We’re excited to announce that Ballmer Group has awarded Communities In Schools of Washington $2.1 million to support students at risk of dropout in Washington state. Over the next three years, funds will expand services to new school districts and communities, providing wraparound supports to about 25,000 students.

“This generous investment from Ballmer Group will help us build the capacity of local communities and school districts to address barriers impacting their youth,” says Susan Richards, State Director of CISWA. “We’re excited to be able to increase the number of students receiving needed supports and empower them to build a brighter future for themselves.”

With this grant, Communities In Schools of Washington and its network of 12 affiliates will expand supports to underserved students in local and rural communities by 10% per year over the next three years. Last school year, the Washington CIS network served 80,000 students, including 4,100 case-managed students. Of the students receiving case management from CIS, 87% improved academics, 76% improved attendance, and 87% improved behavior. In addition, of the twelfth grade students receiving intensive supports from Communities In Schools, 93% graduated or obtained a GED. Ballmer Group’s investment in the CIS network will allow more students to achieve these positive outcomes, putting them on a path to high school graduation.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction estimates that 81% of Washington students graduated on time in 2018, meaning one in five students still drops out. An increasing body of research shows the startling lifetime cost of dropping out of high school, including implications on young people’s ability to earn a living wage, pay taxes, their reliance on public assistance, an increased likelihood of substance abuse, and an increased likelihood of justice system involvement and incarceration. Communities In Schools intercedes by helping students address individual and systemic barriers to academic success at critical times during their education. What makes the CIS model unique is a school-based site coordinator, a caring adult who partners with schools and communities to connect kids with needed resources. With wraparound support and encouragement from adult role models, students can thrive in the classroom and into adulthood.

“We know that a quality education and a high school diploma are critical to every student’s future economic success,” said Andi Smith, Ballmer Group’s Executive Director – Washington. “We are proud to grow the impact of Community In Schools’ work in Washington state.”

Thank you, Ballmer Group, for going #AllinforKids with us!

This story was also covered by The News Tribune in Tacoma.