Back to School with Communities In Schools
Message from Communities In Schools of Los Angeles: DACA
The Give That Keeps on Giving
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Tuesday, November 22, 2016VIEW MORE
Surrounding Students with a Community of Support
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Hello, supporters and friends:
Last week, I visited each of our schools in the wake of an unprecedentedly divisive election. I left feeling incredibly hopeful and energized. I am truly honored and grateful to work with such an amazing group of social service professionals, and I want to take a moment to thank each of you for all that you do to support us and our students.
As I went through my day, it was evident that the outcome of this election has been difficult both personally and professionally for many of us. It has also been incredibly challenging for our students. Each school I visited shared that students are feeling fearful and anxious about what’s to come; fears of being deported, fears of losing health insurance for parents who are sick, as well as their personal safety. At the same time, I heard messages of strength, of resilience, and of courage to continue moving forward. Our site coordinators were holding space for students and adults alike to process, identify coping skills, and build community. In those spaces, students were not only coming forward with fears, but also with messages of hope and encouragement.
As I made my way through Los Angeles, I was able to experience the power of our youth’s voice and leadership, in choosing to walk out of school. I spoke with one student we work with and she explained that the purpose of the walk-out was not in protest of this election’s outcome, it was not “anti” anyone. The purpose was to bring our communities together and create a space to support each other amidst these difficult times. I’m so encouraged by our youth and know that they will carry us through.
At the end of the day, I left feeling hopeful and reassured that the work we are doing is not only important, but needed as we continue to build equitable educational environments. We will continue to work towards leveling the playing field for black and brown students by providing the individual resources they need and we will continue to support schools in creating academic environments that take into consideration the many barriers that our students face.
Thank you for all that you do!
Chief Program Director
Celebrating Our Students: 93% Graduation Rate
Tuesday, August 9th, 2016
Celebrating our #CISLAClassof2016 graduates
Wednesday, June 8th, 2016
March Madness, Camp CAA, and More!
Friday, March 11th, 2016
Happy Thanksgiving from CISLA!
First Day of School!
CIS of Los Angeles and Proyecto Pastoral Receive National
2015 Unsung Heroes Award
John Liechty Middle School Named One of Four School
At the CIS National Town Hall Convention in New Orleans on January 22, Communities In Schools of Los Angeles was named a 2015 Unsung Heroes Awards winner in two categories. CISLA, Proyecto Pastoral and Mendez High School were recognized for their collective impact in Boyle Heights, and our site team at John Liechty Middle School was honored for their outstanding work in helping students overcome obstacles to succeed in school and achieve in life.
CISLA was one of nine Unsung Heroes Awards winners across the country. Read more and watch a video of the work being done in Promesa Boyle Heights here and one of John Liechty and other CIS
These awards are shared by all of us at CISLA for the hard work and dedication to meeting students’ needs. We are grateful to be recognized and will continue doing whatever it takes to provide the highest quality of services to students and families in LAUSD.VIEW MORE
Linked Learning, New Partners, and Robert Downey, Jr.
Hello CISLA supporters – it has been some time since our last communication with you! This school year has gotten off to a rapid start and we have been busy at work.
In June, 97% of our seniors GRADUATED from high school. This was a 4% increase from the year before and is 10-20% higher than what is happening school-wide. We have also expanded our program to include Santee High School in South Los Angeles, which is the feeder high school for Clinton Middle School. This means that the sixth graders with whom we began working three years ago are now 9th graders at their local high schools, but still part of CIS. Ninth grade is a critical year for students – we are grateful to you for providing the support to enable us to be there for them during this transitional year.
The district and its policies are in constant flux in an effort to improve learning for students. We are dedicated to working closely with the district to understand new systems and policies so that we can continue to ensure that our students’ needs are met.
Over a year ago, we began programming specifically related to supporting our young men of color with CIS’s own XY Zone. We have very recently been invited to partner with LAUSD in the first ever Young Men of Color Conference & Movement. The purpose of this conference is to provide these young men with a village of support to help them achieve academically and graduate from high school college and career ready. Thank you to Dr. Brenda Manuel for inviting us to join you and your team. We are privileged to be a part of your village.
“It takes a village,” a wise woman (or two) have said and it does. I hope that you all continue to stay involved in our work whether as funders, volunteers or people who can help to amplify our message.
Executive Director, Communities In Schools of Los Angeles
NEW BOARD MEMBERS
We are pleased to welcome two new board members: CAA’s Risa Gertner, and Sabas Carrillo, President of Adnant, LLC.
CAA SCHOOL DAY
Thank you to CAA for raising over $500,000 for CISLA and Donorschoose.org at the second annual School Day celebration and for hosting an amazing Lunch with a Leader event at Bouchon. The restaurant also invited eight students from Santee High School’s culinary arts program to apprentice in the kitchen. As one student put it, “We didn’t just get to watch how it worked – we got to experience it ourselves!” Also joining the lunch were Halle Berry, Robert Downey, Jr., Stacey Snider, Ron Meyer, Buzz Aldrin, Jon Hamm, and Jennifer Lee (of “Frozen”).
Over the summer, we partnered with LAUSD and United Way of Greater Los Angeles in Linked Learning. Linked Learning combines rigorous academics with career-based learning and real-world workplace experiences in a proven approach to transform the way students learn. We are excited to be bringing Linked Learning best practices to our partner schools, and to be expanding our reach to include Hollywood, Hawkins, Hilda Solis, Fremont and Contreras High Schools. We would like to welcome Shadae Sherrod, our Work-Based Learning Coordinator, to the team.
CISLA Announces 94% Graduation Rates!
As kids around the country are graduating, Communities In Schools of Los Angeles – part of the nation’s largest and most effective organization dedicated to keeping kids in school and helping them succeed in life – today released a report demonstrating the organization’s impact on dropout rates, highlighted by local success stories. The report was released as part of a national public awareness campaign featuring young people from around the country who have graduated from high school as a result of their involvement with Communities In Schools. To view the full Los Angeles report, click here.VIEW MORE
A Thanksgiving Update from Executive Director, Deborah Marcus
It’s been an exciting fall for Communities In Schools of Los Angeles. Check out our Thanksgiving message from Executive Director, Deborah Marcus, in our fall newsletter here!VIEW MORE
See’s Candy Factory Tour Benefits CISLA!
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett toured the See’s Candy factory with the Staub family to benefit Communities In Schools of Los Angeles. All of those bonbons really helped to support CISLA and our students! Watch the NBC news coverage here!VIEW MORE
School Day Auction a Tremendous Success!
The Creative Artists Agency School Day Auction on Charitybuzz.com has raised more than $450,000 to benefit Communities In Schools of Los Angeles! Auction donors include entertainment and business icons, including Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon, Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman, business magnate Warren Buffett, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, and Disney CEO Bob Iger. We have also received nearly $115,000 in financial contributions bringing the current total to $565,000 so far for the School Day campaign!
Check out some of our press here:VIEW MORE
Back to School with Communities In Schools!
CISLA is excited to begin the 2013-2014 school year! On Tuesday, we started up again at our twelve LAUSD partner schools, where we were busy welcoming back returning students and greeting new 6th and 9th graders.
(Clockwise from top left: Clinton Middle School Site Director, Daniella Shina, with students; Clinton Middle School Site Coordination, Jaqwel ‘Q’ Brown, with students; Mendez High School Site Coordinator, Tomas Licea, with students; Webster Middle School students showing off their CIS shirts.)VIEW MORE
CISLA & CAA’s School Day Auction Featured on CBS!
Support Communities In Schools of Los Angeles by winning an item in the CAA School Day Auction at charitybuzz.com/schoolday! KCAL9’s Cristy Fajardo met up with CISLA Executive Director, Deborah Marcus, to discuss one of the action items: an all-you-can-eat tour of the Los Angeles See’s Candy factory, followed by a meet & greet with Warren Buffet, during which the billionaire will demonstrate the ‘proper’ way to eat a bonbon! Watch the video here.
Clinton Middle School Wins Diplomas Now Middle School of the Year Award!
At the 2013 Diplomas Now Summer Institute, CISLA’s own Clinton Middle School was recognized as the Diplomas Now Middle School of the year! Clinton has embraced Diplomas Now and after two years has achieved impressive gains:
– Maintaining a 97% attendance rate through every month of the school year
– 75% of 8th graders met culmination requirements-a 14% increase over 2012-2013
– A 28% increase in the number of 8th graders passing the algebra end of course exam
Congratulations to the Clinton CIS Site Team Daniella Shina, MSW, and Jacqwel ‘Q’ Brown!
Daniella, Q and Clinton Students at the CISLA 2013 SCHOOL LIFE GalaVIEW MORE
Stanford Social Innovation Review Recognizes Communities In Schools
The award-winning magazine, Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), has taken a closer look at the effectiveness of Communities In Schools, detailing how our national network mixes the hard data of our research and evaluation with the soft skills of our caring site coordinators to empower students to achieve.
Take a minute to hear how SSIR recognizes our hard work and dedication to students across the nation here: http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/keeping_kids_in_school
As Communities In Schools National President Dan Cardinali explains, “We train our site coordinators the way you’d train a doctor as a diagnostician, to work on both prevention and intervention.” That attention to detail and careful orientation we provide our site coordinators has paid off here at Communities In Schools of Los Angeles – during this past school year we helped 2,300 students stay in school.VIEW MORE
Making College Dreams Come True
It started with two students, seniors at Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, Calif., who had the American dream like so many others to get a college education. Only these students were undocumented immigrants – they were brought by their parents to the U.S. as children, but never granted legal citizenship. And while they have been guaranteed access to K-12 education through the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Plyer v. Doe, without a social security number, they could only apply for college as non-U.S. citizens. That meant paying hefty tuition fees since they were ineligible for state or federal financial aid. Their dreams were dangerously close to becoming faded memories.
Then they heard the story of Karina Chavarria, a Communities In Schools of Los Angeles graduation coach at Hamilton, who herself had been undocumented but had gone on to obtain both her undergraduate and master’s degrees. And suddenly, the vision of becoming a college student came into sharper focus.
“I tell them my story – who I am, what I’ve been through and how I got here,” said Chavarria, who was 25 before she was granted citizenship. She knows the psychological toll that comes with being silent about being undocumented, and of waiting and wanting, because she has lived through it.
“They don’t say anything while they’re listening but you can see that they understand I know exactly what they are facing. When I stop talking they come up to me and say, ‘Can you help me get into college?’”
An estimated 65,000 undocumented young people graduate from high school each year according to a 2012 report by the Immigration Policy Center. Yet, approximately only five to ten percent of these students make the transition to college Within the Los Angeles Unified School District there are reportedly 200,000 undocumented students.
The Dream Act, federal legislation originally proposed in 2001, if passed would allow qualifying undocumented youth to be eligible for a conditional path to citizenship by meeting specific criteria and completing a college degree. Similar versions of the legislation at the state and local level now allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition, and other legislation has passed that grants individuals access to state funding that can help with financial aid. These steps have helped low-income families afford to send their kids to college.
Helping students succeed in school and stay on track to graduation is something Chavarria deals with every day. In her part-time job at Hamilton, she provides approximately 70 students with targeted services while also pursuing her doctorate degree at UCLA. But Chavarria has made it her central focus to work on an issue that is very close to her heart – giving hope to undocumented youth by providing them with the information and resources they need to become college students.
“This is a passion of mine,” said Chavarria, who’s worked with high school students for more than a decade and at Hamilton since 2011. “Nothing will stop me from doing my work with the students.”
After the first two students, two more approached her. Then there were 11, and by year’s end, Chavarria had guided nearly 20 students to resources that helped them find funding to pay application fees, apply for financial aid and complete paperwork so that they could become college students.
Chavarria knew that she could be exponentially more effective and have a greater reach if she enrolled others in her mission. She found students at Hamilton who were willing to support their peers and helped them launch the High School Dreamers club at the start of the 2012 school year. The club’s goals are to make sure students feel safe enough to reveal they are undocumented and then to create a plan that will get them into college. Chavarria acts as the facilitator – she keeps the students updated on immigration legislation, helps arrange for speakers to come meet with the club and attends their weekly meetings when she is not in class herself. The students are meeting leaders in their community, learning presentation and planning skills, and gaining the confidence to stand up for themselves. Because of Chavarria, these students are helping themselves while giving back to their own communities.
“I would do this work even if I didn’t get paid,” said Chavarria. “This is an investment. To see these kids walk across the stage and achieve their academic goals…it’s so gratifying. I know that I’ve impacted the life of not only one person, but the whole community.”
– Tracey Savell Reavis, Communities In Schools National Beyond The Classroom Blog
Communities In Schools And P&G Team Up With Matthew McConaughey To “School The Nation” About The National Dropout Crisis
This summer, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Communities In Schools kicked off the second-annual GIVE Education “School the Nation” campaign designed to increase awareness of America’s dropout crisis, and enable thousands of mentors across the country to support and encourage at-risk youth to graduate to a brighter future.
Matthew McConaughey, founder of the j.k. livin foundation, lent his voice to highlight the importance of mentorship. More than 1.2 million students drop out each year – one every 26 seconds. One-third of high school students, including half of all minority students, fail to graduate in time. If the graduation rates and college matriculation of male students (alone) increased by just five percent, it could lead to combined savings and revenue of almost $8 billion each year by reducing crime-related costs.
Communities In Schools empowers students to stay in school and achieve in life by providing them with crucial community resources that are tailored to local needs through school-based mentors known as site coordinators. The thousands of mentors within Communities In Schools’ network work with 2,700 schools and approximately 13,000 community partners – including McConaughey’s j.k. livin foundation – to serve nearly 1.26 million young people and their families every year.
In Los Angeles, CIS and j.k. livin have partnered to provide an important service to at-risk teens at Venice and Hamilton High School. j.k. livin’s fitness and wellness program runs twice a week for two hours at both high schools, fulfilling CIS’s Third Basic to give students a healthy start and a healthy future. CIS students enrolled in j.k livin gain confidence, improve their attitudes and learn self-reliance, all while improving their fitness and health. Some have lost weight to reach a healthier size. Some have achieved their goal of finally joining a school sports team. And many have started making more informed choices about what to eat and drink. But these students have also demonstrated improvement outside of the program; CIS of Los Angeles site coordinators have seen improved grades, attendance, and behavior among the students they have referred to j.k. livin’s after school program.
At the kick-off event, McConaughey led a handful of j.k. livin students through exercise drills, including jump roping and holding a plank for a minute. “I created the j.k. livin foundation so we can help children make positive and healthy changes in themselves and the world around them – and at the most basic level for many, that starts with graduating high school,” said McConaughey. “I am a firm believer in the power and necessity of mentorship, and by teaming with GIVE Education, we’re ensuring that people learn about the inspiring and effective work mentors are doing across the country to combat the dropout crisis.”
Consumers can easily help “School the Nation” when they Buy, Give and Get. By simply purchasing $25 worth of select P&G products, consumers will get a $5 rebate by mail, and P&G will give $5 to Communities In Schools on their behalf. Last year, GIVE Education raised more than $500,000 for Communities In Schools to help deliver much-needed resources to students and their families, including mentoring, tutoring, individual or family counseling, health services, food bank access, college visits and more.
To learn more about the rebate, including participating brands and how to redeem, visit www.getgivesave.com.
Hollywood Celebrates Communities in Schools
Amy Adams and other stars hit the red carpet for ‘Vanity Fair’ Campaign Hollywood 2011, which benefited Communities In Schools of Los Angeles.
February 22, 2011/ Huffington Post–Vanity Fair Campaign Hollywood 2011 kicked off Oscar Week, partnering with Chrysler to celebrate Best Picture Nominee The Fighter at District on Sunset. Attendees included the films co-star, Amy Adams, as well as actors Gerard Butler, Cuba Gooding Jr., Helen Mirren, and Channing Tatum, among others.
The stars were all smiles at the event, which benefited Communities In Schools of Los Angeles. Communities In Schools focuses on working “within the public school system, determining student needs and establishing relationships with local businesses, social service agencies, health care providers, and parent and volunteer organizations to provide needed resources.”VIEW MORE