Keeping kids from dropping out of school; that’s the goal of a non-profit called Communities in Schools of the Coastal Bend.
It’s a program that is in 42 schools in the Coastal Bend, including 13 school districts like Kingsville, Premont, Brooks County and Corpus Christi.
Communities in Schools helps students graduate by giving them a community of support.
Bridget Lamoreaux, Assistant Principal at Miller High school says "We have a lot of kids who working till 2 a.m. just to support the families, pay the electric bill, pay the water bill."
That’s because kids are not just worrying about academics, some kids have a lot on their plate.
In fact, according to CIS statistics, 1 out of 5 students in the U.S. lives in poverty. 88 percent of U.S. teachers believe that student poverty is the number 1 barrier to effective learning in the classroom.
Teachers spend 20 percent of their time helping students with problems outside the classroom.
"We’ve had a lot of students recently who their parents are very ill or lost parents and they know they can come here (CIS counselor) to get food," adds Lamoreaux.
Communities In Schools works with administrators and truancy officers among others by placing a liaison in a school. All with one goal. Getting kids to class and more importantly, getting them to graduate.
Kayla Gonzalez, Communities In School counselor says "When I first started, I didn’t know half these problems existed. Everything from not having anyone at home, to homelessness, to not having food. Just every day struggles."
Gonzalez, the CIS liaison at Miller High School, makes daily attendance phone calls and home visits.
Sometimes, during those home visits, counselors find there is no water in the student’s home, they’re food deprived, or even have a parent who works 2-3 jobs to make ends meet.
Communities in schools helps not only the kids themselves but also their families who may be struggling.
"Our kids don’t have everything they need. Basic necessities to live everyday, they don’t have. Things we take for granted, our kids lack," adds Gonzalez.
But CIS of the Coastal Bend is making a difference.
In 2016-2017, CIS of the Coastal Bend case managed 2,364 students.
Reports from TEA indicate:
- 99% Improved academics
- 96% of students were promoted or graduated
- 99% of students stayed in school
Tonight, our Katia Uriarte is Emceeing the CISCB fundraiser at the Richard M. Borchard Fairgrounds, so they can continue to help students overcome their barriers and change the picture in education.