Communities In Schools of Federal Way Programs
One of the key components of the CIS model is the hiring and placement of a full time School Outreach Coordinator in each of the partner schools-Mirror Lake Elementary, Sacajawea Middle, and Federal Way High Schools serving over 2,600 students. The overall goal of the model is to decrease the dropout rates through increased student achievement. The School Outreach Coordinator is the key piece to improving student attendance and academic achievement by integrating services from the community into schools. CIS believes in taking an approach which applies community resources tailored to the student and the school to make a meaningful change. We build partnerships with schools and community members, businesses, municipalities, and social service agencies to ensure every child has what they need to be successful and that barriers to learning are eliminated.
As the link between the community and the school, the School Outreach Coordinators are responsible for planning and managing programs at their school site, working closely with school staff and leveraging community support. This support comes in the form of mentor, volunteer and tutor recruitment. Programs include: Mentoring, Homework Help After-School, Health and Fitness, Teen Pregnancy/Parents Support, SAT Prep Classes, after school enrichment opportunities, financial aid/FAFSA workshops, on-site food bank, free school supplies, low cost uniforms, parenting classes and parent engagement programs. The Coordinators also request referrals for services, and facilitate support for families in crisis.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Graciella Hernandez faced a lot of hurdles over her school years. Many of which often cause other students to drop out. For example, Graciella is an undocumented citizen, is being raised by a single parent, and is a parent herself. Studies show that on average, only 25% of teen parents will graduate High School. With the support of Communities In Schools School Outreach Coordinator, Joseph Colon, she exceeded the status quo and is graduating from Federal Way High School. Graciella will be attending Highline Community College in the fall to study nursing. Her post secondary education will be funded by several scholarships she was awarded with help from Joseph. For example, Graciella was recently awarded the Rotary "Al Vaux" scholarship for $3,000! Through the partnerships of Communities In Schools of Federal Way, Joseph had the resources to help Graciella overcome substantial obstacles that are indicators of an increased drop-out rate.
CIS believes it’s essential to have additional School Outreach Coordinators in needed schools. Placing a School Outreach Coordinator in a school costs approximately $50,000/year.