Dear CIS Friend,

We have a ton to share in this issue! This summer has been a busy one for Communities In Schools of Chesterfield as we prepare for the 2021-2022 school year. We know that it will be another year of challenges, with our students returning to in-person education after a year of hybrid learning. As always, we are ready and prepared to serve our students - and we have some great new staff members to help us do that! Learn more about how you can help us with our work to give students what they need to have a successful school year!


Ashley Hall, Executive Director
We have three new additions to the CIS of Chesterfield team, filling Site Coordinator roles at our schools. Continue reading to "meet" each of them. We are thrilled to have them with us as we get ready for the start of the 2021-2022 school year!

Geancarlo Marti - Falling Creek Middle School
Geancarlo grew up in Newport News, VA and has been a teacher at FCMS for the last five years. He also served on the "Reset" team for PBIS and coached soccer for both the girls and boys teams. He's already proven to be amazing at building relationships with the students, and has been able to particularly connect with Latino families.

"The thing that has attracted me the most to the CIS position is building relationships with students and families. I love the opportunity to be an advocate and a mentor for students to become the best version of themselves."
Saida Bouhajja - Chalkley Elementary School
Saida grew up in Minnesota and Tunisia (northern Africa) before she graduated from Monacan High School here in Chesterfield County!  She began her career as an elementary teacher, working collaboratively with ESL and SPED. This past year, she transitioned to the position of Instructional Designer at Bellwood, and was named 'Teacher of the Year' for her work both inside and outside the school supporting students and families.

"As an educator at Bellwood Elementary School, I was able to see the impact of Communities In Schools on the daily lives of my students and families. CIS' mission and work aligned with my passion for seeing people and situations with an asset based lens while being collaborative with the community and students so that we can all grow and succeed together."
Tonika Claiborne - Salem Church Middle School

Tonika grew up in Boston, MA, so as expected, she is a huge sports fan! She has a MSW (Master of Social Work) and has been working for the last few years as a social worker with Arlington (MA) Public School's METCO program. She is well versed in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, trauma sensitive approaches, and Social Emotional Learning, and has led a number of DEI and conflict resolution initiatives. She is relocating from Massachusetts and will officially start on August 16.

"The role of CIS Site Coordinator is so appealing to me. It will allow me to continue to use my clinical and leadership skills to focus on family and community engagement, equity, and student growth. I look forward to joining the CIS team!”

We are so excited to be the benefiting organization for the September 17th Westchester Commons Concert (5:30 - 8:30 pm)!  Want to support? Join us for live music and a cold one! The band is one of their most popular - KOS! We'll be there to pour the beverages, and with each beer or wine purchased, CIS will receive $2 to support our mission!

Outside of attending the concert, you can also support by signing up to be a volunteer.  We need extra hands to serve beverages, sell drink tickets, help with our bucket brigade, and more! Click here to read more about the volunteer opportunities and sign up for your shift!

Know anyone looking to break into the nonprofit sector, explore a change in careers, or join the fight against poverty in Virginia's communities?

We have had such a great experience with our Mentor Virginia AmeriCorps VISTAs! We are excited for the third year and looking for candidates to serve as our Mentor Coordinator in the 2021-2022 school year. Take a look and share with your network!

Have you mentored with CIS of Chesterfield in the past? Or are you interested in becoming a mentor at one of our schools? This event is for you!

Help us celebrate our return to in-person mentoring in the 2021-2022 school year during this fun, two-part training & celebration event! The training is designed to serve as a refresher for past mentors and get new folks started. Click here for more details and to RSVP


Did you know school starts in just 18 days? We can hardly believe it either! A super simple way to get our students ready for the school year is by equipping them with tools and supplies they need. As the parents out there know, the cost of back-to-school items can really add up - many of our families simply cannot afford to cover those costs. We have a couple of easy ways for you to help fill that need!

Assemble school supply kits! Instructions are listed on our HandsOn RVA volunteer page.

Drop off needed school supplies at our office (10107 Krause Road, Chesterfield, VA, 23832). Click here to see what supplies are needed. Our office hours are M-F 8:30 am - 5:00 pm). Please be sure to call in advance of coming by - we want to be sure that someone is here when you come by (804) 717-9305!
Giving Our Students the Tools to Cope

"Research shows that SEL [Social and Emotional Learning] not only improves achievement by an average of 11 percentile points, but it also increases prosocial behaviors (such as kindness, sharing, and empathy), improves student attitudes toward school, and reduces depression and stress among students (Durlak et al., 2011)." This is why CIS of Chesterfield supports and prioritizes SEL in our programming and interventions with our students. As we kick off the school year for two of our schools, and prepare for the rest to return on August 23rd, we know that students will return with a great need for SEL supports - we'll be there and ready to wrap those services around them. Read more about SEL in this article from Edutopia.

Copyright © 2021 Communities In Schools of Chesterfield, All rights reserved.