Amarillo ISD to Pilot Successful Dropout Prevention Program

Amarillo ISD to Pilot Successful Dropout Prevention Program
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August 22, 2016 -- The Amarillo ISD Board of Trustees voted to bring one of the nation’s most effective dropout prevention programs, Communities in Schools (CIS), into three of the district’s high schools. The goal of the CIS program is to increase the number of at-risk students who are successful in school. Last year, 98 percent of the at-risk students served through CIS stayed in school.

“Our primary focus is to empower students, stay in school and achieve in life,” said Donna Montes, CEO of CIS of the South Plains, in her presentation to the school board.

The CIS model would include three site coordinators, one at Caprock, Palo Duro and Tascosa high schools, who would identify and serve at-risk students facing barriers in the form of poverty, attendance issues, behavior problems and academic struggles.

“The site coordinator will help to connect the student with existing services in the community,” explained Montes. "We bridge the gap by finding ways to help the student overcome those barriers and be able to stay in school.”

AISD has an 89 percent graduation rate, explained Kevin Phillips, one of the district’s executive directors of student performance. “That essentially means eleven percent of our students are struggling to beat some obstacle in order to graduate. We have identified CIS to be a proven program to help those particular students be more successful in school.”

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