York County Community Foundation, the Women’s Giving Circle (WGC), and the United Way of York County have partnered to provide $800,000 in support of Communities In Schools (CIS), a national nonprofit that brings local resources inside schools to help students achieve academic and life success. The Community Foundation’s lead grant of $210,000 from its Fund for York County and its outreach efforts to other donors leveraged a $75,000 grant from the WGC, in addition to $210,000 from the United Way and contributions from numerous donors. The grand total of more than $800,000 will provide three years of support for CIS site coordinators in five York City schools beginning in September, 2014. Site coordinators will work directly with school administrators to provide students access to resources such as tutoring, family counseling, health services, college visits, and others. The pilot schools are still being finalized but at the date of this release include at least William Penn High School and Jackson School.
“In our 2013 education report called “A New Education Model for York,” the Community Foundation called for massive community engagement to help turn around the York City School District and identified Communities in Schools as a proven method to maximize community resources to benefit students,” said Bill Hartman, president of the Community Foundation. “The Community Foundation is thrilled to support Communities In Schools and we’re delighted that other donors agreed with us and recognize the importance of creating a highly effective support system for our city’s students. Integrating Communities in Schools into the York City School District moves us closer to the goal of every student receiving a premier education.”
One of the reasons why this program is needed in York is that close to 90 percent of students in York City schools are from families with limited income, according to Jane Conover, senior vice president of the Community Foundation. Many face challenges of poverty, lack of positive role models, and exposure to crime and violence. Current fiscal challenges within the city school district have led to budget cuts and lack of time and resources to devote to those students most in need.
“This proven program delivers essential resources and support to students and their families and provides an important safety net to help students succeed,” said Conover.
A site coordinator within a school can identify students at risk of dropping out, assess the situation, and establish and maintain the appropriate relationships to help ensure success. Site coordinators will also organize school-wide initiatives such as health services, college fairs, and tutoring services. They will be able to provide one-on-one support or find resources for individual support for students who may need extra attention, and they will develop the necessary partnerships to bring in volunteers such as mentors or health educators.
Communities In Schools has 35 years of experience working in school districts around the country. For more information about Communities In Schools, please visit www.communitiesinschools.org.
For more information about the Community Foundation’s education initiatives, please visitwww.yccf.org/education.asp.