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Dropout Prevention Program Proves its Economic Value

Community in Schools not only increases high school graduation rates, but creates more than $11 of economic benefit for the communities it serves.
graduation, communities in school
A new economic report shows Communities in Schools improves not only graduation rates, but also fiscal benefits for the communities they serve.

At last, K12 educators can see the results of money well spent. Community in Schools, a nonprofit organization that serves nearly 1.3 million students in 3,400 schools, not only increases high school graduation rates, but also creates more than $11 of economic benefit for a community for every dollar invested in CIS, according to an analysis released in May by EMSI, an economic modeling firm. The organization currently boasts an 87 percent nationwide graduation rate. CIS is one of the nation’s largest and longest-operating dropout prevention organizations. The program began 35 years ago and uses public and private dollars, including money from AT&T and the Robertson Foundation, to place case managers in high-needs schools for at-risk students. The case managers raise money to meet their needs and meet one-on-one with these students.

“Previous studies have shown that CIS can repeatedly demonstrate success in keeping students in school and helping them graduate,” says Daniel Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administration (AASA). “We rarely have the opportunity in the education arena to obtain reliable metrics that quantify the return on the education dollars [administrators] spend.”

Mike Bento, executive vice president of CIS, hopes other nonprofits use similar models to determine their ROI so administrators know where to invest their limited funds.

“If you don’t stabilize the social and emotional needs of kids, none of those other strategies will be successful.”

Administrators interested in having their districts join CIS can visit to determine if they are in a state the organization participates in.