Authority, PRISMA Health. 

Contact Information

Susi Smith