With only four weeks as Site Coordinator behind me, I look ahead at a ‘to do’ list, and perhaps more importantly a ‘to learn’ list, that seems to be a mile long. Both lists of things to do and learn bring excitement, opportunities for growth, and hopefully many stories of success. This month, however, it is the small accomplishments that I find to be the success stories.
I have had the opportunity to connect with a small group of committed afterschool participants, getting to know about eight students during tutoring time. I was able to introduce myself to dozens more of Greer’s wonderful students during a lunchtime meet and greet activity where many students came by to say hello and take away a sweet treat. In addition to students, I have met many of the faculty and staff, beginning to build rapport so that I may be seen as a valuable resource. Similarly, I have introduced myself to the staff at Greer Christian Learning Center and Greer Community Ministries and was able to learn more about how we might partner to bring opportunities to the students and connect families to resources they need. These, in addition to learning more about the site plan, basic needs assessments, and student goals, getting access to and navigating PowerSchool, gaining a better understanding of System, and completing the first module of the Site Coordinator Learning Pathway, have made the first month on the job exciting and enjoyable. I am eager for what the coming months will bring and look forward to many opportunities to share the stories of success achieved by the students of Greer.
“[CIS students in my school-day class] have also discussed with me about the benefits of Communities In Schools for them. They have mentioned that it is nice to have a place to be able to do their homework and have an adult to help them with it, because they do not always receive that help at home. Also, students have mentioned that they have made new friends in CIS that they would not normally make in the regular classroom. They also enjoy getting time to work in the computer lab and going on field trips, like to the Roper Mountain Holiday Lights show. The Communities In Schools program seems very beneficial and effective to promote well-rounded students and to help student who are in need. This program can help students academically, emotionally, and socially. I am aware of this becasue I see if working currently in four of my students daily.”
-Mrs. Hitch, School-day Teacher at Chandler Creek Elementary
“D” was referred to our program by her classroom teacher and our Title I Facilitator. “D”‘s grades were beginning to drop and she was in need of social and behavioral support. “D” lives in a single parent home. Her mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has many other health related issues. “D” had started acting out in negative ways in response to her difficult circumstances. Her teacher and mother both noted that in addition to “D”‘s falling grades, she had developed a bad attitude. Our program was able to offer the academic assistance as well as the social and behavioral support that “D” was in desperate need of. With this support she has been able to overcome many challenges. Her grades began to soar and she made the A/B Honor Roll the last three quarters of the school year! Her attitude and behavior have improved and she has developed meaningful relationships with other CIS students. Her mother has expressed her appreciation for “D”‘s involvement in our program.
Alexus is a smiling 8th grader who has had difficult circumstances that led her to have a record with frequent absences from school in the past. Lacking confidence, but always caring about all of those around her, Alexus displayed typical teen behaviors as she learned more about who she was becoming.
She started in the CIS After School Program last year and participated in several activities, but was unable to continue due to transportation issues. Her grades never improved and she was placed in Acceleration Class during the school day where she spent her lunches in a classroom with a sack lunch as she took time to get caught up on her work. She continued to stay in this until the end of the last school year and started of the current year in the Acceleration 8th grade year in order to ensure she didn’t get behind again.
I am happy to say that she is being promoted out of the Acceleration Class after her 1st quarter. Alexus was very proud of herself and should be for the hard work she has put in. The teacher in charge of Acceleration Class had a terrific idea about celebrating the multiple students who also earned their way out of this class by taking them out to eat. Through a terrific connection made by the Greer Middle PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) the newly opened Zaxby’s of Greer will be donating 17 meals to the 17 of 20 students that earned their way out of Acceleration. CIS assisted in getting the transportation provided by the GCLC (Greer Christian Learning Center). Zaxby’s has also offered to make a sign congratulating these students on this wonderful accomplishment!
This is a great example of student success, teacher support, collaboration, and group effort for many students who are achieving great academic gains in school.
CIS at Monaview was selected as a pilot site for LiveWell Greenville’s afterschool initiative. Through this partnership, CIS created a healthier, more active afterschool program, and our students became more commited to living a healthy lifestyle. While being served a healthy meal at the Family Health Night hosted by CIS, one little boy explained to his parents why the meal was healthy. He discussed the “whole-wheat bread and not white”, he pointed out “the fresh fruits and vegetables” and he also told them how “drinking the bottled waters was so much better than sugar from other drinks”. Witnessing this child educate his parents on the importance of healthy food choices, was a remarkable indicator of how successful the CIS-LiveWell Greenville partnership had been for that family!
A student was having difficulties with rising above outside influences. Gang related activity was part of their older family members lives. The student came to our program with an open mind and heart. He joined various activities with the program. He was rewarded for awesome behavior and grades with a one on one game with the basketball coach. The student is joining a guys group with the Phoenix Center upon completion of the CISÂ program at Woodmont this year. He chooses to gain the knowledge his teachers are offering and behave even when his friends are not.
“We get to learn and have fun!
-3rd grade CIS student
“I see the CIS program as very beneficial to the students’ lives and well-being. Seeing them so excited about [CIS Afterschool] makes me equally excited to come to work and spend time with them.”
-Ms. Harris, Furman University America Reads tutor