Communities in Schools announces 2007-2008 numbers

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Communities in Schools of Brunswick County Inc. (CIS) has released its annual data and information report for 2007-2008.

The organization aims to address dropout prevention and offers educational resources for students and families throughout the county.

CIS operates and facilitates five main programs: Adopt A School and Volunteer Program, After School Program, Teen Court and Peer Court, Family Resource Centers (Family Literacy and Parenting Education), and Academic Scholarships.

Adopt a School and Volunteer Program

This program recruits and retains volunteers who focus on one-on-one tutoring/mentoring for students performing below grade level. It also works with partners through local businesses, faith communities, civic groups and other agencies to help provided needed resources for students and schools.

Throughout 2007-2008, the program operated with 679 one-on-one volunteer tutors and 1,707 volunteers who combined volunteered a total of 39,761 hours. The volunteers helped more than 8,000 students with tutoring, mentoring, one-on-one study and more. Donations totaling $186,800 were provided through local partnerships to Brunswick County Schools.

After School Program

The After School Program provides affordable, quality after school care in a safe, nurturing environment. It is at 11 elementary and middle schools throughout the county.

Students receive homework assistance tutoring, and the help they need to succeed at their current grade level. The program also offers enrichment opportunities in community service and community-based activities.

In 2007-2008, 690 students took advantage of the program, and 362 students received scholarships to the program. More than 200 students performing below grade level received individualized tutoring.

Seventy percent of students who received tutoring raised their math grade at least one level, while 64 percent of students increased their reading grade one level.

Parents who have children enrolled said 82 percent of their students improved in social skills and self esteem, and 92 percent said their students showed positive family interaction.

Teen Court and Peer Court

Teen Court and Peer Court operate a juvenile court diversion program for first-time offenders.

They participate in a courtroom trial run by their peers who set the sentencing, which includes community service, restitution, and workshops, which help students with decision-making, conflict resolution, and substance abuse.

Over the past year, 126 first-time offenders participated in court (102 in Teen, 24 in Peer), and 86 percent completed their sentence. Offenders completed a total of 1,055 community service hours (824 Teen, 231 Peer).

Of the first-time Peer Court offenders, 90 percent were able to stay out of the juvenile justice system for a year after their sentence completion.

The program operated with 169 student volunteers (118 Teen, 51 Peer), who acted as prosecutors, defense attorneys, bailiffs, jurors, and clerks. Adult volunteers (38 Teen, 7 Peer) assisted the students with the trials.

It is estimated the juvenile court system saved about $2,000 per case ($252,000) by sending first-time offenders to Teen Court and Peer Court.

Family Resource Centers (Family Literacy and Parenting Education)

The community-based Family Resource Centers, located in Ash and Leland, provide education and health services and resources. Parenting Education Program offers parenting education classes and support groups, focusing on court-mandated families but open to all.

The Family Literacy Center in Leland integrates early childhood education and adult education into a single program, which offers: adult education/GED and ESL courses, early childhood development, parenting education, parent and child interaction and home visits.

In 2007-2008, more than 2,700 children and parents were served at the Family Resource Centers. The Parenting Education Classes served 162 adults and 138 children, of which 94 percent of the parents said their parenting knowledge and skills increased.

Twenty-three families with 31 children participated in the Family Literacy Program. Seven adults received a GED, 97 percent of parents progressed three grade levels or more in reading, and 83 percent progressed three grade levels or more in math.

Academic Scholarships

Through CIS, graduating seniors can apply for academic scholarships. Last year, 18 $1,000-scholarships were awarded to graduating seniors from every high school in the county.

For more information about CIS and its services, call 457-3494, e-mail info@cisbrunswick.org or visit www.cisbrunswick.org.

Kathryn Jacewicz is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or at kjacewicz@brunswickbeacon.com.