Communities In Schools expands into Berks County through partnership with Kutztown Strong
Communities In Schools (CIS) is pleased to announce its partnership with Kutztown Strong and its expansion into three new school districts in Berks County. This partnership will connect more than 5,000 students and 3,000 families in the Kutztown Area, Brandywine Heights Area and Fleetwood Area school districts to behavioral health supports, community resources, and much more. Kutztown Strong is a community-based organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Kutztown and surrounding communities.
Beginning this school year, the three school districts will share two CIS Coordinators who will deliver Integrated Student Supports (ISS) to address the nonacademic barriers that prevent kids from coming to school ready to learn. With challenges around substance misuse, depression, anxiety, low academic achievement, and more on the rise for students in rural areas, the new partnership allows CIS to reach underserved communities, applying its 35+ year history of success as a student supports leader in Eastern, PA.
“Communities in Schools is thrilled to begin serving the Kutztown Area, Fleetwood Area and Brandywine Heights Area school districts,” said Timothy Mulligan, President/CEO of Communities In Schools. “Our approach will be tailored to the unique needs of these communities. With Kutztown Strong and our district partnerships, we are eager to begin addressing the specific concerns of rural Berks County with our evidence based supports. Together, we will change the picture for students and families so that they thrive in school and in life”.
Funding for this critical initiative was a collaborative effort between Communities in Schools, Kutztown Strong, public, and private sectors including the three school districts. The offices of State Senator Judy Schwank (D-11th district) and District Attorney John Adams collectively secured $65,000 in state and local funding, representing approximately one third of the funds necessary to support the contracted services. Remaining funds ($128,000) have been be secured through AbbVie Pharmaceuticals and Communities In Schools through the national Challenge Schools Grant.
CIS is well equipped to expand its reach into Berks County, having had a significant presence in Reading since 2015. In July of 2020, CIS also expanded into Southern Middle School, West Middle School and Wilson High School in the Wilson School District. In total, CIS serves in 41 school sites and reached more than 32,000 students last year with supports.
“We are excited to collaborate with Kutztown Strong at these schools,” said Migdalia Garcia, Program Manager at Communities In Schools. “The relationships we build will impact not only the students but the community as a whole. We will work diligently to remove barriers for students to progress and achieve their goals.”
About Communities In Schools of Eastern PA (CIS)
With caring adults serving over 32,000 students in 41 schools throughout Allentown School District, Bethlehem Area School District, Brandywine Heights Area School District, East Penn School District, Easton Area School District, Fleetwood Area School District, Kutztown Area School District, Reading School District, Whitehall-Coplay School District and Wilson School District, CIS’ mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. This year, there are students across our communities who need extra support, whether they are learning in school or at home. Our trained professionals help ensure all kids have the same opportunity to succeed.