Communities In Schools started in Georgia over 30 years ago and is now the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization, serving over one million youth in 25 states and the District of Columbia.  ICF International recently completed a comprehensive five-year evaluation, comparing the results to over 1,600 studies screened by the Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse.  ICF concluded that the Communities In Schools model is cost effective, reduces dropout rates and increases graduation rates.

Communities In Schools is nationally known as a dropout prevention organization focusing on the “Five Basics” that believes every child needs and deserves:

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; and
5) A chance to give back to peers and community


The mission of Communities In Schools is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.


  • To provide additional instructional support and services to
    enhance the academic achievement of all learners.
  • To coordinate services among programs and communicate
    information and implement available program and services for
    parents, negated, and migratory, and homeless students.


  • Reduce the number of dropouts;
  • Improve school attendance;
  • Enhance personal, educational, and social development;
  • Improve self-esteem of students;
  • Improve job readiness skills;
  • Coordinate timely and integrated delivery of services to youth
    and their families within the educational settings.

Our Mission

Communities In Schools surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. The nation-wide network of nonprofit organizations focuses on improving student and school success by providing needed support and services to students and schools. Our goal is to support youth, improve graduation rates, academic achievement and job and post-secondary school readiness.

Communities In Schools believes that programs don’t change kids, relationships do. Our philosophy is embedded in the CIS five basics for kids©, which focus on building a supportive environment for children and youth to help them thrive and be successful. The CIS five basics listed below were adopted by America’s Promise when it started in 1997.

Our History

Communities In Schools, an independent nonprofit corporation focused on school success and dropout prevention, has its roots in Georgia. In the early 70’s, Bill Milliken, Neil Shorthouse and David Lewis established Cities In Schools in Atlanta as a private/public partnership to help urban kids graduate from high school and plan successful futures. Years later the name was changed to Communities In Schools (CIS).

The Communities In Schools national office provides detailed information on the network.

Communities In Schools of Georgia continues to be an innovator in the CIS network and developed the Performance Learning Centers® (PLCs).  The success of our PLC  initiative has led to the program now being expanded to other CIS communities throughout the United States.


Mitzi Teal, Executive Director
P.O. Box 1077, Douglasville, GA 30133
Phone: 770.651.2039
Fax:     770.920.4588

Ashley Kinnard, Board Chairperson

Dr. Stefanie Cosper, Academic Coordinator of the Performance Learning Center and Virtual Academy

Dr. Donita Cullen, Academic Coordinator

Dr. Hope Sloan, Virtual Academy Site Coordinator

The State Office

Communities In Schools of Georgia, the state CIS organization, provides services to communities seeking to improve outcomes for students and schools in their communities. CIS provides communities with support in developing programs and services to combat the problems of school failure and dropouts in their schools. CIS of GA supports the work of local CIS affiliates, and Performance Learning Centers in Georgia. Our network affiliates can call on Communities In Schools of Georgia for technical support in the following areas:

  • Communities In Schools Affiliate Program Initiation and Development
  • Community Development – building community alliances to develop CIS affiliate programs that work in the interest of our students, parents, and their schools
  • Program Development – strengthening CIS affiliate programs by implementing proven strategies
  • Performance Learning Center Development
  • Training and Conferences
  • Technical Support
  • Resource Development
  • Public Relations and Marketing
  • Program Evaluation

Click here for more information on the role of the State Office

Our Beliefs

CIS believes every child needs and deserves the five basics©:

  • A personal, one-on-one relationship with a caring adult
  • A safe place to learn and grow
  • A healthy start and a healthy future
  • A marketable skill to use upon graduation
  • A chance to give back to peers and community