March 2002

Grant Results

SUMMARY

Starting in April 1998, Communities in Schools (CIS), a Virginia-based nonprofit stay-in-school network, sought to provide schoolchildren around the country with access to five key resources:

  • An ongoing relationship with a caring adult.
  • Safe places and structured activities during non-school hours.
  • A healthy start with a potential for a health future.
  • Marketable skills through effective education.
  • The opportunity to give back through community service.

This was the first phase of an initiative to establish community-linked schools, called Schools of Promise, throughout the country.

Key Results

  • Project staff mounted a scaled-back effort in two states:
    • South Carolina: Communities in Schools established a partnership with the superintendent's division of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators with the goal of creating Schools of Promise in every school district in the state.
    • North Carolina: Communities in Schcools worked with local districts and schools, such as Highland Elementary School in the Charlotte-Mecklenberg area. Highland, located in an economically disadvantaged area, is open until 7 p.m. as a "community haven," with volunteers and local high school students providing tutoring and other after-school activities.

      A "Health Cabinet" of medical professionals provides free eye and dental care to students in Charlotte-Mecklenberg schools, as well as a school-based psychiatrist, mental health social worker, and community nurse.
  • Nationally, an outreach effort yielded pledges from more than 500 superintendents to assist in setting up Schools of Promise in their districts.

Funding
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided partial support for this project with a grant of $249,332 from April 1998 to January 1999.

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THE PROJECT

Communities in Schools, Inc., Alexandria, Va., carried out the first phase of an initiative to mobilize schools to form partnerships with corporations, professional organizations, foundations, and government agencies that would address the social, economic, and health problems affecting at-risk youth.

The project was an outgrowth of the Citizens Service Summit (ID# 030843), convened by General Colin L. Powell, and the resulting national initiative, America's Promise: The Alliance for Youth. The goal of the project was to provide schoolchildren with access to five key resources:

  • An ongoing relationship with a caring adult.
  • Safe places and structured activities during non-school hours.
  • A healthy start with a potential for a healthy future.
  • Marketable skills through effective education.
  • The opportunity to give back through community service.

Communities In Schools, Inc. (CIS), a Virginia-based, nonprofit stay-in-school network, assumed the administrative role in establishing community-linked schools, called Schools of Promise, throughout the country.

America's Promise planned to raise $18.5 million to fund the initiative, including $1.25 million for the first phase, which would launch a national awareness campaign about the initiative.

Other partners in the effort were the American Association of School Administrators and Quest International, a developer of life-skills curricula.

Other Funding

America's Promise did not raise the $18.5 million it had planned to. CIS was able to raise some additional funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation ($250,000), the Cisco Foundation ($250,000), and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and it mounted a scaled-back effort in two states, North Carolina and South Carolina.

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RESULTS

  • Project staff mounted a scaled-back effort in two states:
    • South Carolina: Communities in Schools established a partnership with the superintendent's division of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators with the goal of creating Schools of Promise in every school district in the state.
    • North Carolina: Communities in Schcools worked with local districts and schools, such as Highland Elementary School in the Charlotte-Mecklenberg area. Highland, located in an economically disadvantaged area, is open until 7 p.m. as a "community haven," with volunteers and local high school students providing tutoring and other after-school activities.

      A "Health Cabinet" of medical professionals provides free eye and dental care to students in Charlotte-Mecklenberg schools, as well as a school-based psychiatrist, mental health social worker, and community nurse.
  • Nationally, an outreach effort yielded pledges from more than 500 superintendents to assist in setting up Schools of Promise in their districts.
  • Staff held a National Training Conference in Augusta, Ga., in November 1998, which drew 400 state and local Communities in Schools program directors, affiliate program administrators, school teachers, and principals, and it held workshops in Texas and Florida.

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AFTER THE GRANT

Communities in Schools continued to develop Schools of Promise following the close of the grant, and worked with the Institute for Educational Leadership, a nonprofit organization that promotes community involvement in schools, to share information about community collaborations and the project's best practices.

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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

America's Promise in Schools: A National Program to Encourage Schools to Deliver Life Resources to Youth

Grantee

Communities In Schools, Inc. (Alexandria,  VA)

  • Amount: $ 249,332
    Dates: April 1998 to January 1999
    ID#:  033994

Contact

Thomas Wilson
(703) 518-2564

Web Site

http://www.cisnet.org

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)

Newsletters

Schools of Promise. Alexandria, Va.: Communities In Schools, Inc. One issue published Winter 1998. Approx. 10,000 copies distributed.

Sponsored Conferences

"CIS National Training Conference," November 16–20, 1998, Augusta, Ga. Attended by 400 state and local CIS program executive directors, administrators, affiliate program administrators, school principals and teachers.

Presentations

  • Linda Harrill and Thomas Wilson, "Developing Schools of Promise in Your State."
  • Barb Copple, Thomas Wilson, and Linda Harrill, "Developing Your Schools of Promise."

Sponsored Workshops

"Houston's Promise," May 8, 1998, Houston, Texas. 120 participants.

Presentation

  • "Developing Schools of Promise," Thomas Wilson and CiCi Rivera.

"Florida's Promise to Youth," May 30, 1998, Tampa, Fla. 60 participants.

Presentation

  • "Developing Schools of Promise," Thomas Wilson and Lois Grace.

"Briefing to State and Executive Directors," June 10, 1998, Austin, Texas. 25 participants, including executive and state directors of CIS Texas programs.

Presentation

  • "America's Promise in Schools Initiative," Thomas Wilson and Mike Hayes.

World Wide Web Sites

www.cisnet.org provides information about CIS Schools of Promise. Alexandria, Va. 1998.

Audio-Visual Materials

America's Promise in Schools (video, 6 minutes and 30 seconds). Alexandria, Va., 1998. 400 copies produced; 380 copies distributed to date.

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Report prepared by: Barbara Finkelstein
Reviewed by: Patricia Patrizi
Reviewed by: Robert Narus
Program Officer: Judith Y. Whang