CIS, MSD Partner to Offer Intensive Student Programming

Communities In Schools (CIS) Site Director Kia Lockhart and Milford Central Academy students during the 2012 CIS Program.
Communities In Schools (CIS) Site Director Kia Lockhart and Milford Central Academy students during the 2012 CIS Program.

Communities in Schools of Delaware (CISDE), in partnership with Milford Central Academy and Milford High School, have planned a comprehensive after-school program for 120 middle and high school students and intensive summer school program for 40 students. CISDE has collaborated with more than 15 partners to offer innovative, enriching, and dynamic programs. Milford School administration will select attendees that will benefit most from services including students in poverty, suffering from behavioral issues, struggling academically and needing enrichment or personal development.

The sixteen-weeklong after-school program, meeting three times per week, is divided into three components. The academic enrichment section focuses on homework help, DCAS preparation, and tutoring. The second component prepares students for success as they move into adulthood including how to prepare for college or a career, entrepreneurship, bullying prevention and community-based social involvement. The final priority is to connect students to extra-curricular, enriching activities including art, karate, cooking, and zumba.

“The after school program will provide opportunities for students to plan for their futures, improve grades, recover credits, join groups and activities, and engage in service learning,” stated Jennifer Koester, Communities in Schools Operations Manager. “Since Milford is such an involved and interested community, several area stakeholders and businesses are eager to get involved.”

The summer school component, which will begin this August, is an intensive four-week academic previewing and extracurricular activity-focused opportunity for 40 students. This program will connect students to positive adult mentors and family services to improve upon academic and personal weaknesses. Families will be invited to participate in career development sessions and workshops focused on their student’s success and family support services will also be facilitated by community partners focused on connecting families with various resources.

“The summer program is focused on previewing the upcoming school year material which will allow students a chance to get a head start on some new material and boost confidence,” stated Koester.  “Extracurricular activities will also be offered at no cost to families.”

Unique to the Communities In School program, students choose much of what they learn and are able to progress academically and personally in autonomous ways that are relevant for them. Working closely with teachers and other community partners will allow for students to receive individual attention. Through empirical data evaluation, CISDE will track students for personal and academic improvement and anticipate a raise in test scores and letter grades coupled with an increased interest in school, personal development, and preparation for the future.

“During last year’s programs more than 73% of affiliated students improved their math DCAS scores and more than 59% improved reading DCAS scores,” stated Koester. “ Additionally, teachers reported that by the end of the year, 94% of affiliated students improved homework completion or quality, 99% volunteered more in class, 97% had improved attendance, and 81% improved overall academic performance.”

For students involved in the summer and after-school programs there will be no cost to families and transporation, meals, and all fees are waived for participants. The grant for both programs were made possible by support and funding from 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Individuals interested in attending either program or to find out more information are encouraged to contact Jennifer Koester, Communities in Schools Operations Manager, at