COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS OF HOUSTON SPRING BRANCH MIDDLE SCHOOL
Communities In Schools of Houston (CIS) has served at-risk students in the Greater Houston Area since 1979. CIS is a campus-based, nonprofit organization providing direct services and resources to under- served children with unmet needs. By surrounding them with a community of support, CIS empowers students to stay in school and achieve in life. Reference: CISHouston.org and CantDoItAlone.org
Communities In Schools National
• 200 local affiliates serving almost 1.26 million students in 24 states and D.C • National Board Chairman – Elaine Wynn (Director Wynn Resorts); Founder – Bill Milliken • 88% of Seniors Graduate on time (average across all CIS affiliates Nationally) – Houston rate is 94%
Communities in Schools Houston
92 schools in the Aldine, Alief, Houston, and Spring Branch school districts, as well as in several charter schools and non-traditional sites.
During the 2011/2012 school year:
• 254,5843 hours of services provided • 29,262 at-risk students and their families served • 4,456 students who received intensive services through case management • 98% of case managed students stayed in school (vs. Houston area drop-out rate of 40%) • 94% of eligible seniors graduated • CIS performed a total of 761 home visits, assisted with 1,776 crisis interventions and made 12,369 agency referrals • CIS staff leverages community resources working with 300 partner agencies (for example, Memorial Assistance Ministries, faith based, Food Pantries, etc)
Communities In Schools SBISD; 31 school campuses
• Title 1 schools are those that are defined by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as economically disadvantaged – those where 40% of students are on free or reduced lunch. In SBISD, TEA considers 57.1% of the student body as economically disadvantaged – that is 32,879 students.
• SBISD Title 1 schools all host a Communities In Schools case manager (or two) on campus & performance highlights for 2010-2011 school year include:
• 75,755 hours of services provided • 10,266 at-risk students and their families served • 1,428 students who received intensive services through case management • 319 home visits, assisted with 96 crisis interventions and made 6,616 agency referrals
Communities In Schools Spring Branch Middle School
• In the 2010 – 2011 school year, the TEA considered 36% (380 students) of SBMS’ student body as economically disadvantaged and 39% (414 students) of the student body as at-risk. At-risk is a definition that adjusts for other factors like Language deficiency.
• In 2011-2012 SBMS hosted a Communities In Schools case manager (for the first time ever), and performance highlights for that school year include:
• 51 students who received intensive services through case management (case load students)
• 1,963 hours of services provided • 299 at-risk students and their families served • 52 home visits and made 45 agency referrals
• Communities In Schools works with SBMS administration to measure pre-post case management performance; results from 2011-2012 school year include –
• 92% improved in Academics • 85% Improved in Behavior • 100% Improved in Social Service • 100% Promotion Rate • 100% Stay in School Rate
Case Load — How Chosen at Spring Branch Middle School
• TEA publishes a list of SBISD at-risk students; CIS at SBMS (for example, same process for other schools in district) works with the list and with school staff (teachers, administration, counselors) to identify the 50 students on the list with most need. These students are designated as case load. During September (annually), CIS meets with students, families, obtains permission paperwork and obtains information. In October, case work commences.
• Beyond case load, CIS is ‘open door’ for any student at SBMS. (* see appendix for list of events) • CIS stocks school supplies and food in classroom for emergency use by any student • CIS offers group sessions – for example Girls Inc, to any SBMS student • CIS plans group events at school – or field trips, like visits to college campuses – open to any SBMS student • CIS matches students / families to partners in area – mental health, behavioral situations — open to any student at SBMS
Funding – Communities In Schools Spring Branch Middle School
• Cost per CIS staff is approximately $70,000 annually. For existing placements, CIS funds 40%, School district funds 60%
• For new placements (like SBMS) – either CIS or district funds 100%. At SBMS CIS has raised private funds for 2011/12 and 2012/13
• To donate to CIS for specific use at SBMS – you can visit CISHouston.org (donate now) – all funds designated with ‘for SBMS use’ will be used exclusively for SBMS program
• Communities In Schools works very closely with school staff; including teachers, counselors, and administration (* Testimonials available in appendix)
Job Description of Communities In Schools Case Manager
While SBISD counselors and Communities In Schools staff both serve students, their job descriptions are very different in practice.
• A school counselor is responsible primarily for academic guidance.
• A Communities In Schools case manager is primarily responsible for managing the issues that surround at-risk or economically disadvantaged students; for example, poverty, and issues related to dysfunctional home life, behavior, and language deficiency.
• A school counselor is responsible for an entire grade — hundreds of students. When there are students in the mix that need services way beyond academic guidance (the normal focus of school counselor), the counselor’s capacity is used up disproportionately by this minority group. CIS case managers take the high-need, time consuming at-risk students and through managed programs, deal with the consuming social, mental, behavioral, financial issues surrounding them. This increases the counselor’s capacity for the remaining hundreds of students. The CIS case manager, by dealing with the outliers who use more resources proportionately than should be allocated, frees up a counselor to do his/her job, greatly increasing his/her efficacy.
• CIS case managers are trained social workers, and often have advanced degrees specific to issue management. SBISD school counselors are often originally from academics, holding teaching degrees, with further training in guidance counseling. While there is some overlap, the skill set needed for college / academic guidance (for example by a school counselor), and the skill set needed for social / mental / stress-related behavioral, financial situations (for example by a CIS case manager) are different.
• The CIS Counselor | Grade Level Counselor Comparison chart illustrates the distribution of job duties on an SBISD campus. This chart was created in 2009 for a specific SBISD campus (right after Katrina); and is an example of duty split, but every campus will handle the split differently. The chart illustrates how the focus of CIS is on the social issues surrounding at-risk /economically disadvantaged students.
APPENDIX 2011 – 2012 CIS (selected) events
• CIS, in partnership with Community Youth Services (CYS), facilitated a Boys To Men • Support Group for young men to discuss issues related to responsibility, honesty, anger and good manners • CIS coordinated with Girls, Inc. to facilitate a Girls Leadership Support Group to discuss empowerment and relational issues • CIS partnered with the PTA and The Kirby Corp. to hold a winter coat drive, collecting 1,000 coats which were dispersed to Spring Branch families • CIS coordinated efforts to take 30 students to Houston Hispanic Forum’s Career & Education Day at the George R. Brown Convention Center • CIS hosted a field trip for 40 SBMS students to the University of Houston who toured the campus, visiting the recreational center, dormitory facilities, and University Center • CIS assisted in the delivery of Thanksgiving and Holiday dinners to 15 SBMS families • CIS partnered with the Houston Food Bank to provide a variety of food items to 15 SBMS families on a weekly basis • CIS coordinated a relationship with Christ Church Cathedral At Risk Youth Emergency Fund • Support who provided emergency rent payments, which totaled $300
2012 – 2013 CIS (selected) events
• Food Drive – CIS / National Honor Society – November 2012
• Continuation of Girls Inc programming
• Bears4Bears.org web-site
• 6th Grade boys soccer team via Chapelwood UMC
Marlo Wilson – 7th grade math:
I was greatly impressed by the work Mr. Herrera did with many of my students. Within the first month of school last year, I noticed Alejandro as an uncooperative student. I noticed several students who — if I could just spend more one on one time with them and find out their needs — I might be able to reach them academically. I sent their names to Mr. Herrera. Within weeks, I saw Alejandro caring about school and he and I were communicating together on academics and on other things as well. Alejandro started showing many leadership qualities and his friends were following his interest in school. It made a huge difference in the classroom for students to realize we could work together and that teachers were not “against” them. The attitude became contagious. What a joy it is to teach in this kind of environment.
How is this different from our academic counselors? I have heard the students feel that they are unable to tell those difficult stories to the counselors. They did not have the same trust as they did with Mr. Herrera. With CIS on campus, I noticed students seemed to have the supplies they needed. I noticed that struggling students had a special backpack as they left on Fridays and that they came back to school Monday ready to learn. I later learned that there was food for the weekend in the backpack.
This year I have been informed that our Math STAAR scores improved. I have had students who were in my Lab class ( a class for students who failed the TAKS to get extra help in math) last year ask why they are not in Lab this year and that this is the first time they are not in Lab. I know that the CIS program was able to help put together some missing or broken pieces for the students and help them to be successful.
I believe that meeting these students needs has helped them focus on school.
I know that Ms. Zuniga is just beginning with the supplies and many of my students have visited her for that. I have also been able to move a student from academic to Pre AP after noticing that the only thing holding him back was the need for glasses — Ms. Zuniga helped him with that.
I am truly grateful that SBMS has been able to have the CIS program on our campus to help bridge the gaps in order for ALL SMBS STUDENTS to succeed.
Thank you for helping us keep CIS on our campus.