Highlands Chamber hears of Communities in Schools

Rafael Montgomery speaks on CIS in Goose Creek schools.

HIGHLANDS– Chamber of Commerce members and guests heard a full report on Communities in Schools, from Rafael Montgomery. Chamber president Jessica Woods presented the speaker, and moderated the luncheon.
CIS is a program administered by the Texas Education Agency, and has existed since 1979 in many Texas communities. In Baytown, the organization was formed in 1993. As explained in their brochure, the Mission of Communities in Schools is to help young people stay in school, successfully learn and prepare for life by coordinating the connection of needed community resources in the school setting.
CIS has found that many children don’t have a structured family to support them, and CIS tries to provide some help.
They believe that each child needs and deserves five basics:
1. A personal, one-on-one relationship with a caring adult;
2. A safe place to learn and grow;
3. A healthy start and a healthy future;
4. A marketable skill to use upon graduation;
5. A chance to give back to peers and community.
A basic technique that CIS uses is Mentors, from the community or businesses, to work with individual children.
CIS works with Goose Creek schools, and has a case manager at Highlands Junior. There are also programs in Crosby and Channelview.
Funding for Communities in Schools comes from several sources, Montgomery said. These include United Way, Goose Creek CISD, the state of Texas, and various grant programs.
Also speaking in favor of the program were several parents, including Brandy Tapley of the Chamber, Jessica Woods, and United Way president David Mohlman.
After the presentation by Montgomery, Woods invited members to visit B. P. Hopper, which is the Chamber’s partner school, to see the new renovations and additions, including a new gym.
Woods announced that next month’s luncheon would include the Terry Davis Award, the Business of the Year Award, and recognition of Public Safety Officers.