A CIS Graduate's Story
For many students facing challenges in their personal lives, school can be difficult. For Christina (not her real name), the past five years have been especially turbulent. Beginning in middle school, the campus wellness team recognized that Christina was struggling and referred her to the Communities In Schools (CIS) Site Coordinator who jumped right in to build a relationship and a personalized plan to support her. When Christina transitioned to Capital High School, CIS Site Coordinator, Ivan Cornejo, picked up where the previous CIS middle school Site Coordinator left off. Ivan worked continuously with Christina. However, her first three years in high school, she faced many personal challenges, and her academic performance suffered. Never giving up, Ivan scheduled weekly CIS tutoring to tackle academic challenges, communicated with her mother, and connected Christina with an organization that helps students and their families experiencing homelessness, as well as a suicide prevention program.
But, Christina’s grades kept slipping. As a high school freshman, Christina had 191 absences. Her sophomore year she missed even MORE school. And last year, as a junior, Christina had her worst school performance yet with 274 absences (39 days). The administration at Capital High determined that Christina would have to repeat her junior year. All the while, Ivan never gave up and convinced Christina to attend summer school. Then things changed for Christina.
Christina worked hard in summer school at Capital and was energized to return to school in the fall - as a senior! “It took three years of continuous support before Christina’s grades could improve” commented Ivan, “After last summer, when she attended summer school, she was motivated this year to complete her senior year. We created a contract to hold her accountable for her attendance. She has hardly missed school, and currently, she has a 3.80 GPA!”
What a difference a year can make! Ivan never gave up on Christina, recognizing that it can take time to empower a student to stay in school and achieve in life. Now, Christina is expected to graduate this May – on time. She is deciding on her post-high school plans and is considering attending either Santa Fe Community College to work towards a Caregiver Certificate, or Vogue College of Cosmetology.
Communities In Schools is the most effective dropout prevention organization in America because we never give up on a student.