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Communities in Schools kicks off state expansion in W.Va.

CIS national board chair Elaine Wynn speaks to a crowd of educators at the Summer Institute in...
CIS national board chair Elaine Wynn speaks to a crowd of educators at the Summer Institute in Huntington.(WSAZ)
Published: Jul. 30, 2019 at 5:29 PM EDT
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There were 175 West Virginia educators on hand as the national dropout prevention program Communities in Schools kicked off the school year by training teachers.

Communities in Schools (CIS) is a national program that connects at-risk students with local community resources to do whatever it takes to prevent dropouts and raise graduation rates.

CIS will be expanding to 11 counties for the 2019-20 school year, with Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Fayette, Hardy, Lincoln, Pendelton and Raleigh counties joining Berkely, Greenbrier, McDowell and Wyoming in the program.

According to CIS national chair Elaine Wynn, this is the largest statewide expansion in the 40-year history of the program.

West Virginia first lady Cathy Justice, who spoke at the event, said she believes that CIS will be a positive influence for all students in the state, regardless of location.

"Every school can benefit from this," Justice said. "Every county. So we're just trying to get the counties who are in true need of this right now and just trying to expand and work our way throughout the entire state. Every county can benefit from it. Every county has the problems, it doesn't matter whether you're inner city or if you're rural; you still basically have the same problems."

Justice would like to see CIS expanded to all 55 counties in West Virginia, but there is no timetable for that possibility.

Training will continue for the teachers, with Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader and CIS founder Bill Milliken speaking on Tuesday.