Braxton Citizens' News, Community, Schools

National CIS team will visit Sutton Elementary School 

SES exemplary of program model

By Shirley Shuman

A highly successful Communities in Schools program at Sutton Elementary School has gained the attention of the national organization. As a result, the national certification team of Communities in Schools will visit Sutton Elementary School in November. Cynthia Sorsaia, Coordinator of Office of Student Support and Well Being at the WV Department of Education, explained that the CIS program at Sutton Elementary was chosen “for their fidelity to the CIS model and for being ‘all in’ for the kids.”

CIS is a national program that works in over 2,900 schools across 26 states. WV First Lady Cathy Justice was instrumental in bringing this nonprofit education initiative to West Virginia.

The CIS mission is “to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life,” Susan Schiefer, Sutton Elementary’s Site Coordinator, explained.  Schiefer continued to say that Braxton County “is fortunate to have site coordinators in every school.”  Kimberly Dennison, the county’s Director of Elementary Education, acts as CIS liaison in the county. Braxton County was the first in the state to have site coordinators at all schools.

CIS teams work with community organizations and local businesses to provide needed supports for students and families, according to Schiefer.  The CIS program at Sutton Elementary “provides weekend snack bags for students, Christmas gifts, clothing and hygiene items, incentive for student growth and more,” Schiefer noted.    “Each of the site coordinators does unique things,” she added.  

The four focus areas of the program are attendance, social and emotional support, academics, and behavior. At Sutton Elementary, Schiefer works with all students in Tier I (whole group) activities in attendance and academics. Among the activities she oversees are homeroom attendance contests, 30 for 30 attendance challenges, Book Club with second grade, Shine Bright with iReady, assisting with the principal’s multiplication project, and more. Case-managed students receive Tier II and Tier III (small group and individual) services as they work in their goal areas.

“I’m grateful to have Mrs. Schiefer as our CIS coordinator at SES. She goes above and beyond to provide a variety of supports necessary for students and staff members to be successful,” Principal Flora Cox commented. 

Regarding the recognition the SES Communities in Education has received, Schiefer said, “This is a huge honor, and I look forward to sharing our success with the national team.