TV Ads by Academy Award-Winning Filmmaker Highlight Leading Reasons Why Kids Drop Out, Including Hunger, Homelessness, Lack of Medical Care

As kids around the country are graduating, Communities In Schools of Lakewood, part of the Communities In Schools of Washington network—and part of the nation’s largest and most effective organization dedicated to keeping kids in school and helping them succeed in life—today released a report demonstrating the organization’s impact on graduation rates and other positive student outcomes.

The report was released as part of a national public awareness campaign featuring young people from around the country who have graduated from high school as a result of their involvement with Communities In Schools. (Download the full report and infographic at

“Poverty, language barriers, homelessness, and poor health all play a part in limiting the ability of a child to even see, much less pursue their potential,” said Susan Richards, state director, Communities In Schools of Washington, in the new report, entitled Changing the Picture in Washington State. “Our school-based site coordinators give them a hand up, hope for the future, and the confidence to get them walking down a path towards success.”

Every 26 seconds, a young person in America drops out of school. When students drop out, they are more likely to end up in poverty, suffer poor health, be dependent on social services, enter the criminal justice system and cost the U.S. billions of dollars each year in lost revenue and increased spending on government assistance programs.

To change the picture in Washington state, Communities In Schools is serving approximately 54,000 students on 160 campuses, working hand-in-hand with schools, communities, partner organizations and families to surround students with a strong network of support. Collectively, 99% of secondary students served by Communities In Schools of Washington affiliates remained in school; 96% were promoted to the next grade or graduated.

During the 2012-13 school year (the most recent year for which complete data is available), Communities In Schools of Lakewood achieved the following:

  • Mentoring matches increased from 62 to 85 with 94% of our mentees reaching their personal goals set with their mentors.
  • Approximately 285 students in the After-School Program, 70% of which met their academic goals by the end of the year!
  • All of our partner schools have a 90% or higher free/reduced lunch rate. We partnered with Caring For Kids to distribute hundreds of “Growing Up Is Fun” bags, which contained books and resources to help families prepare their child(ren) for kindergarten.
  • CISL became a nationally accredited affiliate of Communities In Schools – a process of adhering to national standards of site coordination, business management and program development.

The report features interviews with Susan Richards, state director of Communities In Schools of Washington, a student and a site coordinator. Additional local interview opportunities are available on request.

“I firmly believe that partnerships with nonprofits such as Communities In Schools are a vital part of any district’s greater commitment to supporting each of its students toward maximum success,” said Michael Dunn, Ed.D., Superintendent, NorthEast Washington Education Service District 101. “I am a huge fan and have seen firsthand—as a district superintendent and as a board member—the impact and positive results of their work.”

To raise awareness about Communities In Schools, a public awareness campaign is running nationwide, featuring short videos by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris and photos by renowned photographer David Harriman. These videos and images are online at

Communities In Schools of Lakewood is part of the national Communities In Schools network, which operates in more than 2,200 schools in the most challenged communities of 26 states and the District of Columbia. Working closely with school districts and partner organizations, Communities In Schools serves 1.3 million young people and their families each year. Based directly inside schools throughout the country, Communities In Schools connects students and their families to basic and critical educational and community-based resources, tailored to each student’s specific needs. Learn more about Communities In Schools of Lakewood at

This report, Changing the Picture in Washington State, is one of many Communities In Schools reports being released around our country today in time for graduations.