Communities in Schools of South Carolina

Communities In Schools of South Carolina surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Using the Integrated Student Supports model, the program identifies and addresses risk and protective factors that influence a child’s academic success and can impact their ability to remain in school. School-based site coordinators partner with the school and community to provide students with the support they need to succeed inside and outside the classroom, helping them graduate, create healthier relationships, and find success in life.

Their mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Communities In Schools of South Carolina believes that success looks different for every student. A quality education can determine whether they go to prison, college, or employed. As a result, the programs and services are designed to remove systemic barriers and improve student outcomes.

CISSC surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Last year the program served 18,000 students across seven counties with our evidence-based model of Integrated Student Supports. Through this model, the program embeds full-time student support staff in the lowest-performing schools to provide integrated, whole-child support through a unique mix of direct services and brokered services from partners. They offer three tiers of support to address students’ academic and non-academic needs:

Tier 1 – CISSC staff support the whole school on short-term interventions such as assisting students who are experiencing distress from addictions, homelessness, or family disruption. They work with school staff on basic needs resources and career fairs.

Tier 2 – Site Coordinators lead weekly small group sessions with students struggling with similar challenges to help them build coping skills and positive connections. They also lead career exploration and college visits.

Tier 3 – Site Coordinators create annual student support plans with case managed students that address and help mitigate risk factors and build on their existing assets. These individualized wraparound supports help students create a road map to success, which empowers them to stay in school and build healthy relationships.

Counties Served

Charleston, Berkeley, Hampton, Richland, Greenville, Lexington, and Fairfield

Annual Cost


Partner Organizations

  • United Way of Greenville County
  • Trident United Way
  • United Way of the Midlands
  • Charleston County School District
  • Berkeley County School District
  • Richland One
  • Hampton School District
  • Greenville County Schools
  • Lexington County School District
  • Fairfield County School District
  • Local county and city municipalities in all seven counties
  • A network of 200+ social service and basic need providers – partners provide resources and supportive services for students and families (food, basic needs, housing, health services, etc.). These include but are not limited to Lowcountry Food Bank, Loaves and Fishes, Charleston Promise Neighborhood, Upstate Circle of Friends, Neighbors Together, MUSC, South Carolina Youth Advocate Program, and more.

Funding Sources


  • Individual contributions
  • Fee-based school support
  • School district contributions
  • United Way
  • Corporate and foundation grants
  • Government funding


The school districts, schools, and volunteers provide service hours and support.


CIS uses an evidence-based model of Integrated Student Supports – a program that utilizes school-based coordinators to assess student’s needs and connect them to existing community resources so they can overcome barriers and focus on learning. The model addresses students’ academic and non-academic needs and is implemented to provide a whole-child approach to learning. As the nation’s largest provider of Integrated Student Supports, CIS brings this model to thousands of students who live in poverty and face a greater risk of dropping out. As an accredited affiliate of the national program, CISSC has been implementing Integrated School Supports model throughout South Carolina for more than 30 years. During that time, the program has conducted local needs assessments, school-wide planning, individualized case management, and tiered support to accommodate different learning environments and to adapt this best-practice model to our local context. The model relies on early risk identification and holistic support to mitigate effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences and aligns with the five core competencies of social-emotional learning (SEL) highlighted within CASEL’s Framework for Systemic Social and Emotional Learning.Communities in Schools’ past outcomes provide evidence that Integrated Student Supports is making its intended impact. CISSC measures success by the results achieved by the individual students that are case managed, focusing on the ABC’s: Attendance, Behavior, and Coursework. We work with students to increase attendance, improve pro-social behaviors, enhance social emotional learning, and support academic achievement to promote on-time graduation and prepare them with the life skills they need for the workforce or college.The Charleston, Midlands and Greenville CIS affiliates merged in 2021 to become Communities in Schools of South Carolina. As a newly merged statewide organization, the 2021-2022 will be the first full school year of statewide data as one CIS entity. At the end of quarter 3 for the 2021-22 school year, CISSC reported 78% of students on track with attendance goals; 85% made progress toward behavior goals; and 75% of high school students had a 2.0 GPA or better. These trends are consistent throughout the country for all the affiliates who utilize the Integrated Student Supports model. According to National CIS data for 2020-2021, 96% of CIS K-11 students were promoted to the next grade; 93% of CIS seniors graduated or received a GED; and 99% of CIS students stayed in school through the end of the school year.


CISSC is continuing to grow its private revenue sources to ensure it can sustain our programming long-term. The program has been operating in South Carolina for more than 30 years and in that time has built a wide network of program and funding partners. Following the statewide merger, the program is focused on standardizing systems and building capacity to pursue growth in private revenue, especially individuals and private foundations. It has significantly increased the number of foundations targeted for partnership this year and has increased the amount and frequency of donor meetings and engagements throughout the state. CISSC believes this is important not just to diversify funding sources, but also to engage the private sector in the important work to surround students with a community of support. This increased revenue will help to sustain the program work. The merger will also sustain regional programs, with more fundraising opportunities and sources from which to support ongoing programs. With the backing of the statewide organization and a track record of 30 years in South Carolina, CISSC is confident in its ability to continue to sustain operations.

Grades Served

  • Early Childhood (Pre-K – 2)
  • Elementary (3-5)
  • Middle School (6-8)
  • High School (9-12)

Related Subjects

  • College/Career Readiness
  • Health Education
  • STEM
  • Family Engagement
  • Real-World Skills

Contact Information

Michelle Bornfleth,