ALLENTOWN, PA — Communities in Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania (CISEasternPA) announced they have received a Full-Service Community School (FSCS) grant from the United States Department of Education (USDOE) totaling $2,500,000 over five years, to be dedicated to the organization’s continued expansion into Berks County. CISEasternPA is part of a select group of 42 recipients nationally, all local organizations working to grow or establish community school programs. This was CISEasternPA’s first application for this grant; few first-time applicants were selected as recipients, marking the organization as a standout amongst the applicant pool.
The mission of CISEasternPA is to surround students with a community of support and empower them to stay in school and achieve in life. Facilitated through community school models, the organization breaks down barriers by providing assistance ranging from basic needs to meaningful relationships with caring adults. This grant will fund CISEasternPA’s further expansion into Reading School District (RSD) by creating five new support positions, including a community school coordinator and student support specialist at both Southwest Middle and Tyson-Schoener Elementary Schools. 10th & Penn Elementary School will also gain an additional Community School Coordinator.
These expansions will allow CISEasternPA to begin critical services in the district, including trauma-informed behavioral health services, integrated school supports, positive youth development programs, transition supports, summer and after-school programs, professional development for school staff, kindergarten readiness opportunities, and strategies to address violence. There will also be a focus on building parent leadership.
“Communities In Schools provides resources to our students and families to assist in staying engaged in school. They give our students another layer of support to be successful. They work hand-in-hand with our administrators and teachers to ensure our students succeed in their educational journey,” says JuliAnne Kline, assistant superintendent for teaching & learning. ” We are excited that we can expand their services to additional schools within the Reading School District.”
CISEasternPA works in partnership with RSD, the Southwest Reading community, and consortium partners. Together they will improve student learning, build stronger families, and ensure a healthier community, with measurable goals of decreasing absenteeism and disciplinary referrals, increasing parent and family engagement, and youth connected to quality after-school opportunities.
“Through the power of relationships, CIS surrounds students with a community of support and empowers them to succeed in school and life,” says Tim Mulligan, president & CEO of CISEasternPA. “This grant will give us the chance to expand our reach and make life-changing impact in the lives of students from Reading School District. We are excited to see the outcomes of the grant over the next five years and beyond.”
RSD is Pennsylvania’s fourth-largest school district, serving over 17,600 students in 19 schools. 40% of the student population lives in poverty, which poses unique needs for the school district as a whole regarding physical health, mental health, substance abuse, homelessness, food insecurity, educational attainment, and more. CISEasternPA hopes to address these needs by ensuring that students are meaningfully engaged in school and are healthy physically, socially, and emotionally.
Learn more about CISEasternPA here.
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