The Battle Creek Public School District is one of many around Michigan and the nation benefitting from the work of Communities in Schools. The Michigan program was spearheaded by a large financial gift from the WK Kellogg Foundation. About $51 million dollars was involved in the initial grant from the foundation in 2017.  The Michigan CIS program now has a fully staffed office in Lansing. Federal Title 1 funding is also involved.

In Battle Creek, the program involves all schools with a designated site coordinator. The trained professional is ready to work with students, families, and school administrators to help with student needs and get students and families in contact with community resources they may need.

The Battle Creek Enquirer reports the program has lots of supporters throughout the district, including, and maybe most importantly, parents and guardians. The CIS Site Coordinators are charged with one primary responsibility, helping to ensure students stay the course, remain enrolled, engaged, and graduate.  The challenges students, families, and schools have faced this past year with the COVID-19 virus outbreak have only added to the challenges.

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BCPS Superintendent Kim Carter tells the Enquirer, "I would sum it up and say they provide access to success by removing barriers. I would say our site coordinators are what we would consider a BCPS hero; frontline workers who have been instrumental in making sure families have what they need... They are on-site to provide support for the staff and to be responsive in a rapid manner to make sure our students can access a high quality education."

Over the past 6 months, the CIS coordinators in Battle Creek have helped with the distribution of nearly $24,000 in food items, nearly the same amount in school supplies, along with a few hundred items of clothing and nearly 1,000 personal hygiene products. That kind of material support helps to bolster the basic learning and emotional support that many students need to push through the challenges of school and stick with their learning. The relationships are important and CIS is proving to be an important link between the community and young people to help them succeed.

LOOK: Just some of the photos that capture the historic year that was 2020