Communities In Schools

At a Glance

National Office: 
2345 Crystal Drive Suite 700
Arlington, VA 22202
Phone: 703-519-8999
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Focus area(s):

K-12 Reform
After-School & Out-of-School
Health Services/Access


For nearly 40 years, Communities In Schools has been helping students achieve in school, graduate and go on to bright futures. Our mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

Today, Communities In Schools is the nation’s largest and most effective organization dedicated to keeping kids in school and helping them succeed in life. Our unique model positions site coordinators inside schools to assess students’ needs and provide resources to help them succeed in the classroom and in life. We partner with local businesses, social service agencies, health care providers and volunteers. Whether it’s food, school supplies, health care, counseling, academic assistance or a positive role model, Communities In Schools is there to help.

Impact and Outcomes

Of the students case managed by Communities In Schools, 99% of potential dropouts remained in school at the end of the school year.
93% of case managed seniors graduated.
93% of case managed students in grades K-11 were promoted to the next grade.
89% of case managed students met their behavior improvement goals.
85% of case managed students met their academic improvement goals.

Mission & Goals

Communities In Schools (CIS) is a dropout prevention organization with a mission to surround students with a community of support empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. For 40 years, CIS has connected needed community resources with schools. By bringing caring adults and a wide variety of services into schools to address children’s unmet needs, CIS provides a link between educators and the community. The results of CIS’s model of Integrated Student Supports (ISS) are that teachers are free to teach and students, many at risk of dropping out, have the opportunity to focus on learning. To help students stay in school, CIS identifies and brings together in one place – public schools – all the resources and services available in the community that kids need to be successful. These services vary from one community to the next and from state to state and address specific needs such as academic support, mentoring, health care, family strengthening, career development, summer and after-school programs, alternative education models, and service learning. Today, the CIS network is comprised of nearly 4,000 passionate professionals working in 160 local affiliate nonprofits in 25 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 38,000 community volunteers, serving 1.5 million young people in 2,300 schools around the nation.


CIS works inside school systems with superintendents, principals, educators, and other personnel, and forges community partnerships that bring resources into schools and help remove barriers to learning.  Unlike dropout rescue programs, designed to help students after they’ve hit rock bottom, Communities In Schools surrounds students with a community of support to ensure they stay in school. The CIS model addresses both the total student—because students with unmet physical, psychological, and social needs cannot learn effectively—and the whole school environment.  Research has shown that this attention to the needs of both the entire school and the individual student are critical to reducing dropout rates and increasing graduation rates.

CIS is focused on the lowest performing schools and the students most vulnerable to dropping out.

  • 94% of the students CIS serves are eligible for free or reduced price lunch, a strong indicator of poverty; and 83% are racial minorities.
  • Comprehensive and integrated supports are provided in each participating school through a single point of contact—the school-based coordinator.  Site coordinators conduct a full assessment of school and student needs and tailor services to meet those needs.  These services may encompass academic help, direct provision of health care, counseling, support groups, transportation, donated goods, mentoring, afterschool programs, and more.
  • With leadership from the CIS national office and a network of state offices, CIS affiliates gather resources within their own communities to implement the school-based program.
  • The cash cost of implementation of the CIS model averages less than $200 per child. 


A five-year independent evaluation found that:

  • CIS has the strongest reduction in dropout of any existing fully scaled dropout prevention program.
  • CIS is unique in having an impact on both reducing dropout rates and increasing graduation rates.
  • When the CIS model is implemented with high fidelity, positive student outcomes double.
  • The CIS model is effective across states, school settings (urban, rural and suburban), grade levels, and student ethnicities.

The five-year evaluation was conducted by ICF International, which analyzed the Communities In Schools model and how that model has affected the students, families and communities where CIS has operated in the period from 2005 to 2010.  ICF employed a rigorous integrated research design to evaluate CIS at the multiple levels of state affiliates, local affiliates, and school sites.  The methodology included random controlled trials, which are the gold standard of evaluation research. 

CIS has transformed network practice based on this in-depth and cross-cutting examination of its processes and outcomes. Based on the mid-point results from the Implementation Study and the Quasi-Experimental Study, Communities In Schools codified a set of program and business standards (Total Quality System or TQS) that the research revealed had the greatest effect on student improvement, and then drove those practices back into the network through an accreditation process.

Growth Plan

CIS has a vision that every child in need in America will have a community of support in and outside the classroom, and millions more students will stay in school, graduate and succeed in life. Thanks to a unique confluence of current events, public opinion and organizational resources, CIS has the opportunity to make real headway towards this vision. After more than a decade of inaction, Congress has finally passed a federal education bill known as the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA. And just like that, for the first time ever, Integrated Student Supports (ISS) were officially recognized in the law of the land. For anyone who cares about quality education for all our children, this is truly a reason to cheer. With an estimated 11 million kids living in poverty, every school district across the country can now use federal education funds to provide these students with the non-academic support they need to stay in school and earn a diploma. As the nation’s largest provider of Integrated Student Supports, CIS fought hard for this legislation, and now we will work hard to make the most of it. We currently serve about 1.5 million students in 25 states and the District of Columbia—but ESSA has presented us with an opportunity to do much more. In light of this legislation, our vision for the future is audacious, but suddenly achievable: we aim to bring our best-in-class, evidence-based services to an additional 1.5 million students over the next five years. The impact of that growth would be truly astounding. Over the course of a lifetime, the average high school dropout costs society an estimated $292,000 in public services and lost tax revenue. With a proven graduation rate of 93 percent, CIS helps turn potential dropouts into productive, responsible adults. Our model helps break the cycle of poverty and dependence, giving new hope to individuals, families and entire communities. CIS has never pursued growth for its own sake. Indeed, over the last few years, we proactively shrank our network by 25 percent in order to ensure consistent outcomes for all our students. It’s this laser focus on quality that earns us top marks from rating services such as Charity Navigator, and that focus won’t change even as the horizon expands.

Location of Sites

National Office: 
2345 Crystal Drive Suite 700
Arlington, VA 22202
Phone: 703-519-8999
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:





District Of Columbia















North Carolina


New Jersey

New Mexico


New York





Rhode Island

South Carolina






West Virginia


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Major Funders

Ahold USA

The Allwin Family

Altria Group

American Express Foundation


Robert H.B. Baldwin, Jr. and Margaret J. Sieck

Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc.

Capital One

James Cox Chambers

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

Costco Wholesale

Creative Artists Agency

Robert Day through the W.M. Keck Foundation

Hudson Group

George Kaiser Family Foundation

The George Lucas Family Foundation

Jillian Manus

Milken Family Foundation

Robertson Foundation

Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation

The Wallace Foundation

The Wildflower Foundation

Elaine Wynn through the Elaine P. Wynn and Family Foundation