Communities In Schools focuses on meeting the unique needs of students and schools in their local communities, while participating in a strong national and statewide network with a long history of working to keep kids in school.
The story of Communities In Schools began in the 1970s, when founder Bill Milliken, then a youth advocate in New York City, came up with the idea of bringing community resources inside public schools where they are accessible, coordinated and accountable.
From this grassroots beginning, Communities In Schools grew into the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization, now in 25 states and the District of Columbia.
Communities In Schools began operating in Washington in 1991 at the urging of Boeing, Costco and other business and education leaders. They were concerned about the burden on public schools, which were increasingly expected to provide for the basic needs of students in addition to education.
Communities In Schools offered a solution with its comprehensive, coordinated, and cost-effective strategy, as well as evidence of success in other parts of the country. With support from major employers, Communities In Schools of Washington took root and now operates in 20 school districts statewide.
We’ve come a long way since the first Whatcom Community and Education Summit of June 26th, 2006 which was attended by seventy five community, business, school, and social service providers. Since then a group of dedicated individuals has worked hard to make education in Whatcom County more effective.
The urgent community concerns which spurred us on?
Local schools rising dropout rate and on- time completion rate is only 74%. Fewer than 50% of students graduating from high school are prepared for work or further education. A trend of diminishing parent engagement and support for education.Fewer supports for at-risk middle and high school students, e.g. mentoring, tutoring, and basic need assistance.
Determined to address these big challenges, CIS Whatcom was formed.
The Board determined that it would be best to initially concentrate the efforts of CIS Whatcom in two school districts, Nooksack and Bellingham. We wanted to gain experience in working with communities and school administrators and to develop best practices. As an affiliate of Communities in Schools of Washington, we share their mission which is:
Communities in Schools champions the connection of needed community resources with schools to help young people successfully learn, stay in school, and prepare for life.
Since then we have been adding board members, expanding opportunity for kids and families and moving forward with our core objective: helping kids stay in school and prepare for life.