Children don’t start school thinking about dropping out. Instead they dream about the day they can walk across the stage and earn their diploma. But each year, that dream ends for 1.3 million students. As startling as it seems, 8,300 students drop out of school every year. What that really means is that every 26 seconds a student loses his or her way on their journey to graduation, and the dream comes to a screeching halt.
Students decide to drop out for many reasons, and painting a picture of a typical dropout is a difficult task. For some, it’s because of something that happens outside school -- they make bad choices or have to work to support members of their family. Others decide to leave because of poor academic performance, a disconnect between school academics and work, lack of parent engagement, or not enough individualized attention.
But in schools with the Communities In Schools model, students have a safety net which makes them more likely to succeed. The model ensures that a site coordinator assesses the students’ needs, and connects students and their families to basic and critical educational and community-based resources in 31 affiliates across the state. With the site coordinator at the school, a relationship is built, and the needed services become personal and accountable.
The model has been proven to work. Communities In Schools -- the nation’s leading organization dedicated to empowering students to stay in school -- has a 90 percent graduation rate in Georgia. Also, more than 95 percent of students served by CIS are promoted to the next grade level each year. An independent five-year evaluation conducted by ICF International found that CIS is one of a very few organizations proven to keep students in school and the only one to document that it increases graduation rates.
Our unique model is also cost-effective and has a major impact on the economy. A performance audit requested by the State House Appropriations Committee shows that for every state dollar invested in CIS, the return is $18.
We know our model works. And each year, we help more than 125,000 students keep the dream of graduation alive. But we can’t do it alone.You can help us support these under-served youth, improve graduation rates, and increase the number of students we serve each year. Together, we can make it more than the American Dream, we can make it every children’s dream. Together we can change the picture of education in Georgia.