Center for Supportive Schools

At a Glance

National Office: 
911 Commons Way
Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone: 6092529300

Daniel Oscar
People Served: 
30,000
Year Founded: 
1979
Tax ID: 
222962532

Focus area(s):

Teacher & Principal Training
K-12 Reform
Personal & Leadership Development
Mentoring

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Description

CSS has a 35-year history of partnering with K-12 schools throughout the United States to train and mobilize students to be lifelong leaders who make schools better for themselves, their peers, and younger students. Results consistently demonstrate that our programs improve students’ leadership, academic, social, and emotional skills, and peer-reviewed, published evaluation results indicate that our approach improves the graduation rates of student participants by 10 percentage points and cuts by half the number of male students who would otherwise dropout. 

Impact and Outcomes

CSS has demonstrated a 10 percentage point increase in high school graduation rates among student participants
CSS has demonstrated an 18 percentage point increase in high school graduation rates among male participants
Students participating in CSS programs have demonstrated higher grades in math, science, English, social studies, and higher overall GPAs than non-participants
Students participating in CSS programs have demonstrated fewer instances of fighting and fewer discipline referrals than non-participants

Mission & Goals

Our mission is to develop, disseminate, and promote peer leadership, advisory, and other evidence-based K-12 solutions that enable and inspire schools to more fully engage students in learning, better connect students to their schools, motivate and equip students to make decisions responsibly, and accelerate academic achievement.

CSS’s solutions are a response to the fact that too many students feel uninspired, disconnected, even alienated at school and haven’t developed the leadership, academic, social, and emotional skills they need to succeed. In short, our schools are failing many of our children, particularly our children from low-income families.

Left unaddressed, disengagement from school can result in serious problems such as chronic absenteeism, poor academic performance, bullying and aggressive behavior, drug and alcohol use, and risky sexual behavior. As a result, young people may face devastating long-term consequences such as dropping out of school and teen pregnancy. In fact, 70% of high school dropouts say that not feeling motivated or inspired to work hard was a major factor in their decision to drop out (Bridgeland, DiIulio, & Morison, 2006).

Our goal is to substantially increase the number of safer, more supportive, engaging, and inspiring schools in order to reinvigorate the unacceptably large number of disengaged students, a critical step to galvanizing student leadership and success. 

Program

We create change using two distinct but interrelated approaches:

(1)    Partnering with schools to develop student leaders through an integrated focus on academic, social, and emotional learning. Our student leadership solutions include:

  • an evidence-based and school-based program that supports and eases students’ successful transitions from elementary to middle school and from middle to high school by tapping into the power of older students to create a nurturing environment for transitioning students (Peer Group Connection);
  • an evidence-based school-based program that utilizes peer-to-peer education to increase students’ responsible decision-making about sexual health (Teen Prevention Education Program);
  • a research-based school-wide practice that provides all students with the support and development they need from school staff, peers, and family members to feel attached to school, succeed in school, and graduate ready for the rigors of college and high quality careers (Student & Family Advisory); and
  • a school-based prevention and intervention program that pairs adult school staff with students in one-to-one mentor-mentee relationships that has been proven to reduce problem behaviors, improve academics, and reduce drug and alcohol use among at-risk students (Achievement Mentoring).

(2)   Leveraging local, state and national stakeholders, policies, legislation, and media to increase the roles of social and emotional learning, non-cognitive skill development, school culture and climate, and other similar fields in our collective efforts to improve schools. Our advocacy solutions include:

  • a state-based movement, grounded in the principles of collective impact, designed to encourage schools to become safer, more supportive, engaging, and inspiring and provide them with the tools and resources to do so. CSS convenes and facilitates schools, districts, community organizations, business, and other leaders to collaborate in a process anchored by: a) a structured recognition, certification, and badge system for schools; b) a clearly defined set of outcomes; c) a delineated set of evidenced-based actions from which stakeholders craft a school improvement strategy; d) rich opportunities for structured collaboration; e) access to technical assistance. (Campaign Connect);
  • a national movement to identify and measure the shared outcomes among the distinct yet mostly overlapping fields of social and emotional learning, character development, positive youth development, school culture and climate, non-cognitive skill development, and others (currently in a planning phase).

Impact

Our work has been rigorously evaluated by research organizations, universities, and independent evaluators. Results consistently demonstrate improvements in students’ leadership, academic, social, and emotional skills that lead to: significantly lower dropout rates; improved grades; fewer discipline referrals; and avoidance of high-risk behaviors. For example, a 4-year longitudinal, randomized control study conducted in Union City, NJ by Rutgers University and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that CSS improves the graduation rates of its student participants by ten percentage points and cuts by half the number of male students who would otherwise dropout. This important finding was very recently published on November 26, 2013 in The Journal of Educational Research.

Students who have participated in our programs have also demonstrated:

  • Higher grades
  • Better attendance
  • Decreased disciplinary referrals,
  • Greater academic self-efficacy
  • Less substance use
  • Increased motivation to stay in school
  • Increased skills in goal setting and time management
  • Improved decision-making skills
  • Improved prosocial skills, i.e. making friends, recognizing feelings, maintaining relationships, communicating effectively, etc.
  • Greater abilities to delay first sexual intercourse; abstain from sex while under the influence; use birth control consistently; acknowledge that pregnancy and STIs are possible consequences of sexual activity; and know sexual health information

Our approach has also been recognized by the National Dropout Prevention Center as a Model Program demonstrating Strong Evidence of Effectiveness, its highest effectiveness rating.

Growth Plan

CSS’s impact can be seen in the experiences of 30,000 students every year across 200 schools in five (5) states. CSS’s work touches students, educators, and parents in large urban communities that serve significant numbers of economically disadvantaged youth such as Camden, Newark, and Trenton, NJ; New York City, NY; Philadelphia, PA; and Baltimore, MD.

CSS is driven by the vision that one day, all children will thrive in safe, supportive, engaging, inspiring schools that graduate them prepared for the rigors of college and lives filled with meaningful work, active citizenship, and personal fulfillment. Therefore, we are gearing up to rapidly scale our impact. Specifically, we will:

  • Expand the reach of our programming. By 2018, we will serve 50,000 additional students annually in 500 schools across 15 locales, thereby preventing 5,000 dropouts annually.
  • Galvanize the nation. By 2020, all schools in the United States will engage older students to take leadership in making schools better for younger students.

Location of Sites

National Office: 
911 Commons Way
Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone: 6092529300
List of locations

To make a contribution to a program site:

  1. Click on the "Make a Contribution Now" button and include the name, city and state of the program you would like to support, in the "notes" text box on the organization's donation form, if available.
  2. If a "notes" or "designation" box is not available, write the city and state on your check in the "notes" section or call the national office to designate your contribution to a local program site.

Locations in the following states:

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Financials

Most Recent Budget

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$63,200
Foundation Grants: 
$517,269
Government Funding: 
$1,798,896
Contributions from Individuals: 
$134,318
Special Events: 
$0
Program Services Fees: 
$567,615
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$4,056
Total Revenue: 
$3,085,354

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$2,490,428
Occupancy: 
$129,458
Travel & Entertainment: 
$9,190
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$17,534
Telephone & Communications: 
$47,440
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$950,484
Other Expenses (Description): 

Other Expenses (Description): 

Total Expenses: 
$3,644,534

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain/Loss: 
$-559,180

Prior Year Actuals

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$25,600
Foundation Grants: 
$907,711
Government Funding: 
$1,938,195
Contributions from Individuals: 
$32,800
Program Services Fees: 
$910,845
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$51,199
Other Revenue: 
$22,973
Special Events: 
$0
Total Revenue: 
$3,889,323

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$2,212,200
Occupancy: 
$125,907
Travel & Entertainment: 
$6,975
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$18,585
Telephone & Communication: 
$45,259
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$1,209,437
Total Expenses: 
$3,618,363

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain / Loss: 
$270,960

Major Funders

Abell Foundation

AT&T Foundation

Frances & Edwin Cummings Memorial Fund

J. Seward Johnson Charitable Trust

New Jersey State Department of Health

Princeton Area Community Foundation

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and New Jersey Health Initiatives

Salem Health & Wellness Foundation

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

The Charles Crane Family Foundation

The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation

The Nicholson Foundation

U.S. Department of Health and Senior Services, Office of Adolescent Health

Victoria Foundation