Relationships Matter: Student Success in Wayne County
Middle school can be tough.
No one knows that better than students who are starting a new grade and meeting new people, all while growing up and learning new things about the world and themselves at the same time. It’s no different in Wayne County, IN where Communities In Schools® (CIS®) serves schools in five districts.
“The first month back to school is always a whirlwind of new faces and needs. I had an incoming seventh grader who didn’t seem to be getting the hang of junior high, even after a few weeks of the daily routines,” says a Wayne County CIS site coordinator.
Students like this seventh grader often begin to lose their footing when they don’t get the support they need. That’s why CIS steps in to help.
Students benefit from caring adults who can help them adjust to new classes, situations and routines. CIS of Wayne County works to connect students to caring adults and community resources that help them see, confront and overcome the barriers that stand between them and a brighter future. They believe that every student needs and deserves each of these “Five Basics:”:
- A one-on-one relationship with a caring adult
- A safe place to learn and grow
- A healthy start and future
- A marketable skill upon graduation
- A chance to give back to peers and the community
How do the basics show up for students in everyday school life? For an incoming seventh grader in Wayne County, a site coordinator from CIS took the extra step to reach out and build a plan.
I met with her, and we came up with a plan to make her days go smoother and help her be more comfortable here at school. And now she comes to my office at some point in the day, every single day, just to say hello and let me know she is doing okay. She stopped by last week and just wanted to thank me for taking the time to help her and not forgetting about her.
-CIS Site Coordinator
The help this seventh grader received from CIS is representative of the kind of work CIS of Wayne County is doing across all five districts it works in. During the 2022-23 school year, CIS of Wayne County case-managed 963 local students. Of the students they served, 100 percent experienced improved academic performance, 84 percent showed improved behavior, and 90 percent improved attendance.
Creating this kind of large-scale impact starts with the strong relationships between the CIS team and every single student they serve. CIS of Wayne County’s site coordinator explains, “My number one goal in my job is to make sure students know that I am here for them and that I actually do care. This situation was proof that I’m doing the right thing in this position.”
CIS affiliates across the country work hand-in-hand with parents, families, caregivers, educators and other caring adults to engage students and help them access important resources that put them on a path to success in school and beyond.
We can all agree that’s far from “basic.”