Model Program

Communities and Schools For Success (CS-Squared)

529 Main Street
Suite 110
Boston, MA 02129

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Contact Information:
Ms. Talitha L. Abramsen
Senior Program Manager, Project Lead

Program Specification:






Strong Evidence of Effectiveness

Age/Grade Level:

Target Settings:

Target Groups:

Middle School
High School

Inner City

Grade Level
School Wide


Other Participation Criteria:

All Ethnicities


Communities and Schools for Success (CS²) is a Massachusetts-based educational initiative that seeks to transform the educational experience for those young people who are most under-served and disconnected from traditional educational and career paths. Started in 1993, CS² is managed by Commonwealth Corporation. CS² develops innovative collaborations between communities and school districts through small teams of change agents at CS² sites, known as "CS² Entrepreneurs." Twice designated by the U.S. Department of Labor as a national model, CS²'s activities are grounded in research and promising practices from the education, workforce development, and youth development fields. In response to alarming graduation rate and teen labor market data, CS² Entrepreneurs develop dynamic educational and career-focused programming and systemic initiatives. These supports and services engage the specific needs and assets of young people most "placed at risk," so they emerge as inspired learners and skillful innovators in their vocations and the civic arena.

Program Descriptors Include:
Academic Improvement, Alternative Education, Attendance/Truancy, Behavior Management/Discipline, Bullying/Violence, Career Education, Community Collaboration, Counseling/Advisories/Coaches, Credit Recovery, Extended-School/Summer Program, Extra Curricular, Family/Parental Involvement, GED, Homeless, Literacy Development, Mentoring/Tutoring, Professional Development, Service Learning, Study Skills, Substance Abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Virtual Learning, Life Skills Training

Strategies for Locating Students:

Starting Date: 1993
Students Served Per Year: 500+
Reenrolled Students with Disabilities: N/A
Last Verified: 2009

Risk Factors:

Protective Factors:

Program addresses the following:

Individual factors

  • Has a learning disability or emotional disturbance
  • High number of work hours
  • High-risk social behavior
  • Low achievement
  • Retention/overage for grade
  • Poor attendance
  • Low educational expectations
  • Lack of effort
  • Low commitment to school
  • No extracurricular participation
  • Misbehavior
  • Early aggression

Family factors

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • High family mobility
  • Low education level of parents
  • Large number of siblings
  • Not living with both natural parents
  • Family disruption
  • Low educational expectations
  • Sibling(s) has dropped out
  • Low contact with school

School factors

  • Limited resources: expenditures per student/ teacher salaries/ student-teacher ratios
  • School size: too small/too large
  • Race/ethnicity
  • School policies and practices
  • Student engagement
  • Teacher expectations

Community factors

  • Family composition/socioeconomic status
  • Local labor market/neighborhood stability
  • Youth social attitudes

Program promotes the following:


  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Opportunities and rewards for pro-social involvement
  • Clear social norms
  • Good relationships with parents, peers, and teachers
  • Involvement with positive peer activities
  • Perception of support from adults and peers


  • Positive/resilient temperament


  • Social competencies
  • Self efficacy


  • Problem-solving skills


  • High expectations by community, family, school, and self

Program Resources:

Annual Cost:

The annual cost range of the program is over $500,000 or $500 - $1000 per student.

Funding Sources Include:

Program Staff Includes:

State Agencies

Social Workers
Graduation Coaches
School Administrators

Materials Used:

Supporting / Partner Organizations:

Instructional Texts/Manuals
Computer/Internet Based

Workforce Investment Board, Businesses, Community Based and Faith Based Organizations, families, Chambers of Commerce, Community Colleges, Private and State Colleges/Universities, Career Centers, Mayors

Evaluation Information:

47 schools participated across the nine CS² communities. 1,761 teachers partnered with CS² in programs and activities for their students. Over 40,000 students were active in or impacted by CS² initiatives, many of whom were previously disengaged from their school communities. In three of four communities, CS² Entrepreneurs secured state grants for and managed MCAS work/learning programs but received no salary under those grants. More than 1,000 businesses across the Commonwealth were involved in CS² projects during 2006-07. Over 650 students took part in career-related internships. More than 600 community organizations partnered with CS² on career and youth development initiatives, academic support programs, and community service learning opportunities. CS² Entrepreneur teams raised over $2.7 million in public and private grants and cash contributions - a more than 3:1 ratio of funds raised for each dollar invested by the state. In addition, funds invested by local communities to support their CS² teams brought the total results to over $3 million leveraged by the state budget earmark - a ratio of 4:1. Amounts raised by or invested in CS² reflect our continuing ability to successfully leverage the Massachusetts State Legislature's dollar investment.

How evaluation data was collected:
Data collected and analyzed at state or organizational level

Additional Evaluation Information: