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Intensive Program

When a student has low attendance, poor grades, or disruptive behavior, there is rarely one thing driving the student’s challenges. That’s why Communities In Schools of Chicago surrounds students with a community of support, and an array of resources, to empower them to stay in school and achieve in life.

Our Intensive Program embeds 30 master’s level professionals, or Student Supports Managers, at schools to provide intensive support for students at risk of failure or dropout. Each Student Supports Manager is responsible for a caseload of about 50 students, and they work with these students to create a plan and provide them with direct supports, like individual or group counseling.

Student Supports Managers help students develop the skills and access the resources they need to make progress on their plans. They also connect students with community partners, as necessary, to provide them with other resources, including enrichment opportunities and academic support, that the students need to reach their full potential.

Student Supports Managers collaborate with teachers and other school staff, and they are responsible for liaising with the school as well. They connect the entire student body to CIS of Chicago’s network of community partners, based on the school’s needs. Services provided by these partners come at no cost to the students or the school and focus on six key areas: academic support; arts and culture; college and career readiness; counseling and supportive guidance; health and wellness; and parent and family engagement.

Of the more than 3,600 students we have supported in this way since 2009, the following results occurred (within the year that our team worked with those students):


of students graduated.


of K-11 students were promoted to the next grade.
Fewer than


of students dropped out.

Together For Students

In 2018, Communities In Schools of Chicago was awarded a grant to become an active collaborator in the Together for Students initiative. Together for Students focuses on giving Chicago students access to engaging learning opportunities that enable them to develop the critical social and emotional learning (SEL) skills they need to succeed.

In Chicago, the initiative brings together three organizations – Communities In Schools of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, and Thrive Chicago. This partnership works on creating a professional development model for integrating social-emotional learning, both inside and outside the classroom, and convenes a social-emotional learning community to co-design, test, and scale different SEL strategies.

Freshmen Rising Initiative

To expand our support of high school students across the city, CIS of Chicago launched the Freshmen Rising initiative in 2020. Freshmen Rising pairs ninth graders with a dedicated Freshmen Rising Coordinator, who provides ongoing guidance and structured lessons around social-emotional learning.

Research shows that if students are academically and socially on track in ninth grade, their odds of graduating improve significantly. This school year, Freshmen Rising will support 55 ninth graders who need extra support to successfully transition from elementary school to high school.

Our mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.