In this country, 11 million students live in poverty. Think about that for a minute. 11 million. In poverty. Living in poverty every single day of their young lives. 11 million of them. None of whom chose their circumstances. Nationally, CIS serves 1.3 million students of those 11 million children and teens who live in poverty. CIS of Mid-America serves about 30,000 of them. That’s making a difference. And yet, it’s only a drop in a big bucket of poor kids grappling with all the issues that are inherent to poverty. Working together, we can help more students stay in school and achieve in life. Yesterday, Child Trends, a national research nonprofit, released a new report affirming the effectiveness and cost efficiency of integrated student supports (ISS) programs like Communities In Schools in improving education outcomes. These programs target both academic and non-academic barriers to student achievement by identifying individual student needs and mobilizing community resources to meet them. I am proud to see CIS highlighted as a model for improving student achievement and reducing disparities. Over the past 35 years, CIS has become the largest ISS provider in the nation and its data-driven model has demonstrated the strongest reduction in dropout rates among all existing fully scaled dropout prevention programs in the US. Student-centric programs that focus on all aspects of students’ needs, both academic and non-academic, are more likely to be successful than ones that focus on single factors in isolation. CIS provides ‘whole child’ support by removing barriers to learning both inside and outside of the classroom from eyeglasses to food or even a home. Click here to read Child Trends’ report, Integrated Student Services: The Evidence.