Anti-Bullying Campaign

We know that middle school can be a tough time for adolescents. During these years, bullying is a major concern for school officials and a source of anxiety for many school children. 

The “Speak Out! Against Bullying” Writing and presentation program is a Tier-1 initiatives that focuses on creating a climate of goodwill within the building while effectively aligning with the school’s emphasis on literacy. 

In one middle school, Dr. Claudia Aldamuy, CIS Site Coordinator at St. Andrews Middle School, developed a school-wide initiative to address the bullying issue in schools.   

Early in the school year students were challenged to write a one-page literary piece about bullying. They have the option to write an essay, poem, or rap expressing their feelings about the bullying issue and may write from the victim, bystander, or even bully’s perspective. 

Each student entry is read and approximately thirty finalists (10 in each category) are selected to present their written work to a panel of judges at the “Speak Out!” competition on December 4, 2019. 

For approximately 6-weeks , the finalists meet with Mr.s Aldamuy to discuss the bullying problem, view PSAs about bullying, improve their writing, and develop their presentation style. 

To stay in the competition, the students must take a pledge to not bully and to become ambassadors of goodwill in the building. Getting them to the finish line is not an easy task as many students have never presented in front of an audience and for some, resisting the urge to respond to bullying can be difficult. Nevertheless, they ultimately overcome their stage fright and successfully complete the program only to impress the judges, their parents, and mostly themselves. All students are rewarded for their efforts regardless of where they place in the competition. 

In addition to the Speak Out! Ribbon, each student receives a framed certificate and a participation medallion is hung around each contestant’s neck. Trophies are awarded for first, second and third place and the top winner in each category receives a special grand prize. In past years, the first-place winner received a laptop computer donated by a dedicated community partner. This year will mark the sixth annual Speak Out! Against Bullying showcase.

Arkell Moves In To College

Arkell Johnson recently moved into his first college dorm at the University of South Carolina-Salkehatchie with help from his mother, Aretha Green, and site coordinators, Claudia Aldamuy and Jamila Green. 

Arkell is attending University of South Carolina-Salkehatchie to receive a bachelor’s degree and play soccer for the school. He is a recipient of the Bobby J. Jacobs Jr., “Turn Your Life Around” Fund managed by the Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Rhitte Gettone “Leading By Example” Scholarship and the Dorian Mendez-Vaz Leadership Scholarship. His hard work in the classroom is not unnoticed and it is exciting to see his ambition to further his education.

Arkell has been a participant in the Communities In Schools dropout prevention program for six years. Site coordinators, Susan Key and Claudia Aldamuy, have known Arkell blossom into the hardworking, disciplined, and creative student he truly is.

“Arkell opened up socially and emotionally throughout his high school experience, which makes me excited about his career in college.” Jamila Green, Columbia High School (CHS) site coordinator said. Chess Club was an opportunity to open new doors to  Arkell, where he played along with CISM peer Chris Shells.

Arkell is not only receiving a normal college experience, but is excelling in all areas as a student. His mother noticed the additional resources provided for students like Arkell, where he now has a wallet to put his USC student ID in. 

Arkell is one of 20 Columbia High School graduates who are going to seek future education through college, technical school, military, or immediate career paths. This is just the beginning of Arkell’s career and a great moment of achievement.

Site Coordinators Prepare for 2019-2020 School Year

Communities In Schools of the Midland’s Site Coordinators have been in the office these past couple of weeks working hard to prepare for the upcoming school year. The back to school season is an exciting yet challenging time in a young student’s life. Our Site Coordinators do a fantastic job at ensuring CISM students are connected to the resources and tools they need to succeed and stay in school. 

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @cis_midlands to stay up to date on our community involvement

March Madness of the Midlands

On March 8th, Communities In Schools  of the Midlands hosted the Saints VS. Heroes basketball game, at St. Andrews Middle School in Columbia, SC. 

The purpose of this in-school event is to have our young men spend time with the local police officers who protect our communities. Our goal is to build community relations with the local police department.  After the game, the bonding continued over lunch. 

Claudia Aldamuy, CIS Site Coordinated states, “CIS of the Midlands creates pathways to help the youth referred to our program see the value in relationships with caring adults. In turn, we meet the non-academic needs our children crave to be more confident in their ability to perform academically and make wise choices in life.”  

At Communities In Schools, we amplify the power of each student’s potential by connecting them to caring adults and community resources designed to help them succeed. By being in school every day, we support them in ways that go beyond the classroom. Across communities, we build lasting relationships—businesses, volunteers, agencies, healthcare providers and educators—to help students stay focused today, so they can go further tomorrow.

To learn more about our Site Schools and partnerships contact Latasha Taste-Walker, Director of Development


Communities In School of the Midlands (CIS of the Midlands) is a an affiliate of Communities In Schools National, recognized as one of the most evidence based dropout prevention organizations in the world.

Our mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school, and achieve in life. Since inception in May 1987, we strive to expand our services and partnerships. Our programs include services that respond to the needs of students, family, and schools in the Midlands.

How We Serve

We champion the connection of needed community resources with schools to help young people successfully learn, stay in school and prepare for life. By bringing caring adults into the schools to address children’s unmet needs, CIS of the Midlands ensures students facing barriers have an opportunity for success.

Our school based staff also known as CIS Site Coordinators, facilitates our program services to students in grades K – 12 to address the non-academic needs students experience–chronic absenteeism, academic failure, behavioral issues and other obstacles related to poverty.

How We Break Barriers

CIS of the Midlands changes the dropout equation with the Integrated Student Support (ISS) program, a school-based research approach designed to promote students’ success by developing and recruiting and then coordinating target resources. We are guided by a set of 5 Basic Principles that we believe every child needs and deserves to be successful.