OHIO — Kids across the country will be getting extra assistance in school this year, now that Communities In Schools (CIS) has received millions of dollars in aid for its nationwide back-to-school initiative. 

The Ballmer Group invested $165 million and the Blue Meridian Partners invested $6 million into the group. 

What You Need To Know

  • Thousands of low income students will be impacted and services will be increased to 60 schools in Ohio

  • Mentorship, counseling and other resources provided 

  • $165 million investment from the Ballmer Group and $6 million from Blue Meridian Partners will help with the effort 

Amy Gordon, chief executive director and CEO of CIS of Ohio said because of the donations, the organization will be able to reach more kids. CIS of Ohio served about 42 schools; now it will be able to serve 60 around the state. Thousands of kids could benefit. 

"This is a really critical time, as we're seeing kids return to school, as we're seeing kids that have really been impacted on, going through the pandemic and impacting their ability to be in school and to be successful," Gordon said. 

CIS of Ohio helps students stay in school, while reducing barriers for those in poverty and for kids who live in marginalized communities.

Gordon said, so far, the group has been "placing a full-time person in the school to address things like attendance issues [and] why kids aren't coming to school." Plus, this person can address "social, emotional or behavioral issues." 

There is a 30% chronic absenteeism rate across the state, according to the Ohio Department of Education. Chronic absenteeism can be linked to dropout rates.

Gordon said those things impact the economy and violence rates.

“And so really working to reduce barriers that keep our kids from coming to school and being successful is critical, especially at this time,” Gordon explained. 

Ultimately, Gordon said it’s all about making strong connections, supporting teachers and engaging students so that they can help students come to school, stay in school and graduate.