Answers and fast facts about Communities In Schools.

What Makes Communities In Schools Different From Other Youth-Serving Organizations?

We are the nation’s largest and most effective dropout prevention organization because we do whatever it takes. Our unique model positions site coordinators inside schools to assess the needs of students and to provide them resources that will help them stay in school and succeed in life. We partner with local businesses, social service agencies, health care providers and volunteers. Whether it’s providing food, school supplies, health care, counseling, academic assistance or a positive role model, Communities In Schools is there to help.

Who Does Communities In Schools Serve?

Communities In Schools is changing the picture of education for hundreds of students and their families in Greenville County. We do that by providing extra opportunities for students in Greenville County elementary and middle schools.

How Does Communities In Schools Work Within A School?

Communities In Schools’ student support specialists are each assigned a school. They collaborate with school administrators and staff to provide services and opportunities to students and their families.  In addition, the student support specialists forge community partnerships that bring programs and funding to the school in order to benefit students and the school climate, alike.  Every year, Communities In Schools performs an annual needs assessment to determine what services students require most, what community partners the schools would like to engage, and how our organization can best deliver the services and connect the resources. Communities In Schools becomes involved in a school only at the invitation of the school or school district.

What Is A Student Support Specialist?

A student support specialist is a paid staff Communities In Schools staff member positioned inside a partner school. He or she fills a pivotal role as the single point of contact working within a school to provide integrated student supports to those families who sign up to participate in our programming. Student support specialist connect students and families with community resources that address both academic and nonacademic needs. They act as positive role models, mentors and friends to students supported by Communities In Schools and do everything within their power to help students succeed.
Once hired, Communities In Schools student support specialists receive comprehensive orientation and training for their specific roles and responsibilities. This rigorous training program includes:

  • Building community partnerships.
  • Student- and family-needs assessment.
  • Tiers I, II, III service implementation.
  • Data collection and reporting.
  • Effective school coordination.

Student support specialists are also required to complete an online certification program — the highest level of professional development offered by Communities In Schools National Office.

What Are “Tiers I, II, III” Services?

Tiers of support apply to the services Communities In Schools provides, brokers and coordinates. Groups of students are described separately below.

Tier I Support: Widely available services designed to foster a positive school climate and address school-level risk factors.

  • Possible examples: motivational speaker for schoolwide assembly; college fair; schoolwide anti-bullying program; healthy cooking classes for families


Tier II Support: Targeted services typically provided in a group setting to students with a common need.

  • Possible examples: tutoring, mentoring, attendance monitoring


Tier III Support: Intensive, individualized services typically provided in a one-on-one setting to students with highly specific needs.

  • Possible examples: mental health counseling, mentoring, consultations with a nutritionist, intensive dental work

Do Communities In Schools’ Students Continue To Receive Services After They Graduate?

Communities In Schools of Greenville serves grades 2-8, but our student support specialist frequently stay in touch with students beyond high school. Many continue to be a positive force in students’ lives as they transition into high school and post secondary education.  We are currently working on developing an alumni group for former students to share their experiences with the community.

How Does Communities In Schools Evaluate Its Success?

We measure our performance methodically, carefully evaluating all aspects of our programs and use this knowledge to constantly improve. To learn more about this visit the Our Results page for information that provides evidence of how our work translates into student success.

How Do I Get Communities In Schools In My School?

Communities In Schools of Greenville has a detailed growth plan. We work closely with the School District of Greenville County and other community partners to identify where we can most effectively impact students and their families.

How Can I Help Communities In Schools?

There are numerous ways, but in short you can donate or volunteer . Make an investment in the future of our community by donating to Communities In Schools of Greenville or invest some time and help us serve our students and their families in a variety of fun and fulfilling ways.  Contact Kimberly Mahaffey (kmahaffey@cisgreenville.org) for middle schools and Amy Clifton Keely (aclifton@cisgreenville.org) for elementary schools.  For general inquiries and offers, please contact our executive director Susi Smith (ssmith@cisgreenville.org).

How Is Communities In Schools Funded?

Communities In Schools’ work is funded through numerous sources, including federal and corporate grants, as well as foundation and individual donations.  We do not charge students or families for our services.

Does Communities In Schools Have Someone On Staff Who I Can Interview About The Organization?

To request an interview with a Communities In Schools staff member, please contact our Executive Director Susi Smith, 864-250-6737, ssmith@cisgreenville.org.