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Standing Behind At-Risk Students, With the Help of Powerful Funders

By Megan Hoel Dec. 7, 2016

A recent Inside Philanthropy article spoke to our Chief Strategy Officer, Debra Montanino, about CIS' role in K-12 philanthropy; focusing on the goal to raise money for efforts to boost students that have nothing to do with the kind of "systemic" reforms that are so in vogue right now.

While many of today's ed reformers are fixated on what happens within schools and draw criticism for ignoring the socioeconomic challenges poor kids face outside the classroom, CIS is squarely focused on exactly those obstacles to success. “We identify the 10 to 15 percent of the population most at risk of dropping out and we literally case manage those kids,” said Montanino.

“We put poor kids on a path to unleash their potential and graduate by putting a caring adult in their lives. We work in high-poverty schools and help to address the barriers that kids living in poverty bring to school. That could be hunger, housing, or counseling for trauma. It could be a whole host of things from gangs to teen pregnancy. We place a site coordinator, employed by CIS, on the management team of the school. He or she works closely with the principal, the counselors and the other administrators to very systematically assess what the needs are of that school.”

Read more here.