AT&T donates $60K to Coweta drop-out prevention program

From left, front row, are Superintendent Steve Barker, Coweta CIS Chairman Dennis McEntire, AT&T Regional Director of External Affairs Rich Johnson, Coweta CIS board member Mary Ann Bell and Coweta CIS Vice Chair Lisa Smith; back row, from left, are Coweta CIS board members Donna Brooks, Gerald Kemp, Rhodes Shell, Beverly Yeager, Jac Counts, Lisa McDonald, Carole Ann Fields, Garnet Reynolds, Vince Bass and Matt Brass. Photo/Special.

A large donation by AT&T will provide support for site coordinators working with the Coweta Communities In Schools (CIS) program.

The $60,000 donation was presented by AT&T Regional Director of External Affairs Rich Johnson to the Coweta County Board of Education at its March 11 meeting. CIS is the nation’s leading drop-out prevention program.

 “We want to invest in organizations that are making a measurable impact on the students they serve, and Communities In Schools is doing just that,” said Johnson. “By coupling this contribution with the power of our employees, we hope to take our collaboration to the next level and help even more students graduate high school ready for their futures.”

AT&T made the presentation to Dennis McEntire, Chairman of Coweta County’s CIS board of directors. McEntire was joined by board members and by CIS Field Support Coordinator Nancy Stone, according to school system spokesman Dean Jackson.

McEntire thanked AT&T for their support, saying the Coweta CIS board has worked over the past year to provide funding and marketing for CIS programs in Coweta schools. AT&T’s donation will provide the organization’s first school-based site coordinator in Coweta County next school year, at East Coweta High School, Jackson said.

“AT&T has demonstrated unparalleled leadership in supporting efforts to create a 21st century education system and American workforce,” said Neil Shorthouse, President of Communities In Schools of Georgia. “We are grateful for AT&T’s support and long-standing collaboration.”

Jackson said CIS is considered the nation’s leading drop-out prevention organization, providing at-risk children with academic assistance, school supplies, healthcare, counseling, family support, food and positive community role models. The organization began in the 1970s, when founder Bill Milliken created an organization focused on bringing community resources inside public schools and developing a model that keeps the efforts accessible to students, coordinated and accountable.

“By partnering with businesses, social service agencies, health care providers and volunteers, the organization places site coordinators inside schools to assess students’ needs and provide resources to help them succeed academically and socially,” said Jackson. “In addition to strengthening community outreach to children most in need through their schools and school systems, the organization also encourages greater involvement by parents in their children’s education and offers students ways to take greater responsibility for their own learning and development.”

Johnson noted that AT&T and CIS share a sense of urgency to advance the national movement focused on improving student success in an increasingly competitive global economy that demands a skilled workforce and informed citizenry.

Communities In Schools (CIS) of Georgia is part of the Communities In Schools national network. CIS is the nation’s leading drop-out prevention organization. Its mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. CIS of Georgia provides support and resources to 37 locally-managed local affiliates who serve more than 200 school and community-based sites. Together the partnership helps school districts increase school success and graduation rates. Communities sponsoring CIS programs have seen an increase in their school graduation rates, a decrease in violence and disruptions, and an increase in attendance and academic achievement, according to CIS Georgia.

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