A Year in Review
CEO Reflects on Celebrating 20 Years of Serving Tarrant County Students
Mike Steele, President and CEO
They say that time flies when you are having fun...and it really does. We will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Communities In Schools here in Tarrant County in May. I remember hiring our first two social workers in 1992 for Poly and Diamond Hill Jarvis High Schools in Fort Worth. In our early years, we had one simple goal.....prove our credibility by producing results. We must be doing some things right because we are still proudly serving those schools today - 20 years later.
But much has changed since our beginning. We now serve 38 schools in seven school districts and we have grown to become the largest employer of social workers in Tarrant County. Last year, we touched the lives of over 22,000 students and provided intensive case management for almost 3,200 students. One thing has never changed: Our mission is to keep kids in school. For twenty years, between 97% and 99% of our students have done exactly that - they stayed in school and most graduated.
Along the way we have seen the lives of many, many kids change right before our eyes. For many, hope has replaced hopelessness and despair. Family trees have been changed forever as our students became the first in their families to graduate from high school. Some have gone on to college, some have even become social workers because of the admiration they had, and still have, for the CIS social workers in their lives. Our CIS graduates have seen doors open to them that were never available to their parents. As they have their own families, the world they enjoy is a different place. For their kids, education is a priority...a must. Their children will not need CIS.
The only way we have a chance to end the dropout epidemic in America is to create next generations that will not need programs like CIS. That is how we really know we are doing something right. So...we will keep on watching time fly and having fun here at CIS for another 20 years...and another.