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Happy New Year

Believe it or not, it is 2012. With the start of the new year here at CIS we are saying goodbye to a close friend, Yvette Hanshaw who has helped CIS grow into 38 schools in seven school districts. She accepted the position of Director of Development for the College of Communication at TCU. We already miss her smiling face.

We are also saying hello to a new school, Sharrod Elementary School in Arlington. We are interviewing now to find the perfect social worker for that school.

As we returned from the holiday break, we also learned that two of our staff members are now engaged! Congratulations to Myra McGlothen and Alejandra Morado…….2012 will be a big year for the two of you.

One last thought – In our December e-newsletter we asked for help to restore the right ear for one of our elementary school students who was born without the outside part of her ear. Her family needed about $5,000 to move the process forward and we received generous gifts that moved them closer to that goal. Members of the extended CIS family always seem to come through when we need them. Thank you for your generosity.

Have a happy and prosperous new year.

-Mike Steele, President & CEO

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The Holidays

The holiday season is a time of reflection and thanks. Family is always my first thought, but I am lucky enough to have a great family at work too. That family includes our Board members…..all of whom came to us because of their passion to help kids and specifically to help them secure an education……the kind of help that lasts a lifetime and into future generations. But at this time of year, my heart really goes out to our staff. None of these wonderful people are here because of great salaries. CIS people, social workers, financial, marketing and other office staff find their way to CIS and stay with CIS because they know CIS is making a difference in the lives of thousands of kids and their families. It is not everybody who is lucky enough to get paid for doing something that they really love. I am thankful for the opportunity to be associated with so many wonderful and dedicated people. Those of you who know me know that I love my job……you hear me say it all the time. I also hear it from CIS people all the time. So I want to wish a very happy holiday season to everybody in the CIS family…..a very special family.

– Mike Steele, CEO

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How Texas Stacks Up

Lest anybody think that when a student drops out of school the community is done with them… look at the link below. Anybody care to connect some of the dots between dropout rates and how Texas stacks up? Share your thoughts?

-Mike Steele, CEO

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Can one social worker overcome every obstacle a student faces; can she do it for dozens of students in her school?

 Of course not and that is exactly what three decades of research confirms very clearly. Yet the research also confirms that only comprehensive solutions achieve meaningful results in reducing dropout rates and increasing graduation rates. So if solutions for everything must be available, how does one CIS social worker get it done? Not alone………it literally takes a village. In fact over 80 partner organizations bring their expertise in things like gang prevention, drug abuse, bullying, anger management, self esteem, conflict resolution, abuse, neglect, vision correction, social skills, date rape, adolescent pregnancy, dental treatment, food, clothing, utility bills, family violence……… name it. The CIS social worker’s role? – Assess the needs of individual students, build trust and connect them and families with community resources. Then stay connected to monitor progress. In short – what ever it takes.


– Mike Steele, President and CEO


Welcome to Communities In Schools and to our “Running with Scissors” blog.

Why Running with Scissors? At a very young age most of us learned that running with scissors is hazardous, but too many young people do not understand the life-long hazards of dropping out of school. Success in our business requires fearless tenacity from both CIS social workers and from our students who run together toward school success and graduation.

By way of introduction, let me tell you what we hope to do with Running with Scissors. We would like our readers to experience CIS in depth and from the inside. We want you to get a taste of what it is like to be a CIS social worker or a CIS student. This 360 degree look into CIS will highlight both the daily challenges and the champions of what we do. It will also allow us to share the tenacity and many successes of our students. We hope it will also serve as a starter for many conversations about education, dropout prevention and societal issues facing children and about setting priorities for key decision makers at all levels.

Welcome to Running with Scissors. If you are new to Communities In Schools, please check our website at or join us on facebook. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

-Mike Steele, President and CEO