When CIS Site Coordinator Ivan Cornejo learned that one of the new students at his school had a history of injuring herself, he knew he had to find her.
CIS is now in its third year at Capital High School located on Santa Fe’s southside. With two full-time site coordinators – one focused on supporting freshman and a second on sophomore students – CIS ensures a long-term continuum of care and advocacy for every student in need.
“At the beginning of this school year, a CIS middle school colleague called and asked me to look out for one of her former students who had just begun her freshman year at Capital High. The girl had initially been referred to CIS in middle school because she was injuring herself by cutting her skin. My colleague had arranged for the student to receive behavioral health counseling, but after a few sessions she stopped going.
At Capital High, I tracked her down and invited her and her mother to come to my office to learn about CIS’s services. She did come to see me with her mother but was reluctant to talk. It was evident that she was dealing with anger management issues and depression. In follow-up visits, I learned she was being teased at home and at school because of her appearance. She was absent a lot from school and was struggling academically – her grades were all D’s and F’s. She certainly didn’t have any interest in being at school.
With her mom’s permission, I began case managing (a core function of my role as a CIS site coordinator) the student – checking in with her on a regular basis, monitoring her attendance and grades. I invited her to join a girls’ group at the school, facilitated by the Sky Center. The group focuses on developing inner and outer life skills – coping strategies to deal with problems at school and at home.
The student stuck with the ten-week program and showed great progress. She was an active participant in the group and gained confidence as she developed resiliency. Her attendance improved and her grades started going up. Today her grades are A’s and B’s and I no longer have to go looking for her. She comes to see me at the CIS office to let me know how she’s doing. She carries herself differently – she’s more confident and proud of her grades.”
–Ivan Cornejo, CIS Site Coordinator at Capital High School