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Nearly 4 Million Investment Will Expand Student-Centered Learning

Funding Supports Partnerships in Chicago, Dayton (OH), Lehigh Valley (PA) and Memphis (TN)

By Communities In Schools March 19, 2019

CHICAGO, IL, March 19, 2019 — Coalition for Community Schools, Communities In Schools and StriveTogether today announced four communities across the country will receive a combined $3.75 million to implement student-centered blueprints for learning. Through the Together for Students initiative, these grants will transform how entire communities support student-centered learning by funding a more integrated, intentional system for meeting the unique needs of every child. The collective goal is to showcase how collaborative decision making among families, educators and partners can create better outcomes for nearly 100,000 youth.

“As a former local affiliate of the Coalition for Community Schools, I can’t tell you how excited I am about elevating the lessons learned from these four communities on how we all can unite our efforts on behalf of all young people,” said Jose Munoz, Institute for Educational Leadership vice president of Equity and Impact.

The following communities will receive Together for Students grants to implement their blueprints for student-centered learning:

Chicago, IL (Thrive Chicago)

  • Project summary: Give Chicago youth access to engaging learning opportunities — in and outside the classroom — to develop critical social-emotional learning skills
  • Grant award: $750,000

Dayton, OH (Learn to Earn Dayton)

  • Project summary: Continue to increase parent, youth and teacher involvement in planning and overseeing programs and changing policy through community organizing
  • Grant award: $1 million

Lehigh Valley, PA (Lehigh Valley Reads)

  • Project summary: Provide a holistic, culturally and linguistically relevant learning community, including creating a regional data warehouse and embedding students and families in decision making
  • Grant award: $1 million

Memphis, TN (Communities In Schools of Memphis)

  • Project summary: Expedite academic growth for students by co-designing a strategy with the community, school system, nonprofits, social services and city government
  • Grant award: $1 million

“There is no one-size-fits-all fix for the challenges facing America’s students,” said Dale Erquiaga, Communities In Schools president and CEO. “Individual communities know what they need to do to get their students on the path to success — the Together for Students grants will help our communities make those ideas a reality. From giving youth access to engaging learning opportunities to expediting academic growth, these community-designed, student-centered plans will create real change with generational effects.”

“We refuse to settle for a world where a child’s potential is dictated by the conditions in which the child is born,” said Jennifer Blatz, StriveTogether president and CEO. “Through the Cradle to Career Network, we see the power of communities to create local change that gets better results for kids. This initiative shows we can accomplish even more by working together across our three networks and truly putting students at the center.”

This set of grants is the second phase of the Together for Students initiative. The first phase involved giving grants of up to $150,000 to 10 communities to support development of student-centered learning approaches.

With support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Coalition for Community Schools, Communities In Schools and StriveTogether launched Together for Students to accelerate the progress of communities in transforming how they meet the needs of individual learners, particularly the most vulnerable. Over the past few years, they have advanced student-centered learning — an approach that combines quality educational opportunities with health and wellness services, mentoring, college readiness activities and work-based learning experiences.

All three organizations support networks that focus on students from early education through postsecondary completion and employment. Together, they lead a movement that aligns resources and unites families, educators and local partners around this student-centered goal, with their combined networks totaling nearly 300 communities.

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About Coalition for Community Schools
The Coalition for Community Schools, an initiative of the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL), is an alliance of national, state and local organizations that utilize community schools as an equitable continuous improvement strategy for public schools, and an approach to build stronger and healthier families and communities.

About Communities In Schools
Working directly in more than 2,350 schools in 25 states and the District of Columbia, Communities In Schools is the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization proven to keep students in school and on the path to graduation. For the 2016-2017 school year, Communities In Schools served nearly 1.6 million students and successfully helped 99 percent of our case-managed students stay in school.

About StriveTogether

StriveTogether is a national movement with a clear purpose: help every child succeed in school and in life from cradle to career, regardless of race, zip code or circumstance. In partnership with nearly 70 communities across the country, StriveTogether provides resources, best practices and processes to give every child every chance for success. The StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network reaches 13.7 million students and has partners in 29 states and Washington, D.C.

About Communities In Schools

Communities In Schools (CIS) is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to empowering at-risk students to stay in school and on a path to a brighter future. Working directly inside more than 2,300 schools across the country, we connect kids to caring adults and community resources designed to help them succeed. We do whatever it takes to ensure that all kids—regardless of the challenges they may face—have what they need to realize their potential.