32 Years of Connecting Communities With Student’s Needs


The history of Communities In Schools of the Midlands dates back to 1986, when a diverse partner collaboration consisting of the Junior League, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Juvenile justice, Richland One School District and the Solicitor’s Office joined together to address the dropout epidemic in Columbia.

Members involved with Cities In Schools in Atlanta suggested the concept be brought to Columbia. After hearing about the program during a meeting, the Richland One school board approved a feasibility study for the project. That following spring, the Junior League Board approved a motion to fund Rick Noble as the first Executive Director position for one year, to start building the foundation for Cities In Schools Columbia.

The Columbia Cities In Schools program was the 23rd in the nation in 1987. The following March, Five Points High School opened its doors as an alternative for at-risk students who qualified for Cities In Schools programs. Eventually, the switch from Cities In Schools changed to a community effort and rather than competing with school districts, the national model was to partner with schools in the affiliate area in 1999.

Communities In Schools of the Midlands began to actively follow the national programs for dropout prevention in the schools of Richland One School District and Lexington Two School District. Communities In Schools of the Midlands always has aimed to reduce the number of dropouts. CISM continues to surround students with a community of support, and empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life through programs like Speak Out Against Bullying, College and Career Readiness Program, and Reading Buddies.

On November 6, 2019 Communities In Schools of the Midlands celebrated their 32nd year of connecting communities with student’s needs at the All In For Kids Event. Alumni, Board Directors, and Site Coordinators gathered in the office to reflect on the lives the Midlands affiliate has connected with over the past 32 years.

“All sorts of students learn differently, the access I got through you (CISM) allowed me to flourish as a student no matter what was going on at home,” a CISM alumni from the class of 1994 said at the event.

Communities In Schools of the Midlands is constantly improving because of the support from our donors, partners, and board members, but most importantly the impact is being made through our fantastic students. Thank you for allowing us to go #allinforkids in the Midlands.

Read more in depth about out history here.