Attention: October is National Dropout Prevention Month. CIS recognizes its Success Coaches and program volunteers for helping to reduce the dropout rate in our community!

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CIS helping to change TJ’s life

Thomas “TJ” Willard was referred to the CIS Action for Success program at Supply Elementary School in 4th grade due to excessive behavior referrals and was identified as possibly benefitting from mentorship from a male role model. TJ was always angry and getting in fights, being sent to the Principal’s office and getting In School Suspension (ISS) and Out of School Suspension (OSS) on a regular basis.

TJ participated in weekly Why Try activities with Mr. Drew, the Success Coach at Supply Elementary, and quickly transitioned to working on a weekly basis with his CIS volunteer and mentor, Mr. Mark. Mr. Mark would come to Supply and bring board games to play with TJ while they discussed his progress and checked-in with one another about TJ’s behavior and grades. He participated regularly in Why Try lessons with Mr. Drew to teach about taking time to think and process information before making a decision. Over time TJ not only began to master the games that Mr. Mark brought to play with TJ during mentoring and display some of the techniques discussed throughout the Why Try program, but TJ began to apply the lessons he learned to his decision making at school.

The CIS Success Coach began to check in with TJ each week to see how he was doing in his classes and with his behavior. Through discussing what happened in disciplinary referrals and practicing different Why Try and mentoring techniques, TJ was able to begin setting foot in the right direction to better his academic and behavioral success in school.

Since beginning his mentorship with Mr. Mark and receiving support from CIS through Action for Success, TJ’s number of disciplinary referrals decreased over his last school year at Supply. TJ still struggles in some situations to make the right choices, but the severity of his discipline referrals have lessened, and he has put what he has been learning to use. TJ is now attending Shallotte Middle School and working with Mrs. Rau, the CIS Success Coach at Shallotte Middle.


(TJ is pictured with Mrs. Rau and Mr. Drew).

TJ will continue working with a personal mentor and receiving tutoring and schoolwork assistance with Ms. Rau and CIS at Shallotte Middle School. TJ also asked Mr. Drew if he can still check in with him when time permits. TJ has a strong group of mentors in his corner to help him continue his path to success as he begins to make his transition to middle school.

Check back soon for more of TJ’s journey through middle school…

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