Communities In Schools mobilized to Meet Student Needs
In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, Communities In Schools of Central Texas is going beyond school walls to meet students where they are and ensure that their basic needs do not go unmet. Staff are working full time, remotely, to lead efforts to support students and families.
From March 23 to March 27, 162 CIS staff, AmeriCorps members, and university interns completed wellness and immediate needs check-ins with 1,652 Central Texas families in seven local school districts – Austin, Bastrop, Del Valle, Elgin, Hays, Lockhart and Manor.
Loss of work and income, and being cut off from the school community can impact access to basic needs like food, shelter, and other necessities. In response, Communities In Schools of Central Texas has set up an emergency fund for students and families impacted by COVID-19. In the first week of outreach to families, CIS provided $10,698 in gift cards and emergency housing assistance.
While schools are closed, Communities In Schools of Central Texas will continue to adapt to provide support for more than 6,700 students from 86 CIS partner campuses. When students eventually do return to campus, CIS will be there, going back to work on campus, partnering with principals and teachers to meet the specific needs of each individual school community, providing emotional support, and helping everyone on campus with the transition back to school.
"Communities In Schools of Central Texas continues to be hard at work focusing on our mission," says Suki Steinhauser, CIS of Central Texas Chief Executive Officer. "We are deeply concerned for the well-being of our students and families. Loss of work and income, and being cut off from the school community can create tremendous stress and impacts access to basic needs like food, shelter, and other necessities. Now more than ever, CIS staff and AmeriCorps members are laser-focused on students' well-being and continued learning, and are innovating to provide supports in new and needed ways."
A Communities In Schools of Central Texas COVID-19 Response page is being updated regularly at ciscentraltexas.org
Communities In Schools of Central Texas (CIS) works directly inside K-12 schools full time in partnership with teachers and administrators to address immediate student needs. The mission of Communities In Schools is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. The organization serves 86 Central Texas schools in seven school districts (Austin, Bastrop, Del Valle, Elgin, Hays, Lockhart, and Manor) with services ranging from mental health counseling to crisis intervention, basic needs assistance, mentoring, and academic interventions.