Locally the organization supports more than 7,000 students and their families across 16 different school campuses
Communities In Schools (CIS) of Memphis, an affiliate of CIS national, works within public and charter schools to help at-risk students stay in school and succeed in life.
Recently, the local team achieved national accreditation by demonstrating compliance with all Communities In Schools Total Quality System (TQS) standards. These define the organization’s expectations for effective non-profit business practices and implementation of the model of Integrated Student Supports. The standards are based on a five-year national evaluation conducted by an independent evaluator that documented the impact of the Communities In Schools model. The assessment revealed that schools implementing this model with high fidelity achieved higher graduation rates and lower dropout rates.
Communities In Schools of Memphis have served students and families in the Memphis and Shelby County community for more than seven years. The team of 21 specialists works directly in schools to support individual students and entire schools with a wide range of services. Just last year, they helped approximately 7,500 Shelby County students across 21 campuses by meeting basic needs and distributing supplies such as food, bedding, school supplies, clothing, transportation passes, and much more. This type of support has a direct impact on academic achievement and attendance rates. One of the most significant benefits is an improved overall school environment because it creates and fosters relationships between the adults in the schools and the students they serve.
The model is so effective that the U.S. Department of Education recently included it in the COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs. This handbook provides additional strategies for safely reopening America’s schools to promote educational equity while endorsing the Communities In Schools program as one effective strategy to support students in an integrated way.
“We are grateful to our educational partners, SCS, ASD, and Charters, who believe in the impact that our program can have in the lives of students. Due to their continued partnership and support, we can service Memphis and Shelby County in such a comprehensive way. The recent endorsement by the USDOE reflects the hard work and dedication of the entire Communities In School program both locally and nationally. This devotion is making a huge difference throughout the nation. We’re never giving up on our youth. We’re true believers in seeing them soar,”
said Sonji Branch, CEO of Communities In Schools of Memphis.