CIS Expands to Foundation Prep at Livingston


Sarah Barnes, CIS Site Coordinator at Foundation Prep
Sarah Barnes, CIS Site Coordinator at Foundation Prep

CIS announces the expansion of its services to Foundation Preparatory Charter School at Livingston, an open enrollment public charter school located in New Orleans East.  Foundation Prep was authorized by BOTH the Orleans Parish School Board AND the Recovery School District, the first school in Louisiana history to receive the dual authorization.  Founder and Head of School Myrialis King is a former Building Excellent Schools Fellow, and opened the school in 2015 with the vision “Prepsters will gain the academic knowledge and develop the character necessary to advocate for themselves, their families, and their community in the pursuit of making a better New Orleans and world.”   Today the school serves students in grades PreK-2nd and will grow to serve students in 3rd-6th in the years ahead. Foundation Prep highlights its literacy focus and small classes with individualized instruction as keys to success for its “prepsters.”

CIS welcomes Sarah Barnes to its team as the CIS Site Coordinator for Foundation Prep. Sarah will graduate from the University of New Orleans with an M.Ed in Counseling next week.  She has three years of teaching experience and worked with New Schools for New Orleans for the past three years while pursuing her master’s degree.

“I am so excited to be able to bring your incredible program to Foundation Prep,” wrote Myrialis after learning that her funding request from the Walton Family Foundation, which included funding to establish CIS services,would be granted.  We are too, and look forward to surrounding Prepsters with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life!


CIS Impact Featured in Inside Philanthropy


Inside Philanthropy’s recent article highlights the CIS model as an exemplary approach to addressing the needs of students and schools, and does a great job of laying out what we do:

“When you hear about philanthropy’s role in K-12 education these days, it’s often the big reform funders who get all the attentionfoundations like Gates, Walton, and Broad that back things like charter schools and teacher accountability. Yet, as we often remind IP’s readers, there is plenty else going on in K-12 philanthropy, with nonprofits raising lots of money for efforts to boost students that have nothing to do with the kind of “systemic” reforms that are so in vogue right now…”

Read the full article on how Communities In Schools builds support and makes a positive impact on students, schools, and communities.

Transparency and Trust

pages-from-cis-final-audit-report-2015-16-fbCommunities In Schools is committed to removing barriers that get in the way of learning – we connect students with the community resources they need to fulfill their potential. To confirm confidence that we are good stewards of the resources entrusted to us, we offer our independent audit and our IRS Form 990 for your review via our website. Thanks to the audit team at Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC and former CIS Board Treasurer, John Murray, CPA of LaPorte CPA’s and Business Advisors for your timely and helpful expertise.

Thankful Thursday- Promoting Reading is “Prime Time”


This Thankful Thursday we celebrate our partnership with the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities in the delivery of their nationally recognized program, Prime Time Reading Program. LEH’s success at securing funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation insures CIS will be able to facilitate the highly popular program at two school sites in both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years.

Read more

A Warm, Welcome Donation Drive – College Sweatshirts at Success Prep

20161129-bp-college-sweatshirts-success-prepThere’s a chill in the air, and everyone is shifting their closets to make room for winter wardrobes. As you’re clearing out and rearranging, consider donating your college sweatshirt to the Champs Choice Store, and help Communities In Schools provide a warm learning environment to the students at Success Preparatory Academy.

Success Prep offers an extensive college preparatory curriculum to students from all over New Orleans. Serving kids from kindergarten through middle school, their 6th – 8th grade students are allowed to wear college sweatshirts along with their uniforms. “Wearing college sweatshirts continues to drive our mission of developing college bound students for leadership and lifelong learning,” explains Niloy Gangopadhyay, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Success Preparatory Academy.

In the winter months, classrooms at Success Preparatory Academy can get cold – but your donations provide more than just a cozy comfort. With your help, Communities In Schools can bring an additional layer of support and encouragement to 156 students as they pursue their education.

Drop off or mail donations to:

Communities In Schools Champs Choice Store

3400 Bienville St., Suite B

New Orleans, LA 70119


Success Preparatory Academy is an open enrollment public charter school located on Bienville Street in New Orleans. Success Prep serves 500 students in grades K-8th.  Its mission statement is “We develop college bound students for leadership and lifelong learning.”  Five values – achievement, enthusiasm, respect, service, and teamwork, along with the overarching principle of ubuntu – guide the thoughts and actions of Success Preparatory Academy students, faculty, and staff. Each member of the school community is responsible for sharing and modeling the school’s beliefs and values as they narrow the achievement gap one day at a time. Read more at

Making “Change” for Flood Relief

Hudson News Supports CIS Flood Relief Efforts; Friendship Capitol High School appreciates the hygiene kits from World Vision

After the historic flooding in Baton Rouge this past August, Carol McElheney, the General Manger of Hudson Group’s fourteen stores at Louis Armstrong International Airport, felt an obligation to respond to the tragedy. “We had to do something for our community,” she explains. “The Hudson Group wants to make a difference.”

Carol took the initiative to customize the collection boxes at each register to specifically address the flooded area, inviting airport patrons to put their change towards the CIS Louisiana Relief Fund. As employees “made change”, thousands of travelers donated it, totaling almost $7,000 for CIS’ students. Employees contributed the rest to round out the check to $7,000.

Donations like these allowed Lizzy Stephens, the CIS Site Coordinator for Friendship Capitol High School, to meet the specific needs of the students she works with everyday. With her presence and knowledge, CIS provided a much needed sense of security.

“Students wanted to get back to their normal routines,” Lizzy said. “Our school wanted to make everyone feel as included as possible, but it was apparent who had lost their belongings due to the flood.”

CIS established the Louisiana Relief Fund with a gift from Children Incorporated, based in Richmond, Virginia. CIS purchased school uniforms and supplies for all 400 students at Friendship Capitol, making these necessary materials available as soon as the school reopened.

With her on-site role, Lizzy saw the gift’s impact first-hand. “The donated school uniforms helped students who came to school wearing whatever clothes they could find. It kept them from feeling stigmatized, and they were thankful that they didn’t have to ask their parents to buy supplies for them,” she said. “Basic hygiene items were also a big help. Students were happy they could contribute to family needs, taking extra supplies to younger siblings and other family members.”

The “big help” came directly from CIS donors, who took quick action to secure basic amenities. Every student at Friendship Capitol received male and female hygiene kits donated by the aid organization World Vision, as well as dental kits donated by Dr. Craig Bridgeman and Dr. Mike Mayhew of Boone, North Carolina.

The parenting websites New Orleans Mom’s Blog and Red Stick Mom’s Blog both collected socks, toiletries and essentials, securing over $15,000 of in-kind donations for the CIS Relief Fund. More than 175 of their readers and event guests participated.

We’ll keep you posted on the ongoing recovery at Friendship Capitol High School. In the meantime, if you are traveling through any airport this holiday season, check out the Hudson News store. We appreciate their friendship!

LA Flooding:CIS Response


Thanks to the Weather Channel for helping to raise awareness of the significance of the Louisiana Flood. CIS encourages donations to your favorite disaster relief agency, or to us directly to aid our CIS school, Friendship Capitol High School, in Baton Rouge. We have 400 students, and the faculty/staff, to help. Thank you Children Incorporated in Richmond, Virginia for seeding our LA Flood relief fund with $5,000. Click Here to learn how you can help surround these students with help for basic needs. No funds will be used for our own costs. It will all be spent on the kids and we will provide donors with a followup report.

Pass the Cap

Today we celebrate all high school students graduating from a New Orleans or Jefferson Parish school, but we especially tip our cap to those attending CIS schools- Lake Area New Tech Early College High School, Sci Academy, Joseph Clark High School, Jefferson Chamber Foundation Academy-East, and ReNEW Accelerated High School. We salute you for your perseverance and achievement.

Join Communities In Schools as we celebrate 1.5 million students across the country who have worked to overcome barriers to succeed in school this year. Get inspired by their stories, photos, and videos. Share information about the 11 million students who live in poverty and need our support. Take action to ensure these students stay in school and on the path to graduation.