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$800K to bring Communities in Schools to York City students

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Gifts and grants totaling more than $800,000 will bring Communities In Schools to five York City schools for three years beginning in September, three local organizations announced today.

York County Community Foundation, the Women’s Giving Circle  and the United Way of York County partnered to support CIS, a national nonprofit that brings local resources into schools to help students achieve academic and life success.

Ryan Riley,president and state director of CIS Pennsylvania, added that other contributions from  corporate donors have brought the project total close to $1 million. It will, he said, be the largest CIS urban saturation project in Pennsylvania, surpassing even areas like Philadelphia.

Site coordinators will work directly with school administrators to provide students access to resources such as tutoring, family counseling, health services, college visits and others, according to a news release. The pilot schools are still being finalized but include William Penn High School and Jackson School.

Bill Hartman, president of the Community Foundation, said its 2013 report, titled "A New Education Model for York,” called for "massive community engagement to help turn around the York City School District" and identified CIS as a proven method.

"We’re delighted that other donors agreed with us and recognize the importance of creating a highly effective support system for our city’s students," Hartman said.

The Community Foundation’s lead grant of $210,000 from its Fund for York County and its outreach efforts to other donors leveraged a $75,000 grant from the WGC, in addition to $210,000 from the United Way and contributions from numerous donors.

Close to 90 percent of students in York City schools are from families with limited income, according to Jane Conover, senior vice president of the Community Foundation. Many face challenges of poverty, lack of positive role models, and exposure to crime and violence. Current fiscal challenges within the city school district have led to budget cuts and lack of time and resources to devote to those students most in need.

“This proven program delivers essential resources and support to students and their families and provides an important safety net to help students succeed,” said Conover.

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