Helping Renton youth since 1994.
History of Communities In Schools.
History of CISR
Communities In Schools of Renton (CISR) was formed out of the common vision of many individuals to bring the community together to help kids. After several years of hard work, research and planning by representatives of the Renton School District and the City of Renton, along with other community members, the organization hired their first Director (1994) and began offering services to children and their families with the Family Liaison Program. The program originally operated as a local program under Communities In Schools of Washington State (known then as Cities in Schools). In 1995, Communities In Schools of Renton obtained its own 501 (c)(3) status. Later that same year, Communities in Schools of Renton's Board of Directors voted to focus on building a Mentor Program to serve Renton School District students. The Mentor Program began in the spring of 1996 with nine mentors.
Strong Community Support
Communities In Schools of Renton is a collaborative non-profit organization which is governed by a Board of Directors with representation from the City of Renton, the Renton School District, local businesses, church groups, service organizations, social service agencies, parents, and students for each of the district high schools.
CISR focues on increasing student academic achievement, attendance, and positive behaviors. This is accomplished through the development of partnerships and the implementation of programs which help to ensure that children receive the support they need to be successful. Through these efforts, CISR provides increased opportunities for the community and schools to work together in a collaborative and comprehensive manner. Community members become involved by contributing time to work with students, share their expertise in classroom settings, or provide needed financial and in-kind resources.
Communities In Schools of Renton is affiliated with Communities In Schools Incorporated; the nation’s largest and most effective nonprofit network dedicated to keeping students in school. In 1998, CISR earned chartered status by participating in a rigorous review of organizational and programmatic practices by the National Communities In Schools organization. As a chartered program, CISR adheres to national standards and benefits from technical assistance and training by experts from across the country.
Communities in Schools of Renton also participate with Communities In Schools of Washington State as one of the twelve local affiliates. The function of the state organization is to replicate and support the implementation of the Communities In Schools philosophy and model in local communities.
Forty Years of Grassroots Organization
In the 1960s, on the streets of New York City, youth worker Bill Milliken and his colleagues launched a series of nontraditional “street academies,” with backing from major corporations like Union Carbide and American Express. Young people who had already dropped out of school were able to return, complete their education and, in most cases, go on to college.
In 1977, Milliken and his colleagues decided to work inside the school system, and Communities In Schools (then called Cities In Schools) was born. The idea was to develop a safety net so underserved youth could get the assistance they needed to stay in school. The CIS founders realized that troubled young people and their families had difficulty negotiating their way through a maze of public and private services, all located in different places and following different rules. They decided to bring these community resources inside a public school building, where they are accessible, coordinated and accountable.
The fledgling organization started out strong, as newly elected President Jimmy Carter, a supporter of the CIS prototype during his term as Georgia governor, identified federal funds to support CIS’ expansion. Soon CIS was serving nearly 3,000 students in three cities: Atlanta, Indianapolis and New York.
In 2004, Communities In Schools underwent an evolution in its executive leadership. After more than 25 years as operational leader of the organization, Communities In Schools founder Bill Milliken transitioned to a new role as vice chairman to the national board of directors, allowing him to focus full-time on developing individual donors. Daniel J. Cardinali assumed the position of national president.