Communities in Schools of Georgia (CISGA) announced Thursday that it is the recipient of the Department of Education’s Full-Service Community Schools Program (FSCS) grant for its Georgia ACRES Project: Activating Communities for Rural Education Success. A project to significantly transform rural educational opportunities in six counties across the state and serve as a model for other Georgia sites. The five-year, $3,000,000-a-year grant is one of the largest in the Department of Education history and the most extensive federal grant in CISGA history.
“We are grateful for the vital support of the U.S. Department of Education, which allows us to serve thousands of children across the State,” states Carol Lewis, CEO of CISGA. “Together with our local CISGA affiliates, their strong executive directors, and partners, we will use every tool at our disposal to help the State’s children face barriers and succeed in both school and life.”
The ACRES Project is a comprehensive plan to fully implement all pillars of the FSCS model, with local CISGA affiliates as local lead partners and full-time site coordinators in each school. These site coordinators will assess a student’s needs, and then provide direct services and/or make referrals to community partners to ensure a student has everything they need to succeed in and out of the classroom.
The following goals and outcomes will be achieved:
1) improved academic performance,
2) increased social/emotional learning and life skills,
3) improved physical and mental health,
4) increased graduation rates,
5) improved partnerships between schools and families,
6) increased family involvement in education, and
7) increased family connections to community resources.
The following Counties in Georgia will partner with the project:
Ben Hill County, Berrien County, Candler County, Laurens County, Troup County, and Twiggs County
The following School Districts will work with Communities in Schools: Candler County School District, Berrien County School District, Dublin City School District, Troup County School District, Twiggs County School District, Ben Hill County School District, and Laurens County School District.
“Community schools are an essential component of accelerating our students’ learning and supporting their social, emotional, and mental health, and deepening community partnerships. At the height of the pandemic, community schools connected students and families with vital nutrition assistance, mental, physical, and other health services, and expanded learning opportunities. This work continues today because we know that students learn best when there is a comprehensive and holistic approach to meeting their needs,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “I am thrilled that through the historic investment, we’re announcing now, the Department is funding the largest cohort of grantees in the history of this grant program. This represents a huge step toward the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of doubling the number of Full-Service Community Schools across the country and raising the bar for our support of children.”
This year’s grant selection process was highly competitive, with the largest number of applications in the history of the program, demonstrating the enormous need to have a continuum of coordinated support to address students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. CISGA is committed to implementing the four pillars of the grant: 1) integrated student supports that address out-of-school barriers to learning through partnerships with social and health service agencies and providers; 2) expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities; 3) active family and community engagement; and 4) collaborative leadership and practices.
About Communities in Schools of Georgia (CISGA):
Communities In Schools of Georgia is the state’s leading organization providing wraparound student supports and dropout prevention using an evidence-based model.
Our unique model places a site coordinator inside the schools to build relationships with students. We base success on our ability to build strong local community partnerships with school administrators, regulatory agencies, businesses, and other youth-oriented organizations. Our local CISGA sites tailor programs and activities to meet the specific needs of its community and schools. Types of programs include mentoring, parent education, technology training, literacy initiatives and youth leadership development. CISGA is part of a national organization committed to surrounding students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.
Source: Communities in School of Georgia