Statewide, more than 13% of students are chronically absent, defined as having missed 10% of the school year, which is typically 18 or more days, for any reason (including excused absences and suspensions). Many of these children are living in poverty facing enormous challenges outside of the classroom.
Students with unmet needs have a hard time learning. They may be hungry, lack parental involvement, be at-risk of losing their housing, go without proper clothing and live in neighborhoods where there is violence, drugs and gangs. Without community support, they are more at risk for missing school, dropping out, and failing to earn a high school diploma.
CIS of Tennessee began serving students in 2012. Through our evidenced-based model, we amplify the power of each student’s potential by connecting them to caring adults and community resources designed to help them succeed. By being in schools every day, we support them in ways that go beyond the classroom. Across communities, we build lasting relationships—with businesses, volunteers, agencies, healthcare providers, and educators—to help students stay focused today, so they can go further tomorrow.
By helping our most vulnerable students we are building stronger, healthier, and more economically stable communities where every person is capable of reaching their greatest potential.
It sounds like an overwhelming issue, but the solution is simple: young people thrive when they have a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult. That is why CISTN does whatever it takes to remove the nonacademic barriers students face – such as homelessness, hunger, or lack of transportation – by inserting a caring adult inside each of our partner schools to work with at-risk students’ on a daily basis building trusting relationships they can count on and strategically delivering the resources they need to come to school every day.
Whether the identified need is food, school supplies, health care, counseling, academic assistance or a positive role model, CIS of Tennessee is there to help.
Today, CIS of Tennessee serves 33 schools with more than 14,000 students and their families across the state in Memphis and Nashville. Among the students who received our most intensive supports last year, 77% improved their attendance, 91% made academic gains, and 96% stayed in school. Simply put, our program works but we cannot do it alone! It is only through support from the community and individuals like you that we are able to continue helping students come to school, stay in school, and remain on track to graduation.