News Channel 6 City Guide: Communities in Schools of the Greater Wichita Falls Area

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 9:28 AM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The News Channel 6 City Guide is a segment that shines a spotlight on local businesses, events, and nonprofits across Texoma. In this episode, we’re giving you a closer look at the April recipient of the Give Light Awards presented by the Junior League of Wichita Falls. Communities in Schools of Greater Wichita Falls Area provides a community of support and resources for students in the districts it serves through a variety of programs.

“Communities in Schools, also known as CIS, is a nonprofit organization that works within public and charter schools to help students stay in school and succeed academically,” Toni Alonzo, executive director for Communities in Schools of Greater Wichita Falls Area said. “Our mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.”

CIS provides integrated student support services. The local service area includes Henrietta ISD, Holliday ISD, and Wichita Falls ISD. CIS provides services to all students from Kindergarten through 12th-grade. The services CIS offers can be broken down into three tiers.

“Tier level one is school-wide services that target school-wide goals or needs. Tier level two is more targeted to group services for groups of students who have similar needs or goals. Tier level three services are individualized student case management services that are targeted for at-risk students who have experiences with significant challenges in their academics, attendance, behavior, mental health, and or social-emotional wellness,” Alonzo said.

Each campus has a CIS Site Coordinator that develops and implements these services. Atzhiri Acosta is the CIS Site Coordinator for Barwise Middle School.

“Here at CIS, we provide different services for the entire campus but also for those students that we specifically case manage. For the entire campus, we provide basic need services. For example, snacks for the kids, hygiene products, school supplies. For the students that we case manage, we assess and we make sure that we have a plan and that we support them in whatever they need to be successful in school,” Acosta said.

“This could include checking their grades on a regular basis, providing them with awards for doing good in their classes. But also a lot of emotional support. Another part are the groups that we have. So, we have cooking club, we have lunch groups, which are more community circles. The kids get to know one another and share what their life is like. We have a lot of mentoring programs. We partner with MSU and Wichita Falls High School to provide those mentors,” Acosta said.

Communities in Schools is a program that students and parents are very thankful for.

“I recommend CIS for students and parents because it helps support the students and the families,” Maria Vielman-Andrade, a CIS parent said. “When the family is in need, they [CIS] is there to help out.”

You can help support the mission of CISGWFA by volunteering at one of the campuses, donating things like school supplies, clothes, and hygiene products, or you can make a monetary donation at If you would like your business, event, or nonprofit featured on the News Channel 6 City Guide, contact us at or (940) 757-0691.

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