Expanding Communities In Schools (CIS) Resources and Supports to More Students in Caddo Parish

Volunteers of America North Louisiana, in a licensed partnership with Communities In Schools (CIS) has been awarded funding to assist in expanding their integrated student supports (ISS) model into two more schools across Caddo Parish.

The first round of funding distributed to affiliates totals $13 million of the $165 million Ballmer investment. The funding is designed to catalyze local public and private investment in the model through a 1:1 match requirement over the first three years and commitments to sustain the work long-term.

This investment enables Volunteers of America North Louisiana in partnership with the Caddo Parish school district and local schools to provide critical coordinated resources to students through a trained professional who can help connect them to supports and services needed to succeed in school.

With this new funding in addition to ongoing financial support from the Community Foundation of North Louisiana, Grayson Foundation, and our loyal donors, Volunteers of America North Louisiana is expanding CIS services to Queensborough and Midway Elementary Schools and a second CIS site coordinator at Woodlawn High School.

Expanded supports and resources will roll out to new and existing partners at the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

“We are very fortunate to receive this additional funding which allows us to reach more students in need,” says Jenesis Gibson, vice president of children and families, Volunteers of America North Louisiana. “Our goal is to surround students with a community of support to keep them in school and provide equitable opportunities for their success.”

Volunteers of America North Louisiana is beginning the tenth year implementing the Communities In Schools’ model of Integrated Student Supports (ISS).

Following the effective ISS model, site coordinators assess the students’ needs and implement measures to reduce the risk of students dropping out. These supports include individual and group counseling, social skills group, behavioral counseling, and basic needs assistance. The site coordinators operate as an integral part of the staff at their assigned school learning the unique culture of their schools and building crucial relationships in the community.

Last year, 5,477 students were served inside 12 Caddo Parish schools and 714 students received one-on-one case management. Of those 714, 100% of the students remained in school.

In the 2023-2024 school year, Volunteers of America North Louisiana will operate CIS in 14 Caddo Parish schools. For more information, visit www.voanorthla.org/cis.

With the increased presence of Communities In Schools, nationwide, Title I schools are directly impacted through our proven ISS model. This results in positive outcomes of student success, increased attendance and engagement and more students graduating from high school.

About Volunteers of America North Louisiana
At Volunteers of America North Louisiana, we specialize in providing opportunity, promoting dignity, and inspiring change in all who find their way to us. For over 85 years, we have been uplifting individuals, families, and communities in north Louisiana, operating around 40 programs for veterans, children and families, people with disabilities, and senior adults. Our work touches the mind, body, heart – and ultimately the spirit – of those we serve, integrating our deep compassion with highly effective programs and services. To learn more about our work, visit www.voanorthla.org.

More About Communities In Schools
Communities In Schools® (CIS™) is a national organization that ensures every student, regardless of race, zip code, or socioeconomic background, has what they need to realize their potential in school and beyond. Working directly inside 3,000 schools across the country, we 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. Together, we build a powerful change movement made up of peers, students, and alumni committed to building an equitable path to education for future generations. For more than four decades, Communities In Schools has demonstrated measurable success in creating equitable outcomes for schools and students of color and students that live in impoverished communities.

About Ballmer Group
Ballmer Group is committed to improving economic mobility for children and families in the United States, funding leaders and organizations that have demonstrated the ability to reshape opportunity and reduce systemic inequities. We focus on multiple impact areas and systems that can impact economic mobility – such as early learning, K-12 education, college and career pathways, housing, behavioral health, and criminal justice – and we support leaders and organizations that focus on undoing systemic racism and the barriers it has created. Ballmer Group is both a national and regional funder – we have a presence and invest deeply in southeast Michigan, Washington State, and Los Angeles County. Ballmer Group was co-founded by philanthropist Connie Ballmer and her husband Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, founder of USAFacts, and chairman of the Los Angeles Clippers. Learn more at www.ballmergroup.org.