AT&T offers donation to support site coordinator


AT&T presented Coweta County’s Communities In Schools organization with a $60,000 donation to support site coordinators at Coweta schools, during the Coweta County Board of Education’s meeting on Tuesday, March 11. Left to right are, front row, Superintendent Steve Barker, Coweta CIS Chairman Dennis McEntire, AT&T Regional Director of External Affairs Rich Johnson, Coweta CIS Board member Mary Ann Bell, and Coweta CIS Vice Chair Lisa Smith; back row, Coweta CIS board members Donna Brooks, Gerald Kemp, Rhodes Shell, Beverly Yeager, Jac Counts, Lisa McDonald, Carole Ann Fields, Garnet Reynolds, Vince Bass and Matt Brass. 

AT&T presented Coweta County’s Communities In Schools (CIS) organization with a $60,000 donation to support site coordinators at Coweta schools, during the Coweta County Board of Education’s meeting on Tuesday, March 11.

AT&T Regional Director of External Affairs Rich Johnson made the presentation to Dennis McEntire, Chairman of Coweta County’s CIS board of directors. McEntire was joined by his board members and by CIS Field Support Coordinator Nancy Stone.

“We want to invest in organizations that are making a measurable impact on the students they serve and Communities In Schools is doing just that,” said Johnson. “By coupling this contribution with the power of our employees, we hope to take our collaboration to the next level and help even more students graduate high school ready for their futures.”

McEntire thanked AT&T for their support. He noted that the Coweta CIS board has worked over the past year to provide funding and marketing for CIS programs in Coweta schools. AT&T’s donation will provide the organization’s first school-based site coordinator in Coweta County next school year, at East Coweta High School.

CIS school-based site coordinators help connect students at risk of dropping out of high school with academic support, mentoring, counseling, after-school programs, career development, intervention, health care and other resources.

“AT&T has demonstrated unparalleled leadership in supporting efforts to create a 21st century education system and American workforce,” said Neil Shorthouse, President of Communities In Schools of Georgia. “We are grateful for AT&T’s support and long-standing collaboration.”

Independent evaluation of CIS by ICF International found that an additional 48 students per thousand graduate when the CIS program is fully implemented. Based on that finding, EMSI, one of the nation’s leading economic modeling firms, determined that every dollar invested in CIS produces an average of $11.60 in economic benefit for local communities.

CIS is considered the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization, providing at-risk children with academic assistance, school supplies, health care, counseling, family support, food, and positive community role models. The organization began in the 1970s, when founder Bill Milliken created an organization focused on bringing community resources inside public schools, and developing a model that keeps the efforts accessible to students, coordinated and accountable.

By partnering with businesses, social service agencies, healthcare providers and volunteers, the organization places site coordinators inside schools to assess students’ needs and provide resources to help them succeed academically and socially. In addition to strengthening community outreach to children most in need through their schools and school systems, the organization also encourages greater involvement by parents in their children’s education, and offers students ways to take greater responsibility for their own learning and development.

Coweta County’s Communities in Schools maintained a strong program for many years under the leadership of the late Bonnie Garrison. The program has been revitalized following organization and support by Leadership Coweta, the Newnan-Coweta Chamber of Commerce and the Coweta County School System.

Technical assistance and training from CIS of Georgia has focused on strengthening Coweta’s board of directors as they re-establish CIS of Coweta County. Funds provided by AT&T will allow the organization to begin services to 75 at-risk students at East Coweta High School. Additional resources and asset building initiatives will be available to the entire student population, as well as parent engagement services.

The local board is led by Chairman Dennis McEntire, Vice Chair Lisa Smith, and members Carole Ann Fields, Garnet Reynolds, Arthur “Skin” Edge, Matt Brass, Sally Hensley, Rhodes Shell, Jac Counts, Vince Bass, Beverly Yeager, Lisa McDonald, Gerald Kemp, Sheri DeShazo, J.P Watts, Mary Ann Bell and Donna Brooks.

Coweta’s CIS board is preparing for their first community fund-raiser for the organization on Saturday, May 3, at the Hollis-McRitchie museum in Newnan.

AT&T’s Johnson noted that AT&T and Communities In Schools share a sense of urgency to advance the national movement focused on improving student success in an increasingly competitive global economy that demands a skilled workforce and informed citizenry.

Since 2008, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation have provided more than $14.2 million in funding to CIS local affiliates throughout the country. This support is part of AT&T Aspire, AT&T’s $350 million commitment to education. Launched in 2008, AT&T Aspire is one of the largest-ever corporate commitments to address high school success and workforce readiness.

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