Over the past few weeks, we have collectively witnessed the painful realities of structural racism with the continuing murders of Black and Brown Americans. However, as Counseling In Schools (CIS) and our staff know well, structural inequities in communities of color have existed long before these moments of protest.We want to share with you an op-ed published in The 74 written by CIS Executive Director Kevin Dahill-Fuchel about the importance of transforming schools into centers for healing, an idea that is of even greater urgency as the effects of the current health and social pandemics unfold.The disproportionate impact of the pandemic on CIS school communities, due to racism, inadequate health care, chronic medical issues, poor nutrition, job instability and unhealthy levels of stress, have exposed the racial and social injustice of society.We believe that CIS’ work is itself part of a heroic and historic struggle for positive social change and the fight against racism, intolerance, bigotry and violence. That is why the need for schools to recognize the importance of mental health services and become centers for healing has never been greater than at this moment. The emotional wellbeing of children and entire school communities is integral to sustained learning and social progress. Thank you again for your ongoing support as together we continue to advocate for the importance of schools as centers of healing to awaken the full range of possibilities in our students. ...

We are excited to share with you two recent stories published about Counseling In Schools (CIS). This past weekend Gothamist ran, '"COVID-19 Was A Monster": How A Turbulent School Year Changed These Students' Views,' an article that highlights a project that one of our talented art therapists, Lauren Amigo, did with her students in Canarsie, Brooklyn.Lauren asked her students to draw what they saw outside their windows, as well as what they hoped to see in the future. Her creative prompt inspired creation of powerful images that helped students better understand their own lives and the trauma of Covid-19 and systemic racism.WNYC, New York City’s local NPR affiliate, also aired a segment, 'New York City Students, In Their Own Words, On A Tumultuous School Year During COVID-19' that served as a moving companion piece to the Gothamist article. These stories reflect the skill of our staff and the valuable role our counseling services play for students as they navigate this very difficult time. We thank our CIS team as well as all of our supporters who sustain our expanded work in the communities we serve. CIS remains committed to supporting students, parents, teachers, and other members of the school community, so that children can succeed personally and academically both now and in the future. ...

With spring break around the corner and summer close in its trail, Counseling in Schools is reflecting on our community successes. With the promising results of the Rand report as our motivator, we’re taking our time to review how far our SMART Goals have brought us.  Today’s spotlight is on The Bronx Mathematics Preparatory School, where our counselors have been making significant strides since our partnership began in 2015. Key takeaways:  During the 2016-2017 school year, the school saw an 7.5% increase in reading proficiency in our young scholars, and a 4% increase in math proficiency.During the 2017-2018 school year, math proficiency increased another 5%, and reading .5%. During the 2018-2019 school year our students achieved a 4% increase in reading proficiency and an 8.5% increase in math proficiency.Overall from 2015 to the 2019-2020 school year, Bronx Math has seen a 12% increase in school-wide reading proficiency, and a 17.5% increase in school-wide math proficiency.  During the 2020-2021 school year, we will continue to work towards our goals of 100% graduation rates, increased attendance, increased family and community engagement, and thriving communities. As we’ve seen in Bronx Math, our continued efforts to address the systemic issues that interfere with our scholars’ ability to engage with their education have proven successful over the past years. We are eager to create sustainable change that supports our scholars as they create the future for us all. ...

It has been 5 years since NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s pledge to create more than 100 new fully developed Community Schools. This transformative push has ushered in a massive reimagination of what it means to receive an education in NYC, what systemic obstacles are posed to students, and how the education of a child depends on the strengths of the community which surrounds them. Drawing upon principles of holistic health and care, Community Schools have become centers of opportunity in neighborhoods; places where families, with whatever challenges they bring, can receive the support they need to make sure students can come to school ready and able to learn. The newest release of The Rand Corporation’s Impact study provides concrete evidence which attributes the increase in graduation rates and student achievement as well as reducing chronic absenteeism and disciplinary incidents to the Community School model.  As an organization with 33 years of experience developing anti-racist, anti-oppressive practices; implementing strength-based counseling programs for children and families; building strong relationships with community leaders; partnering with school administrators to improve outcomes; and providing a range of professional development services, Counseling in Schools is a proud contributor to the success of the Community School model.  The Rand report infers that when schools address inequities in areas such as access to health care, affordable and healthy food, learning opportunities, and trustworthy relationships, students succeed. Counseling in Schools has experienced the impact of these changes firsthand. Our dedicated staff has been instrumental in addressing: attendance improvement/dropout prevention, violence prevention, burnout prevention for staff, school transformation, crisis response, out-of-school time youth development, social/emotional literacy, socio-cultural trauma and oppression. During our tenure at Brooklyn Collegiate we’ve been successful in increasing graduation rates from 64% in 2014 to 95% in 2018. At The Bronx Math Preparatory Middle School, we reduced the number...

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