Scott Bannister: CIS shaping students’ future, with United Way’s help

Published 8:46 pm Wednesday, October 7, 2015

By Scott Bannister

Special to the Post

As I reflect on my short time working in Rowan County, the amount of support and giving to this community has been tremendous.

The past month has been extremely busy for Communities In Schools of Rowan County, with more than 13,500 school supply items for our students coming in from the School Tools Campaign.

We have trained more 190 volunteers since school started.

Last week we were extremely busy with the Million Father March at Isenberg, Choice Bus at North Rowan Middle School and Literacy night at Koontz Elementary. We are very thankful for all the support the generous people of Rowan County who continue to give their support to us.

CIS Rowan is very thankful for all the hard work and dedication that Rowan County United Way staff, board members and volunteers put into the campaign each year.

Without that amount of time and dedication, our agency, Communities In School of Rowan County, would not be able to provide the services that we do today.

Last school year, more than 300 students were enrolled in our CIS Rowan program. All students receive on-going individual service and attention. Without funding from United Way we might only be able to serve half of those students.

This past April, with the help and support from Rowan County United Way, we were able to open another school based program at Isenberg Elementary.

Our dedicated student support specialists are located in seven of some of the most “in need” schools in our community where the free/reduced rates can be as high as 95 percent.

Because of the United Way funding, our staff are able to conduct home visits, meet parents at work and even help transport family members to the schools to attend parent/teacher meetings.

Our student support specialists meet with parents/guardians to assess children’s needs, develop individual goals and implement plans that will address that child’s concerns.

Last year 99 percent of our students stayed in school, 86 percent improved academically and 90 percent were promoted to the next grade. Without United Way funding last year, the outcomes may have looked incredibly different.

Thank you for the support you have given all Rowan County United Way agencies. To all who are living by this year’s campaign slogan — “Red, White and U” — thank you!

Scott Bannister is executive director of Communities In Schools of Rowan County.