Today’s post is written by Felicia Lemons, Development & Marketing Project Manager. She originally sent this information out as an email to update CIS supporters as to how the CIS after school program has transitioned from in-school support to virtual support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the Communities In Schools (CIS), core work of integrated student support, CIS of Kalamazoo supports students through after-school programming. At 15 KPS schools, students benefit from additional academic support and enrichment activities beyond the normal hours of the school day.
We are proud to share that we continue to provide this much needed support, however virtually. “I am proud of how our CIS staff have stepped in to fulfill the needs of our students and their families. When in-person learning was first cancelled our after school coordinators started connecting with their students and families to first make sure their basic needs were being met and connecting families to resources. Now we are offering 10+ hours of programming every week to keep our students engaged during this time.” – Nicole Wilkinson, CIS Associate Director of Site Services
Many members of our team continue to volunteer to participate at the KPS food distribution sites along with practicing safe distance porch drop-offs for families who are unable to make it to a distribution site.
This month, we have packed and delivered over 300 boxes of school supplies to students. Supplies include paper, pencils, craft tools – all for students and families who may not have the necessary supplies to complete the remainder of this school year at home.
Academic Lessons and Tutoring
CIS after school coordinators host virtual office hours to help with homework and offer academic lessons for students in math and English Language Arts. Many coordinators continue to connect with students for one-on-one tutoring for additional support.
Special student clubs led by after school coordinators and youth development coaches are available for students. Fitness Club, Comic Club, and Sign Language Club are just a few examples of clubs that have transitioned to virtual clubs for student enrichment. In addition to our staff lead clubs, we continue to work with enrichment providers like Prevention Works, Live Your Song, and Trinity Prep Center to provide special engagement opportunities for students.
CIS facilitates family engagement nights for both parent resources and family fun. Family engagement includes an instructor led family paint party and an interactive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) night with the Air Zoo. Parent resources include programs with math and science resources through KPS, CIS-led information sessions about knowing your rights surrounding COVID-19, and so much more!
CIS team led virtual field trips for students include “visits” to the zoo, museums, and parks. Coordinators conduct Q&A sessions during the field trips for student engagement and interaction.
The after-school program is sustained and supported by the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) grants.
The CIS After School Program continues to be a vital resource for students who can benefit from additional academic assistance, develop their strengths and interests, and connect with their peers and coaches during the pandemic. Your support of CIS makes it possible to bring additional resources like the 21st CCLC grants to our community for students. Interested in supporting students in Kalamazoo? Donate by clicking here.