Communities In Schools (CIS) of Wilkes has expanded its dropout program to Alexander County this school year.
Glendora Yarbrough, Wilkes CIS executive director, said the process began two years ago when an assistant school superintendent in Alexander County, Dr. Jennifer Hefner, wrote a grant for dropout prevention and it was accepted.
“She began researching who had the best drop out program and it always ended up being Communities In Schools,” said Mrs. Yarbrough.
Communities In Schools is a national program considered to be one of the nation’s leading dropout prevention programs for children and youth.
In Wilkes, the programs include mentoring through the Lunch-Buddy program and Friends of Youth; teen-pregnancy prevention through its Wise Guys and Smart Girls program, site- coordinators in five schools, scholarships through its New Century Scholars program and more.
Mrs. Yarbrough said Dr. Jeff Peal, an assistant school superintendent in Alexander County and a former teacher in Wilkes County, referred Dr. Hefner to her.
“They called me in 2010 and we began discussing our program. The CIS state office also began looking at the possibility of Alexander County joining the Wilkes CIS,” said Mrs. Yarbrough.
A local task force was founded and they did a needs assessment to see if Alexander County needed an organization such as CIS to help run its dropout program. After much work and preparation the task force voted in August 2012 to go under the umbrella of the Wilkes CIS.
Alexander County schools are funding the three site coordinators in their system. Alexander County’s CIS program serves East and West Middle and Alexander Central High School.
Site coordinators act as liaisons to bring resources, services, business partners, parents, and volunteers into their schools. This collaboration fosters a proven community effort to help students succeed, said Mrs. Yarbrough.
Travel expenses and food, are paid through the Wilkes CIS. Two fundraisers are being planned to help with Alexander County finances for the program, said Mrs. Yarbrough. Also she is writing a grant for the two CIS programs in Wilkes and Alexander counties.
Peal and D. Brock Womble, superintendent of schools in Alexander attended the first CIS joint board meeting in October.
There will be two representatives from Alexander County on the Wilkes CIS board. One will be from the school system and the other will be selected by an advisory board with 18 community and business leaders.
The first joint CIS board meeting was held in October in North Wilkesboro. Dr. Brock Womble, school superintendent of Alexander County schools and Dr. Jeff Peal, an assistant school superintendent for the Alexander County schools, attended the meeting.
In November 2011, CIS of Wilkes was nationally recognized with accreditation through acquiring 28 business standards and 16 comprehensive site standards set by Communities In Schools National.
CIS in Wilkes added site coordinators in the 2010-11 school year. This year they are at Moravian Falls, C.B. Eller, Central Middle, North Middle and Wilkes Central High Schools. Funding is through a grant.
CIS is a Wilkes United Way agency.
For more information on any of the programs and services contact Mrs. Yarbrough at 651-7830 or email@example.com.