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Supporting Student Success Beyond the Classroom

By Communities In Schools | March 18, 2024 College & Career Prep

Determining the next step after high school can be a lot to process, especially for students from low-income families. These students face very real problems associated with challenges such as food insecurity, housing instability, and a lack of transportation. Often, these students also come from historically marginalized backgrounds and already face systemic and structural barriers that further exacerbate the challenges of living in poverty.

Supporting student readiness for life beyond graduation is essential for the future of our country. At Communities In Schools® (CIS®), we believe that it is our job to offer support and help build the skills and awareness necessary for post-secondary success.

Identifying Plans and Providing Guidance

Equipping students to unlock their full potential and be ready to pursue any path after graduation

For students exploring post-secondary education options—attending a university, community college, or trade school—CIS provides individualized support to help them decipher the application process for admission and financial aid, prepare for the SAT/ACT, explore scholarship opportunities, tour campuses, and conduct mock interviews.

Some students may need to enter the workforce immediately after graduation or opt to do so. CIS guides these students toward discovering enjoyable, sustainable career paths and connects them to internships and job shadowing opportunities, which help students see the possibilities for their future.

Some students may elect to join the armed forces, which provides career opportunities, including job placement after basic training and college/trade school scholarships. CIS site coordinators help guide their students throughout the recruitment process.

For undecided students, CIS provides a safe sounding board to articulate goals and fears and explore options.

Network Activation

CIS of Charlotte-Mecklenburg: Connecting Students to Diverse Career Pathways

Earlier this year, a group of CIS of Charlotte-Mecklenburg high school students enjoyed a fantastic career day at Cummins, Inc., a leader in industrial innovation and manufacturer of engines, generators, power systems, and vehicle components. The team at Cummins enthusiastically shared the many diverse career paths available at Cummins and emphasized the importance of skilled trades in today's economy.

Students learned that a career in trade offers a viable alternative to a traditional four-year college degree and can open doors to well-paying jobs and long-term career growth. One student said this was the best field trip he had ever been on and many students asked for job applications. Learn more about the day here.

A special thank you to CIS partners like Cummins, Inc. for providing opportunities like this for our students, opening doors to new possibilities for their future!

Helping Younger Students Plan for the Future

Preparing students for life beyond school is a key component of their learning process

It is never too early to start preparing students for the future, especially those who are up against many challenges. For some students, the only opportunity to explore potential careers happens at school.

Network Activation

CIS of Pennsylvania: York College Leadership Event

Eight years ago, CIS of Pennsylvania activated an innovative partnership with York College that targets younger students, connecting them with mentors and helping them gain exposure to the college experience. One of those programs is the York College Leadership Event.

If we can expose students to the idea of higher education at an early age, it will motivate them to succeed in the classroom.

– Alex Kadyszewski, Director of Programs, CIS of South Central PA

Each fall and spring semester, CIS of PA hosts the York College Leadership Event, a two-day event where 4th and 7th-grade students are encouraged to improve and practice their communication, leadership, and teamwork skills. Identifying and working with 4th-grade students creates an opportunity for CIS to follow them throughout their middle and high school journeys. Learn more about CIS of PA's partnership with York College here.

The Importance of Fostering College and Career Readiness

A marketable skill EVERY student will use upon graduation

All children have the potential for greatness, but poverty can create overwhelming circumstances that can make it nearly impossible to concentrate on academics or personal achievement. Employers, college admissions counselors, and military recruiters want candidates who have the necessary technical skills, academic aptitude, and interpersonal skills to be successful. Whichever path students choose, they deserve to graduate from high school prepared to achieve their individual aspirations.

Every child possesses unique talents and skills to overcome any challenges they may face, but we should not expect them to do it alone. CIS will continue to encourage state and federal policymakers to improve access to college and career exploration programs in earlier grades so that all students can start high school with a plan for the future. Learn more about CIS National's advocacy efforts here.


Learn more about CIS of Charlotte-Mecklenburg

Learn more about CIS of Pennsylvania

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Join Our Community of changemakers and stay connected with us!

Data submitted in this form is provided to a third-party data processor. By submitting this form, you agree to FormAssembly’s and Causeview’s privacy policies (linked) and the use of your personal data as described therein.