One in four public schools in America is a high-poverty school — one where more than 75 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. Many of these students face serious challenges such as housing instability and hunger, and the high levels of stress in their daily lives can affect their school attendance and performance.
Communities In Schools (CIS) works to integrate a variety of support services for students to keep them on a path to graduation. CIS takes a tiered approach to service provision: some services are broadly available to all students at a school and others are directed at those most at risk of dropping out.
- MDRC’s study found that elementary school students’ attendance improved more in schools implementing the CIS whole-school model than it did in schools without CIS.
- Both studies have found that high schools implementing CIS whole-school services increased their graduation rates. Because of limitations related to finding a group of credible comparison schools it is not clear that CIS was more effective than other approaches, but the CIS model appears to be at least as effective.
- MDRC’s study found that CIS case management succeeded in getting targeted students into more support activities and improving several of their nonacademic outcomes. But case management did not improve students’ attendance, academic performance, or behavior relative to students who did not receive case management. The earlier ICF study had found positive effects on some outcomes related to attendance and academics.
Read the full article on Communities in Schools by Leigh Parise and Farhana Hossain at MDRC
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