WACO, TX — Communities in Schools is the largest provider of campus based behavioral health for students in the state.
Efforts here in Central Texas with CIS Heart of Texas work along side students to help them mentally, emotionally and academically. Preparing them for the next grade level all the way through graduation.
CIS wants to make sure they get enough state funding this Legislative Session. Aaron Mize, Executive Director of CIS Heart of Texas says they work with 22 schools across 7 districts.
"We would like to increase our depth on campuses there's a need for mental health services," Mize said.
Services currently include a site coordinator, who works one on one with the student to help them with whatever needs they might have in and out of school. With the Covid-19 pandemic resources were stretched but CIS adapted and still in the 2019-2020 school year set their students up for success.
"It's been more expensive to run programming virtually, and we've identified a lot of new needs in the past year," Mize said.
There are 3,500 students in the CIS Heart of Texas program but throughout the state that 105,000 students are seeking help through CIS programs.
"We have had a couple students this year that have lost parents due to covid," Site Coordinator, Tammy Taylor said.
Taylor has worked with CIS for 14 years and is a Site Coordinator at Chilton Secondary, working on her fourth year. She has 125 students she either checks in on every other week or meets daily with others.
"My goal is for every kid to be successful, and so whatever that need and whatever it is. I mean I can't fix everything but so much of the time they just need somebody to listen," Taylor said.
For every dollar spent in the classroom $11.60 is put back into the local economy, although its the students needs that is the focus.
"We want to have as big of a footprint as we need to while staying effective locally," Mize said.
Throughout the state during the 2019-20 school year 95% of eligible seniors graduated, 99% of students in grades 7-12 advanced to the next grade level. 89% improved in academics and 82% of students improved in academics. CIS is working toward a goal of 100% in all categories.