Communities In Schools focuses on meeting the unique needs of students and schools in their local communities, while participating in a strong national and statewide network with a long history of working to keep kids in school.

National Backing

The story of Communities In Schools began in the 1970s, when founder Bill Milliken, then a youth advocate in New York City, came up with the idea of bringing community resources inside public schools where they are accessible, coordinated and accountable.

From this grassroots beginning, Communities In Schools grew into the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization, now in 25 states and the District of Columbia.

Statewide Support

Communities In Schools began operating in Washington in 1991 at the urging of Boeing, Costco and other business and education leaders. They were concerned about the burden on public schools, which were increasingly expected to provide for the basic needs of students in addition to education.

Communities In Schools offered a solution with its comprehensive, coordinated, and cost-effective strategy, as well as evidence of success in other parts of the country. With support from major employers, Communities In Schools of Washington took root and now operates in 26 school districts statewide.

Local Connections

How did Spokane County CIS get started?  A group of concerned business leaders and educators saw a need to help more students succeed in 2005. Research suggested that Communities In Schools would be an effective model for Spokane County.

In December of 2007, the launch of this remarkable nonprofit happened. Since then, thousands of students in Spokane and Cheney public schools have been served with customized, targeted interventions to keep them succeeding in school and achieving in life.

Fred Schoenhard, Spokane Valley Costco Manager, believes “Communities In Schools helps businesses support students and schools participate in practical ways. Kids need a way to explore careers and be encouraged to meet their goals. CIS Spokane does just that.” Fred is a founding Board member who enthusiastically shares our exciting results with his business colleagues throughout the region.