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What Hannah is Made Of

Hannah* regularly eats lunch with her Student Support Coordinator and has for several school years. This year, the Student Support Coordinator noticed Hannah was coming in with more energy and even a smile on her face sometimes, which is a significant change from last year. Hannah has a history of depression and anxiety, but last […]

Recognizing National Roots Day

Hidden among the major winter holidays and one of the countless national days of recognition is National Roots Day, this year on December 23. Created decades ago to encourage the remembering, learning, and sharing of family histories, the largely overlooked day takes on a greater context for me when I think beyond treasured lore or […]

What LaShea is Made Of

Remote learning proved to be very difficult for LaShea*. He rarely logged into Zoom and did not complete many assignments. The CIS Student Support Coordinator and school staff made multiple attempts to reach LaShea’s mother, but the phone number was out of service, and emails came back undeliverable. While remote, LaShea’s attendance rate fell to […]

What Carissa and Conner are Made Of

Carissa* and Conner* had been enrolled in CIS since they started elementary school. Before the 2020-21 school year began, their family moved, and the siblings had to transfer to a new school. Thankfully, their new school was also a CIS Site, so they could continue receiving support. The Student Support Coordinator (SSC) at their previous […]

Making a Difference

National Make a Difference Day occurs on the fourth Saturday of October, encouraging people to join forces to make a difference. Created in 1992 by USA WEEKEND magazine and joined by Points of Light, the goal was to provide a collective day of service. Since its inception, Make a Difference Day has become the largest […]

What Bethany Is Made Of

COVID-19 impacted all students last year, but for Bethany*, it changed her whole world. When she began her senior year, her parent was in the hospital due to the virus. Bethany was working full-time as the only source of income for the home, so she enrolled in a virtual school. She was referred to Communities […]

What You Can Do To Help Prevent Youth Suicide

NOTE: This month’s blog is a focus on Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and discusses suicide, specifically in youth. The past 18 plus months have been a never-ending series of changes and adjustments and everyone is exhausted, including our students. As adults, we have the luxury of having more years of life experience to help us […]

What Shayla Is Made Of

Shayla* was referred to Communities In Schools when she was very young. There are a lot of challenges in the home and the family often struggles to meet even the most basic of needs. At the beginning of the school year, Shayla was withdrawn and often had meltdowns when asked to do assignments. She was […]

The Impact of Teacher Stress on Kids and Communities

Teaching is one of the most difficult careers there is, with the never-ending workload, student needs, public expectations, and low pay. Although most teachers enter the profession with a yearning to leave an impact on the next generation, sometimes, this fire may not be enough. In fact, stress was the number one reason behind teachers quitting […]

What Calvin Is Made Of

Calvin* lives in a single-parent home with his father. Calvin lives with constant doubt, worry, and continually questions his existence. These feelings were often mistaken in school for lack of motivation, disrespect, and rebellion. During his freshman year of high school, Calvin had low grades and behavioral issues. His father felt he had no answers […]

A Moment of Choice

by Rey Saldaña, President and CEO of Communities In Schools As of March 2021, more than 250,000 students in Texas were missing from school. In Florida, the number is close to 90,000. The total across the country is estimated at three million. These students have not attended school since the beginning of the pandemic, not […]

What Marcus Is Made Of

Marcus* is a phenomenal person with goals for his future, but the obstacles in his life make attaining those goals challenging. Marcus is working hard to graduate while taking care of himself and his younger siblings. He doesn’t get much sleep and is often too stressed to eat, making him feel even more run down, […]

Black History Month: Supporting Students Impacted by Incarceration

Many African American children face barriers in obtaining an education that will improve their opportunities and life outcomes. One of the main challenges they face is the carceral system: incarceration has disproportionately harmed Black students, families, and communities over time.  The United States has the largest prison population in the world – one out of five prisoners in […]

Mentoring Students During a Pandemic

During an era of social isolation and online classes, students are struggling more than ever to stay engaged with their learning. Not only have studies shown that online learning is less effective than a traditional classroom setting – low-income, Black, and Hispanic students are likely to experience the greatest learning loss from remote learning. These […]

A Podcast Partnership with Communities In Schools National

Communities In Schools (CIS) National is proud to partner with Communities In Schools of Mid-America on a special series of their podcast, Letters from the Lunchroom hosted by their Director of Communications, Victoria Partridge. During this series, we will talk to network leaders and people who have a relationship with CIS. Our collaborative podcast series […]


The Special Programs Coordinator is a brand new position housed within the Innovation Team. This team made up of the Director of Innovation, Special Programs Manager, Special Programs Coordinator, and a few Site Coordinators who will research, develop, and pilot new and innovative ventures for Communities In Schools (CIS) of Mid-America. The Special Programs Coordinator’s […]

Communities In Schools of Mid-America VOTES!

Our country’s youth have been a powerful voice for change this year, speaking up forcefully about racial and social injustice and the existence of systemic racism that is embedded in major institutions in our country. They also have the potential to exercise considerable influence in the election, making up more than one-third of eligible voters. […]

Communities In Schools of Mid-America Celebrates 25 Years of Helping Students Succeed

Communities In Schools of Mid-America, an affiliate of the nation’s largest organization dedicated to helping students succeed in school and achieve in life, celebrates its 25th anniversary in September 2020. What started as a single-person, non-profit agency in 1995 has grown into a more than 80-person workforce. The organization annually supports more than 35,000 students located […]

Kelly Administration Awards TANF Youth and Family Stability Grants

Kansas families will now have greater access to family support programs that provide stability during these uncertain times. Today, Governor Laura Kelly and Department for Children and Families Secretary Laura Howard awarded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Youth and Family Stability Grants to eight agencies from across the state. “COVID-19 has created a lot […]

Census 2020 Community Blog

by Kourtney Woodbury | Resource Development Director of KC, CIS of Mid-America You matter!  This sentiment has been the calling card for the recent decennial Census. You are more than a headcount. You are considered “allocated dollars” that address social needs. Your participation in the Census apportions legislators for state and federal offices. It also […]

Black History: More than just a month

Chasity Hurd | CIS of Mid-America Site Coordinator at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School Those who have no record of what their forbearers have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history. Carter G. Woodson Woodson, known as the Father of Black History Month, understood these words. Woodson reminds us […]

Sincerity in Relationships

Jen Falletti | CIS of Mid-America Site Coordinator at Lakeside Elementary School in Pittsburg, KS As a Site Coordinator for Communities In Schools (CIS) of Mid-America, coming into a school as a brand new program that helps students succeed can sometimes be off putting for existing school staff. Anyone working at the school could possibly […]

What’s love got to do with it?

Rachel Harrington | CIS of Mid-America’s Field Director of Prevention Services I attended the ESSDACK Moving the Needle Conference for the first time in October, 2018.  It was there that I had the privilege of hearing a gentleman by the name of James Moffett speak.  If you know him and/or have had the opportunity to […]

Temporada de Agradecimiento – Season of Gratitude

Jania Wester | Communities In Schools of Mid-America’s Managing Director in Tulsa, OK Por alguna razón u otra durante el mes de noviembre muchos en EE.UU. tomamos tiempo para pensar en lo que estamos agradecidos. Quizás sea por el Día de Acción de Gracias o porque está cerca de las fiestas navideñas. Sea la razón […]

Let’s Talk About It

by Victoria Partridge | Communities In Schools of Mid-America’s Director of Communications When it comes to picking a blog topic, I always look at what is being celebrated during the month. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and National Bullying Prevention Month. Additionally, Red Ribbon Week is highlighted October 23-31, Mental Illness Awareness Week is […]

Isabella & Joel’s Story

Isabella and Joel are siblings that have attended the school for several years. The whole time they have been here, teachers and school staff have pushed Mom to take them to the eye doctor because of their extremely poor eyesight. Teachers had been frustrated, sharing that they struggled to teach the kids because they can’t […]

Violet’s Story

From the desk of a CIS of Mid-America Site Coordinator: Violet* entered her sophomore year a little apprehensive of how it would go. Last year, her family had experienced some stress and she had felt unsafe where she was staying. She got poor grades and had been suspended at the end of the year for […]

The Boy’s Group Success Story

Every two weeks, the Boy’s Group met. Each meeting began with a dance to the instrumental of “The Billy Bounce” (chosen by the group). Following this, we would do the “Rose and Thorn” activity. This was the opportunity for the students to come together and share one awesome thing about their day (a rose) or […]

Sam’s Success Story

Sam started this school year a little rough and was constantly in the focus room for poor behavior choices. She could be violent; kicking and screaming at the top of her lungs, which would lead to her being escorted home by the School Resource Officer. This happened multiple times during the start of the school […]

Standing at the Crossroad of Comfort & Change

by Camille Abdel-Jawad | AmeriCorps VISTA 2018-2019 As a new school year creeps in, I’ve been thinking a lot about change. As humans, we learn to despise change. To resent new beginnings for the anxiety it fills us with. We have this incessant need for things to stay the same for the sake of comfort, […]

Unicorn People

by Sophie Archuleta I had worked so hard for this moment. It was the culmination of seventeen years of late night study sessions and diligently choosing the right class schedule. It was taking college courses starting sophomore year and all of the extracurricular activities I could shove in a semester. Graduating from high school was […]

Educating Children Beyond the Classroom

We are approaching the 400-year anniversary of the first documented slaves arriving in the United States of America in August of 1619. The late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “We may have arrived on different ships but, we are all in the same boat now.” This quote as leader causes a self-reflection of the […]

One Powerful Relationship

Fall is my favorite season.  Watching the leaves change, feeling the crisp air, walking into a warm home after being outside on a chilly day, and spending extra time with family and friends are just a few of the reasons that I’m grateful for fall.  As I focus on gratitude this holiday season, there is […]


  It seems fitting that our first blog entry coincides with the start of the school year. It’s late August 2018, and if school hasn’t begun in your community, it soon will. In our blog, you’ll hear from a variety of writers…staff members, board members, stakeholders, community members, and others.  We’ll cover a lot of topics, […]