Communities In Schools Lenawee Delivers Strong Graduation Rates

CIS Lenawee

In Michigan, 98 percent of seniors receiving Communities In Schools’ services are graduating from high school. As a part of that network, something is really working for Communities In Schools (CIS) of Lenawee, Michigan.

CIS of Lenawee County, located in southeastern Michigan, is a local arm of the national nonprofit organization. “We exist to keep kids in school, increase the graduation rate, and reduce the dropout rate,” explains KK Slusher, CIS Lenawee’s executive director.

That 98 percent statewide graduation rate was reported in the CIS 2013-2014 Annual Report, reflecting how at the center of Lenawee’s work is a strong commitment to positive youth development. “As far back as anyone at the agency can remember, we’ve been promoting the Developmental Assets,” said Slusher.

The agency has been active in Lenawee County for 18 years, and the community has come to rely on receiving information about the Developmental Assets. “If we stop promoting them, we hear about it,” said Slusher of the assets. “People here take the assets very seriously and they put them to work.”

More than 2,900 community members receive monthly email asset updates, keeping the mission of CIS ever active and practical—to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

CIS Lenawee also makes sure the Developmental Assets have a big presence at the schools where they work. The Developmental Assets are posted in the school buildings, shared in daily school announcements, and sent out to parents. The agency plans to take this a step further in the near future by including activities and actions that build assets in the information they share.

One of the group’s favorite resources, 40 Ways Anyone Can Build Assets posters, reinforces CIS’s Five Basics for Kids:

  • A one-on-one relationship with a caring adult
  • A safe place to learn and grow
  • A healthy start and a healthy future
  • A marketable skill to use upon graduation
  • A chance to give back to peers and community

CIS Lenawee is currently in the process of taking their asset-building efforts even further by establishing a county-wide pool of male mentors that will serve students in all 11 school districts. “We want to create a culturally-specific support system for young men in our community,” said Slusher. The program will be carefully structured around evidence-based guidelines. The mentors will meet with mentees at least two hours a week for a minimum of one year. As a part of that relationship, the pairs will do volunteer activities in the community together.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

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3 Comments

Nonprofit

Hello Charles,

Yes, Search Institute is a 501( c)(3) nonprofit charitable corporation. We provide many resources on our website free-of-charge for download (free login is required), such as lists of the 40 Developmental Assets, which you can access here. We also strive to create affordable resources for schools and programs that work with youth, which has always been a part of our organizational model.

Sincerely,
Samantha MacDonald
Web & Social Media Specialist
Search Institute