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Communities in Schools Set for Rebranding, Aims at More Localized Approach to Helping At-risk Students

Courtesy of Partners Advancing Student Success

Communities in Schools of Carrollton and Carroll County (CIS) announced on May 13 plans to transition into an independent, local organization that continues to successfully inspire and empower at-risk students. The organization’s name will officially change on July 1 to Partners Advancing Student Success (PASS).

The new moniker reflects a change that will shed national oversight that sometimes hampers the group’s focused approach to working with students who are at-risk of dropping out of school due to social, financial or family issues.

The Board of Directors for Communities in Schools recently voted on January 17 to make the transition to adopt the name change and begin functioning as an independent organization.

“Our coordinators are very involved with the students at their schools, and we try to do as much as we can to devote our efforts to helping at-risk students in our area,” said Executive Director Cynthia Langley. “We began to see that our coordinators were spending more time at their desks, going over and collecting data for the national organization, than they were actually spending time with our students. We need to be focused on the needs of the individual students that we are serving. This new transition will allow us to be more effective and devoted to helping kids in our schools.”

Langley said the organization has already began making changes to usher in PASS for Carrollton and Carroll County schools, saying that the organization’s mission will remain unchanged.

“We’re going to be providing the same level of service as we have since we started working with local schools, and being independent will help us to provide a higher level of service and help at-risk students overcome barriers,” said Langley. “We have the same service and the same mission.”

Communities in Schools of Carrollton/Carroll County has worked with 66 local seniors from area schools. Langley says that 65 of the seniors received their high school diploma this past week while one is still on track to graduate at a later date.

Carroll County Schools Superintendent Scott Cowart said that the efforts of Communities in Schools has become evident in recent years as the organization has managed to help drastically reduce the number of high school dropout rates among local schools.

“They’ve had a tremendous impact on our efforts to impact graduation rates and also to meet the needs of students who are struggling with issues that hinder their performance at school. We are excited to see the new transition and we’re confident that PASS will be a community-based solution and not a government-based solution. Being able to partner with a community-based organization is great help for our school.”

CIS has worked with a total of 523 students in Carrollton and Carroll County Schools this year to help steer each one in a positive direction of earning their high school diploma and furthering their education.

“In addition to working with at-risk students in relation to staying in school, we’ve also provided guidance lessons for bullying prevention for 5,934 for middle school aged students,” said Langley. “We have provided basic needs for 6,319, that ranges from clothing to food to school supplies. We aim to continue to enrich the lives of our students in a positive way for many years to come as a local organization that is solely focused on the needs of our own students.”

Moving forward, Langley says that PASS will be removing levels of bureaucracy that has prevented staff from providing direct services to students in a timely fashion and that the needs of each local school and each student body will be tailored to each schools’ culture.

“The Board of Directors will become a true governing body of the organization developing policy, procedure, and bylaws that are representative of this organization’s values and beliefs,” said Langley. “We are excited to go forward as a community-based organization that inspires and empowers all students to live a healthy and self-sufficient lifestyle.”

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Donny Karr
Donny is a writer from Carrollton, Georgia. His work has been published in magazines and newspapers across the West Georgia area, as well as many websites. Donny has a degree in Mass Communications from the University of West Georgia. He is also an outdoor writer who enjoys writing about outdoor adventures and travel.