Santiago, a student at E.K. Powe Elementary School, was initially met during the first week of the 2017 school year by our Graduation and Success Coach, Moné Smith. He was sitting next to his classmates, not engaging anyone including Moné who was trying to get to know him. In the days following, she observed Santiago in class, saw that he kept to himself and did not like to talk to his teachers or classmates. Additionally, it was revealed to Moné that Santiago had a speech impediment and was not reading or writing at grade level.
As a part of the services delivered to Santiago through CIS Durham, he received an hour of individualized reading time during the school day. Followed by a positive behavior incentive system that focused on his participation in activities during the after-school program, where he was enrolled. This system rewarded him with points when he fully participated in activities, which included talking with fellow students, to win prizes at the end of the week. His after-school teachers noticed that he began to open up, talk, and participate without being prompted.
To encourage continued social development, Moné encouraged Santiago to come to our summer program, “Sustainable Living and Me!”. During that program, Moné began to see the biggest improvement in Santiago’s social skills. He would enthusiastically participate in the activities, be engaged in competitions and start conversations with teachers and his peers. Students were tasked with hands-on work in the school garden and Santiago worked hard with weeding and watering. He volunteered to answer questions and read passages as they learned about different growing seasons and the processes involved in sustaining a garden or farm. Santiago remained on the positive behavior incentive system throughout the summer, one classmate even remarking, “we love this new Santiago”.
Santiago began to realize that the more effort he put into the program, the greater benefits he received--through friendships, positive praise, rewards, and increased reading skills. As his mother watched him give his short speech about the use of tools and safety in the garden she noticed his change and smiled with pride!
Santiago will be entering the 4th grade in the 2018-2019 school year with improved reading skills, the confidence to make his voice heard in class and make friends.
I had a conference this week with my son’s teacher about his grades, and she reported to me that she had seen such a magnificent change in him within the last month. And I owe it all to the Strengthening Families Program.
Success in Life
Matching supports to student's needs
Diamond spent her freshman and sophomore years at Hillside High School, where she found herself struggling in classes unable to accommodate her needs. Diamond was easily distracted in a large classroom setting, and surrounded by other students equally in need of attention.
Diamond's attendance began to suffer as she skipped school to avoid sitting in classes where she felt she had no support. During this time, Diamond worked closely with her CIS of Durham Graduation Coach, Ms. Jackson, getting one on one tutoring after school.
Graduation Coaches like Jackson work with specific students who are in danger of not graduating. The program focuses on a wide range of supports, including academic mentoring, career or college readiness, and individual counseling.
Recognizing that Diamond was still struggling, Jackson coordinated with the school to help her transfer to Durham Performance Learning Center (DPLC), a school known for accommodating students who don’t do well in traditional classroom settings.
DPLC was created by a partnership between Communities in Schools of Durham and Durham County Schools. DPLC is “a small, non-traditional high school … [that] utilizes project-based learning, service learning, job shadowing, internships, mentoring, and dual enrollment with technical and four-year colleges.” Students here follow an online curriculum with the assistance of learning facilitators.
Two years later, Diamond has caught up on her credits and is looking forward to graduating in August. She is hoping to start a program at Durham Technical Community College in the Fall, and is very interested in becoming a traveling nurse.
Success in School
Giving children the one on one time they need
When Keyle first enrolled in The Communities in Schools of Durham's 21st Century Community Learning Centers program at EK Powe Elementary School, she was quiet and shy. She was also missing some of the key skills to succeed in school, such as phonics, reading comprehension and basic math skills.
Using CIS's proven model, Success Coaches like Zenovia Hogue provide support services to a select group students within each school. These students are selected based on criteria like attendance, behavior and coursework. The Success Coach then crafts an individualized, evidence based solutions for each student with programs like peer reading groups, socio-emotional groups, and after school programs.
"She was significantly behind but very capable" says Hogue, "Teachers have a classroom full of students to teach and it's difficult to give some children like Keyle the one on one time they need, but that is where I am happy to help." Hogue worked with Keyle every day, both in the classroom and during the CIS 21st. Century after school program, using a variety of tools including tailored math and reading interventions.
The result? Keyle showed tremendous growth by improving at least one level in each course and maintaining those improvements for three grading periods.
Success at Home
Learning is more than what is taught in the classroom
At Communities in Schools of Durham, we engage with parents and teachers to build environments that help alleviate behavior problems so students and teachers can be at their best.
One of the programs that we offer is our Incredible Years Parenting Program, a 14 week program where parents learn techniques such as positive behavior reinforcement, de-escalation techniques and parent-child relationship building.
The Incredible Years program is not only for parents. The Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management Program (IY TCM Program) is part of a comprehensive, multifaceted program designed to "promote emotional and social competence and to prevent, reduce, and treat aggression and emotional problems in young children 0 to 12 years old".
Currently, CIS of Durham, in partnership with Durham Public Schools manages the only operating IY TCM Program in Durham, which is primarily for Pre-Kindergarten teachers in the district.