Zack struggles with changes at home that have impacted his school attendance and grades. His site coordinator helped him establish short-term attendance goals that will have far-reaching impacts. 

Zack, a student at Stephen Decatur Elementary School, was going through a rough patch at home. His parents had recently separated, and they were in a contentious custody battle involving Zach and his sister. This situation, combined with other past trauma and stress, led Zack to miss a lot of school. He was showing physical symptoms of his stress, including headaches and stomachaches. As a result, within a 10-week period, Zach had 13 unexcused absences from school. For Zack’s future, intervention was needed.

Enter CIS Site Coordinator Matt Ernst. Mr. Ernst had noticed Zack’s absenteeism. After assessing Zack’s overall needs, Mr. Ernst developed several school attendance incentives, which encouraged Zach to get back into the classroom.

“Zack and I often discuss the importance of being at school and what it takes to make something a habit,” says Mr. Ernst.

Mr. Ernst also referred Zack to Cummins Behavioral Health Services so he could get the professional help necessary to overcome his feelings and concerns surrounding his parent’s divorce and other issues going on in his life. As Zack’s advocate, Mr. Ernst is in constant communication with Zack’s mom and dad as well to share updates.

Since CIS begin working with Zack, he’s had only one unexcused absence from school. More importantly, Zack reports enjoying—and wanting to be in—school more. Zack shows us that resilience is “What we are made of.”