GOOD NEWS FROM CIS l SUMMER 2020
CONGRATS to the Class of 2020!
Here's to the Class of 2020! We are so very proud of the 604 CMS-CIS graduates who crossed the finish line with flying colors, despite the unexpected challenges of COVID-19, and the many emotions and pain endured these past several weeks in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. However, they all rose to the occasion, persevered, and even SHONE as they found their voice to speak out against racism and injustice. CIS-Charlotte has no doubt that the Class of 2020 is ready to make their mark on the world and will do so with intelligence, pride, optimism, and courage.

But don't take our word for it - see for yourself in these Senior Spotlight stories on our website (and below). You can find more on our Facebook and Instagram pages. What a spring it has been, but these amazing graduates are READY for the next chapter!
Racial Justice and CIS Student Voices
These past several weeks have been traumatic and painful for the Charlotte community and the nation, but especially so for the Black community. The majority of students enrolled in CIS-Charlotte are children of color, with 62% identifying as Black and 27% identifying as Latino/Latina. Our CIS team and Board of Directors believe it is vital to keep our students' concerns and well-being at the center of everything we do and every decision we make. As an organization, actively advocating for racial justice and equity is a top priority (if you missed it, you can read our statement from May 29 here). We ask our partners, donors, and volunteers to join us in these efforts, many of which are long overdue. We must each do our part to learn, educate others, and work together to dismantle inequities and systemic barriers for people of color.
Photo above: CIS Site Coordinator Stacey Weinstein (right) with one of her students at a protest on June 3, organized by former Myers Park High School students.

Many of our staff, board members, and students have participated in the Charlotte protests and justice marches, and in fact, some of our students have led the way in organizing rallies and events. We proudly highlight a few of these amazing CIS student voices below:
Tyzel Hayden's Letter

In response to the racial justice protests, Tyzel Hayden, a rising junior in CIS at  Myers Park High School, wrote a letter to his fellow classmates and to the community at large. Below is an excerpt from the letter; you can read the full letter here. Thank you, Tyzel, for your words. You are an inspiration.

"In the future, we must keep fighting, and I hope that we come together. I want our country, America, to be a nation where everything is determined by hard work and perseverance. I want my baby sisters to know that they will be heard, by not allowing anyone to silence their efforts, to improve our society. I want my brothers and sisters to take it upon themselves and become WOKE through education - understanding the school system cannot teach you everything you need to know. As an American in the pattern of my ancestors who fought for civil rights, I will strive for equality and equity with a focus on Justice for ALL, as stated in our daily pledge of allegiance. The goal is to build a future for all Americans where yes - Black Lives Matter, but ultimately all lives are valued equally."
Brooklynn Jones organizes Peace Walk
Brooklynn Jones, a 5th grader in CIS at Governor's Village STEM Academy, organized a "Peace Walk" on Saturday, June 6. Brooklynn has been holding "Peace Parties" for several years now, fun events with music and dancing to help promote positive relationships between community members and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Dept. The events have been very successful, drawing hundreds of supporters. The June 6 event was Brooklynn's fourth such event, although this one was a little different in tone and described as a "Peace Walk For Our Future" and not a "party" - but all still the inspiration of this precocious 5th grader! Fox News 46 recently interviewed Brooklyn , too. We are so proud of you, Brooklynn!
Kayden Hunt & the Ardrey Kell Rock
We also want to give a shout-out to Kayden Hunt! While Kayden is not enrolled in Communities In Schools, she is the daughter of one of our Program Directors, Suzanne Hunt. Kayden is a 2020 graduate of Ardrey Kell High School and was AK's student body president. Inspired by the local and national protests, Kayden had the idea and received permission from the school to organize a group of students to paint the school rock with messages of racial justice and equity. Soon after they painted it, the rock was vandalized and defaced, but that did not defeat Kayden. She led another huge group of community supporters to repaint the rock. "We need to have our voices be heard, because we are powerful," Kayden said. "This is a community. This is who we are." Indeed. Thank you for being a leader and a change-maker, Kayden! Kayden will be a freshman at UNC-Chapel Hill this fall.

You can read the full story in this Charlotte Observer article.
COVID-19 Update
Since the start of the pandemic in mid-March, CIS has been laser-focused on the needs of our students, especially regarding food security, hygiene kits, education and technology, and socio-emotional support. To date, 6,117 Emergency Needs Assessments have been completed for families. Read More about our response to the coronavirus and our latest updates.
Dine Out For Kids ® is Cancelled, but GIVING is Not
Dine Out For Kids logo
In early June, we made the decision to cancel Dine Out For Kids ®  this year, planned for Tuesday, June 16. Our staff and Board wanted to acknowledge and not distract from the pain our community is experiencing, and keep the focus on what is most important:  that Black Lives Matter, and there is no place for racism of any kind in any place. We are deeply grateful to our event sponsors, the participating restaurants - many of which have supported CIS for years - and to all of YOU who have enthusiastically supported Dine Out For Kids ® for 20+ years. We look forward to re-engaging with this event next year to celebrate both our community’s progress on systemic issues and the exciting accomplishments of our students.

In the meantime, we encourage you to thank and support our sponsors and the Dine Out For Kids restaurants from last year, and these local Black-owned restaurants , too, by patronizing them throughout the year. And, while we absolutely believe that cancelling this year's event was the right thing to do, giving to CIS to support our programming and the students we serve is not cancelled... THANK YOU if you are able to consider a donation at this time.
Annual Report 2018-19
We are pleased to share our Annual Report for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The Report focuses on our Differentiated Services model and how it helps us provide students with the right support, in the right amount, at the right time.
Shout-out to Jahnel Bocus
Shout-out to CIS Site Coordinator Jahnel Bocus (Independence High School) and her 9-year-old daughter, Aria, for the beautifully painted school spirit rocks in the photo at the top of this page! Jahnel was inspired to paint the rocks in honor of the Class of 2020 - and it provided a fun mother-daughter activity on Mother's Day, too. Great job!
Time for a Reading Check-up!
CIS is proud to be a community partner supporting the  Reading Check-up  Summer Program sponsored by  Read Charlotte . This FREE online tool kit will help parents help their children in grades K-4 to avoid the "summer slump." It only takes a few minutes to get started - check it out at readingcheckup.org!