MILLEDGEVILLE — Communities In Schools of Milledgeville-Baldwin County (CISMBC) has been a driving force of various education initiatives in Milledgeville-Baldwin County since CISMBC Executive Director Sandy Baxter came on board in December 2009. With support from the CISMBC board, staff, community partners and volunteers, the nation’s largest dropout prevention organization has gradually broken down barriers to learning for local children and families.
“Communities In Schools works to stem the dropout rate. We set our youth up for success in the classroom so that the intrinsic satisfaction of learning will motivate them to stay in school. We help our youth see that a diploma is mandatory for employment and a portal to higher education, which is crucial to compete in today’s global marketplace,” Baxter said. “Everyone in Baldwin County wins when our citizens learn how to communicate effectively, think critically, solve problems creatively and work with others respectfully. Learning these skills starts with valuing education. When people put their hearts into improving their minds, the human potential to soar has no limits.”
Within the last school year, site coordinators, ASPIRE program educators and AmeriCorps tutors at the Early Learning Center, Eagle Ridge Elementary, Creekside Elementary, Midway Elementary and Baldwin High collaboratively dedicated nearly 200 hours to bring resources to students and coordinate extra services at each school.
“CISMBC is also working with a staff person from the College of Education at Georgia College to work with Early College to provide services,” Baxter said. “In addition, we are collaborating with the Baldwin College & Career Academy to add a Performance Learning Center — a non-traditional high school for students at risk of dropping out.”
A Georgia College graduate assistant gives Blandy Hills Elementary 10 hours per week to offer some of the same support and benefits as the other schools. CISMBC plans to raise enough funds this year in order to place a full-time site coordinator at Blandy Hills by next school year.
“It is our goal to have site coordinators in all of our schools — some full time — but, the reality is funding is scarce and competition for grants is fierce,” Baxter said. “We know our efforts are making a difference, so we will continue to make every effort to expand.”
In fiscal year 2013, CISMBC’s services impacted students and parents in the following ways:
• 2,933 students were reached with 51 school programs, including nutrition, prevention, reading and college readiness;
• 233 students in pre-k through high school received individual, case-managed services;
• More than 800 parents received indirect services through FAFSA information, college awareness, literacy fairs and other services;
• 74 parents received direct services with parenting, resume writing, interviewing skills, nutrition and prevention training;
• 331 adults enrolled in local GED classes, with 131 level completers.
“CISMBC’s swift success stems from a strong collaboration from many quarters, ranging from our board of directors and public school employees, to volunteers, community agencies and businesses,” Baxter said. “The willingness of our community to tackle literacy through collaboration is admirable and working together we can improve our children’s future.”
CISMBC is a nonprofit organization aimed at helping students who are at risk of failure to stay in school, achieve academically, graduate and become productive and contributing members within the community.
“I believe we can build an educated workforce if we help young people trust that the hard work of school will pay off with a brighter future. As a community, we are using our words and our actions to hammer home the message that a high school diploma is a ladder out of poverty.”
For more information about the local CIS affiliate, to volunteer, or donate funds or supplies, contact Baxter at 478-452-3408, or visit www.milledgeville.communitiesinschools.org.
Click here to subscribe to The Union-Recorder print edition. http://tinyurl.com/6qdm4oj
Click here to subscribe to The Union-Recorder e-edition and view this full article. http://unionrecorder.cnhi.newsmemory.com/