The dropout rate in the public school system is a serious problem. Once a student drops out, their chance of becoming successful in life is slim. Students who drop out are often on the fast track… the fast track to failure. Those who drop out often end up in prison or in a minimum wage job which ensures their becoming a slave to the system.
However, Communities in Schools is a nationwide network of professionals working to keep kids in school so they can achieve academic success and more. Communities in Schools provides a framework that students can build upon. The organization is now at work in 27 states and the District of Columbia.
The nonprofit group attempts to “surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.” They first try to address those who are most at risk and step in to turn things around.
Communities in Schools works together with professionals and creates a partnership bond to provide access to community resources. They bridge the gap between “schools and businesses, faith groups, and other nonprofit agencies, identifying and mobilizing local resources to provide a range of services such as: mentoring, tutoring, health care, summer and after-school programs, family counseling, and service learning.”
The organization was formed in 1977 and has become one of the most successful groups in dropout prevention. Bill Milliken founded the organization when he was a youth advocate in New York City. Having spent so much time working with youth, he recognized the fact that public schools were often lacking in basic resources and support. Further, there were not many organization which worked at holding schools and students accountable. He knew there was a fundamental need for this type of program.
Specifically, Communities in Schools places site coordinators in schools to find out what students need most. Then, they partner with local businesses, social service agencies and health care providers to get students access to these program. Sometimes there is a need for food, school supplies, counseling, or even just a positive role model.
You can tell Communities in Schools helps put at-risk students on terra firma. Having their basic needs met seems so simple, and yet something so simple is often what is needed the most.