News and Awards

Community Connections: End-of-year Edition — Happy graduation season! (May 2024)


  • Attendance Matters: Showing Up for Students, Increasing District Dollars
  • Recognize Good: CIS Earns 2024 Ethics in Business Award
  • The Power of Summer: CIS Supports Students’ Season of Exploration, Discovery

One Star Foundation: “Texas Joins New National Initiative to Address America’s Youth Mental Health Crisis”

In response to America’s youth mental health crisis, Texas is joining forces with 10 other states, the Schultz Family Foundation, Pinterest and AmeriCorps to recruit, train, and deploy the nation’s first Youth Mental Health Corps to help teenagers access critical mental health resources.

Youth Mental Health Corps AmeriCorps members will serve with Communities In Schools of Central Texas offering case management through weekly one-on-one or small group sessions to students from economically disadvantaged households.

The New York Times: “Why School Absences Have ‘Exploded’ Almost Everywhere”

“In the four years since the pandemic closed schools, U.S. education has struggled to recover on a number of fronts, from learning loss, to enrollment, to student behavior. But perhaps no issue has been as stubborn and pervasive as a sharp increase in student absenteeism, a problem that cuts across demographics and has continued long after schools reopened.”

The NY Times spoke with a mom who has worked with Communities in Schools of Central Texas to improve her children’s school attendance.

The Austin-American Statesman: “Federal officials visit Austin to discuss mentors, bilingual education at SXSW EDU” (subscription required)

“Giving people a safe environment to ask for help is key to building the kind of community students need, said Cindy Marten, the U.S. deputy secretary of education.”

The Austin-American Statesman: “US Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten visits Govalle Elementary for SXSW EDU 2024” (photos)

Press Release: “Communities In Schools of Central Texas and Austin ISD Welcome National Education Leaders to Showcase Student Support, Success”

The visit to Govalle Elementary School in East Austin featured a roundtable discussion about the National Partnership for Student Success, a public-private partnership among AmeriCorps, the U.S. Department of Education, The Everyone Graduates Center at John Hopkins University, and leading student support providers, including Communities In Schools. The initiative brings together experienced organizations to recruit, train and engage adults to work closely with parents, educators and others as they drive improved academic and social-emotional outcomes for students.

CIS serves more than 100 schools throughout Central Texas, including 55 AISD campuses.

Texas’ shortage of mental health works is getting worse – Texas Tribune article featuring CIS of Central Texas

Texas Tribune article: Uvalde was a mental health desert before a school shooting prompted Texas to respond with resources. Click here to read the story and learn about the Communities In Schools response.

Communities In Schools of Central Texas Board Member Patrick Patterson was on Fox 7 Austin to share tips for how parents can prepare students for back to school. 

CIS of Central Texas Chief Program Officer, Jen Griffis, on FOX 7 Austin sharing tips about how to prepare students for back to school.

Communities in Schools talks about ending the school year — The end of the school year can be stressful but it’s even more so for many families as they end another year of virtual and hybrid learning. CIS Teen Parent Educator Adriana Bolanos has some tips to help parents and kids stay calm, united, and focused.

Helping students manage emotions in stressful times — Communities in Schools Program Manager Stephanie Hooton from The Impact Center has more on how parents can play a role in helping students thrive in and outside the classroom.

Supporting mental health needs of young people — One in five teens has had a serious mental health disorder at some point in their life. So how do you support the mental health needs of young people? Program Director with Communities in Schools Erica Gallardo has more on what parents and caregivers should look out for and where they can go to find help.

Communities In Schools of Central Texas honored as Nonprofit of the Year  

The Power of Partnership: Communities In Schools and Hays CISD Principal Lisa Walls

CIS ASPIRE (Achieving Success through Parental Involvement, Reading and Education) partnership with KLRU

College Day at Allison Elementary

CIS of Central Texas AmeriCorps Member wins All In for Kids Award

Media Contact: Debra Joiner