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Report: Communities in Schools enhances education

Resource type: News

Temple Daily Telegram |

Original Source

by Robert Stinson | City Writer

Communities in Schools reduces dropouts and increases graduations, a recent report released by the Texas Education Agency said.

The report showed Communities in Schools has increased math achievements, parental involvement and keeping costs per student low in the regional area, which is comprised of the Temple, Belton, Salado, Copperas Cove and Killeen independent school districts.

Dr. Robin Battershell, Temple ISD superintendent and former Communities in Schools executive director, said the program in Temple schools has proven beneficial.

“The beauty of the program is that it is a non-profit organization and is housed in the school buildings,” she said, adding the components of the program are designed to interface with community resources and the schools.

“Sometimes it’s not within our expertise to know who to go to for these social services,” she said. “CIS is a great conduit for that interconnectivity.”

Program offices are strategically placed on campuses where there is the greatest need in order to provide easier access to the social programs, she said.

The Temple school campuses with case officers are Hector P. Garcia, Meredith-Dunbar and Raye-Allen elementary schools; Bonham, Travis and Lamar middle schools; Temple High School; Wheatley Alternative Education Center; and Fred W. Edwards High School Academy.

Dr. Battershell said as students progress to higher grades, the program will be on their future campuses.

Michael Dewees, director of resource development of Communities in Schools, based in Killeen, said that during the 2007-08 year Communities in Schools served 1,472 at-risk students in the Temple ISD.

He said 81 percent of the students were economically disadvantaged, 36 percent did not pass all portions of the TAKS exam, 28 percent were involved in family conflict, 17 percent had been retained at grade level and 9 percent were limited English proficient.

The numbers only include those served by Communities in Schools, and are not district-wide totals.

Caseworkers in Bell and Coryell counties managed more than 8,000 students.

Communities in Schools provided more than 388,000 services to students and their families through more than 276,000 hours during 2007-08, according to Mary Erwin Barr, executive director.

She said the report indicates the program is particularly effective for the highest need students.

In handling its cases, Communities in Schools staff utilizes guidance and counseling, educational enhancement, parental and family involvement, enrichment activities, Health and Human Services Coordination and job skills training.

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