Communities in Schools (CIS)
Mission – Communities In Schools of Central Texas surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.
History – Communities In Schools of Central Texas (CIS) was founded in 1985 in response to the growing number of school dropouts and began serving HCISD in 1991. Over the last 30 years, CIS has grown to serve tens of thousands of students and families throughout Central Texas and has become a valued partner with school personnel in helping students stay in school and engaged in learning. CIS of Central Texas is part of the national CIS network and has participated in rigorous evaluation that demonstrates our effectiveness.
Focus – Many students face significant challenges in their lives that make it difficult to fully focus on learning. Conflict with peers, grief, unmet mental health needs, isolation, hunger, and domestic violence are a few examples of factors that, if not addressed, could cause a student to fall behind academically and eventually drop out. The goal of CIS’ work is that students come to school consistently, are academically successful, are engaged in the learning process, and have a plan for the future.
How CIS Works – CIS places social service professionals (social workers and counselors) full-time on campuses to work with students experiencing non-academic barriers to their learning. Our staff members work closely with school personnel to identify students who are struggling in school and then complete a thorough assessment with each referred student to determine underlying needs. CIS staff set goals with each student and then provide and coordinate an array of social services in response to the unique needs on the campus and of the students referred. Participation in CIS is voluntary, and CIS staff always obtain parental permission before providing ongoing services. CIS leverages a wealth of community resources and connects students with AmeriCorps members, interns, community volunteers and other service providers, if appropriate, to more fully meet students’ needs. Often, CIS staff are asked to coordinate the work of other organizations from the community who serve students periodically on campus. Because CIS staff work full-time in the school, they are also available to support students and faculty in times of crisis on that campus.
CIS Services – CIS staff work intensively with students over the course of the school year (or longer if needed) to help address identified attendance issues, behavior challenges, unmet mental health needs, and difficulties engaging in learning. CIS typically maintains a caseload of approximately 100 students per campus and students are served weekly with services that are tailored to address the unique identified needs of each child. Common services on students’ treatment plans include:
Individualized Student Support
- Individual counseling, crisis intervention, mentoring, mediation, conflict resolution
- Group counseling (grief and loss, anger management, reducing risky behaviors, social skills development)
- Tutoring and academic support, goal setting activities
- Prevention and Engagement Services
- Leadership development activities (XYZone)
- Enrichment activities, field trips, service learning projects, college / career awareness activities
Communities in School (CIS) Service Coverage - 2016-2017
Camino Real Elementary
Tom Green Elementary
Chapa Middle School
McCormick Middle School
Simon Middle School
Wallace Middle School
Hays High School
Lehman High School