First Lady Visits Raleigh County To Kick-Off Expansion Of Communities In Schools Program

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – First Lady Cathy Justice visited Raleigh County today, to kick-off the expansion of the Communities in Schools West Virginia (CIS-WV) program. West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine and Raleigh County Superintendent David Price joined First Lady Justice to celebrate the expansion of the program that aims to forge community partnerships and bring resources into schools to help remove barriers to student learning.

Raleigh County is one of eight new counties to begin employing the program in the 2019-2020 school year under the First Lady’s leadership. Following a $3 million supplemental appropriation from the West Virginia legislature, the Communities in Schools program will expand into 49 schools and eight additional counties.

Communities In Schools aims to forge community partnerships and bring resources into schools to help remove barriers to student learning with a goal of keeping all students in school and ultimately graduating.

The national Communities in Schools model recognizes that traditional education reform strategies fail to address what kids are dealing with every day: poverty, lack of adult role models and the absence of such basic needs as food, shelter and health care. Communities in Schools is designed to reduce dropout rates by connecting at-risk students to community resources such as food and clothing, counseling, family engagement, life skills and physical health needs – all with the goal of keeping them in school.

CIS-WV is currently operating in three counties throughout the state including Berkeley, McDowell and Wyoming.

“I’ve said over and over that we need to invest in our kids because they are our future and that’s why I’m so excited that we are continuing to expand the Communities In Schools program,” Gov. Jim Justice said. “This program is going to make sure those bright young minds are in the classroom and have all the support they need so we can unlock all their tremendous potential. And I’m so proud of my wife, Cathy, for her work with this program. Her passion for our students has made all this goodness possible and will surely improve the lives of countless children by providing this great opportunity to maximize their education.”

First Lady Justice has been a champion for the CIS program and has been a leader in its expansion across the state.

“Communities In Schools is a national model that is proven to make a difference in the lives of students and families,” First Lady Justice said.

State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine emphasized the importance of thinking beyond high school.

“Through this program, we want to make sure students have the opportunity to achieve their goals,” Paine said. “I hope each student thinks beyond high school graduation, whether that be obtaining a two-year degree, an industrial credential or a four-year degree,” he said.

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