Aug. 4—Communities in Schools of Glynn County plans to expand into Jane Macon Middle School this year, thanks to the support of a local private donor.
The donor approached the nonprofit, which serves at-risk students by providing the resources and support they need to focus on graduating from high school and being successful in life, and asked for the expansion of services.
"We have already identified and hired our site coordinator for Jane Macon," said Lynn Love, executive director of CIS, during an annual update during the Glynn County Board of Education's most recent work session.
CIS was established in Glynn County in the mid-2000s and works hand-in-hand with the school system, placing a school-based coordinator at each school site it serves.
During the 2020-21 school year, CIS served more than 500 students at eight schools. The nonprofit also expanded in McIntosh County Academy.
Love reported that 98 percent of seniors served by CIS last year at Brunswick High and Glynn Academy graduated in May.
"Unfortunately, we broke our streak of 100 percent graduation over the past three prior years, but I still think that's a successful rate of graduation for our students," she said.
At Glynn Academy, CIS served 96 students. Of the 16 seniors at GA, nine enrolled or are enrolling in college, five entered the workforce and two enlisted in the military, Love said.
At Brunswick High School, CIS managed the cases of 94 students. Of the 17 seniors, 10 enrolled in college, four are now employed and two enlisted in the military.
CIS staff worked last year in Needwood and Glynn middle schools and Burroughs-Molette, Goodyear and Altama elementary schools.
The nonprofit managed 79 student cases at GMS, 68 at Needwood, 54 at BMES, 55 at Goodyear and 57 at Altama.
All were promoted to the next grade level, Love said.
CIS also began working three years ago at Glynn Learning Center, an alternative school program housed in Risley Annex.
"It is a fully functioning CIS site," Love said. "We are implementing the model there that includes family engagement and teacher, student incentives just like at all of our other school sites. Case management is available to all students."
More than 50 students were able to transfer back to their home school last year, Love said.
Tonya Barbee, clinical program manager for CIS, provides one-on-one therapeutic services to CIS students in need of additional support. This past year, she provided clinical support to 27 students.
"She facilitated some small groups at Burroughs-Molette and Goodyear (elementary schools)," Love said. "She had a total of 164.25 hours of individual clinical support and about 62 hours of group support was provided."
Love noted that many students in Glynn County need grief support because of the death of a loved or loss of a family member in other ways.
"Some of our students obviously have actually lost a parent or a guardian to death, but just also the experience of losing the parental figure in their life when they become incarcerated or not in the home anymore," she said. "It's a huge theme that (Barbee's) seeing, is that there's a lot of need for support around grief for our children."
CIS staff met in June with principals of each school at which the nonprofit is based to review the past school year and discuss strengths and weaknesses of the program away from the distractions of the typical school day.
"It was just really a great time to really be able to communicate some of those things to each other, and our staff really walked away enjoying that time together again," Love said.
The donor supporting the Jane Macon expansion hopes to continue providing funding as long as the program continues to meet its goals, Love said.
"They really want to do this long term, so that's very exciting," Love said.