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8-12-14: Communities In Schools of Puyallup earns national accreditation
8-12-14: Communities In Schools of Puyallup earns national accreditation
Posted on 08/12/2014

Communities In Schools of Puyallup (CISP), a local nonprofit organization that empowers Puyallup School District students to stay in school and achieve in life, learned this summer that it has achieved national accreditation.


The local organization joins several other Washington state affiliates that have received national accreditation from among nearly 200 Communities In Schools (CIS) organizations in 25 states and the District of Columbia.


“We are proud to have achieved our accreditation as it underlies the value of falling in compliance with the high set of standards put in place by Communities In Schools,” said CISP Executive Director Jan Mauk.


Those high standards, established by the national CIS office, define expectations for effective nonprofit business practices and for implementing the CIS model of integrated student support services at school sites.


The National Accreditation Review Team commended CISP in numerous areas, including financial soundness, board engagement, student board member involvement, expansion strategy, partnership with the Puyallup School District, March Gladness coordination, and crisis communications.


In particular, the review team commended the local affiliate for its engagement of high school students as voting members on the CISP Board of Directors.


“We feel this has made for a more exciting and invigorated board environment while providing unique insights into the needs of this community,” the report stated. “Student board members are highly regarded for their creativity and excitement in supporting the CIS mission.”


The review team also commended Mauk for her commitment to “steady and sustainable growth” and for doing an “exceptional job of integrating the work of CIS into the everyday goings-on of the school district.”


In Puyallup, the organization provides a host of supports to help students succeed, including a reading tutoring program, several after-school math and reading programs, and the distribution of community resources, such as school supplies and food, to help students in need.


The organization also works with junior high and high school student leaders to coordinate an annual March Gladness community service program. The program runs from January through March and features projects ranging from organizing school penny drives to fund cancer research to preparing meals and feeding the area’s homeless.


During a recent report to the school board, Mauk and student leaders shared results of the 2014 March Gladness. The theme this year was “Service is Supreme in 2014.”


More than 15,000 students, for example, participated in 84 registered March Gladness projects throughout the school district. Additionally, more than 24,000 items were collected during food, penny, clothing, and other school drives, and nearly $57,000 was raised for charitable organizations.


The review team commented on the success of March Gladness, noting, “The affiliate’s signature community service event is to be commended for its scope, scale, and creativity in engaging high school students in giving back to their community … this is a fantastic program that should be replicated in other communities.”