Into A Brighter Future!

Meet some of our students who have overcome substantial barriers to move up to the next grade level, as well as those who – with guidance from their CISNC Support Specialist – are participating in summer learning to regain class credits.



Marveon, a CISNC student in Northhampton County, was supposed to graduate this spring, but he just missed the requirements of his Youth Work program and was unable to pass the course. That’s when Marvon’s Student Support Specialist, Nicole Boone, jumped into gear. She worked with a teacher at the high school to make sure Marveon could get the hours he needed for graduation and secured a job for Marveon at Upper Cutz Barbershop. “Marveon is working his hours and is on track to get his high school diploma by the end of July!” Nicole says.

Nicole is also helping Marveon apply to community colleges that have a basketball program as he is in avid player of the game and would love to continue playing ball in college. Thanks to CISNC, Marveon will complete his coursework this summer and move on to a “brighter future”!


Jaydin, a rising Junior in Nash County, was referred to CISNC because he has a speech impediment which hampers his self-confidence and causes him to struggle in adapting to the school environment. Jaydin also comes from a low-income, single mom household and lives in a rural area where he is cut off from support systems that might help him cope. The rural environment caused issues this past year during Covid remote learning as Jaydin didn’t have a reliable Wi-Fi network to connect to his online classes. Because he was struggling to log in and complete his schoolwork, Jaydin fell behind and didn’t pass all his classes. Thankfully, Jaydin’s CISNC Student Support Specialist, Tremel helped Jaydin figure out a way to recover his credits and move up to 11th grade next year. “I went to Jaydin’s home and did a porch visit with him to help him navigate the sign-up process for our ‘Summer Scholars’ program,” Tremel said.

Tremel also tapped into Jaydin’s love for volunteer work by connecting him with opportunities at a local community fair. Tremel says, “Jaydin helped me set up clothes and non-perishable items for the fair. Through his volunteer work, he’s improving his communication skills, learning time management and building his self-confidence!”

Thanks to Tremel’s support, Jaydin is on track recover his missing credits and enter his Junior year in a good place academically. Jaydin also has his sights set on graduation in 2023. After he graduates, he wants to attend university at NC A&T, UNC-G or NC State to study Engineering. Thanks to CISNC and the supports Tremel is providing, we know Jaydin can make this “bright future” a reality!


Quawn, a rising 6th grader, was referred to CISNC in 2nd grade because of low self-esteem and conflict with his peers. Quawn has a speech impediment, and it causes him to have trouble connecting with other students. Quawn’s CIS Student Support Specialist, Rachel Mills, began working with him on building his self-esteem and helping him navigate conflicts that might arise. Rachel discovered that Quawn has a gift for math and loves to play board games. “Whenever I work with the students in a group, the other children always want to go straight for the iPads, but Quawn is always reaching for Monopoly or Sorry! and pulling me or the other kids into playing a game with him.” Rachel has leaned into this love of board games to strengthen Quawn’s communication and social skills and to build on his already evident gift for math.

During the Covid remote-learning year, Quawn’s school – like many – switched gears multiple times. “We were totally virtual, then mixed virtual & in-person; then our last 9 weeks were in person,” says Rachel. Quawn struggled to stay afloat with his schoolwork during virtual learning, but Rachel did daily academic and social/emotional check-ins to make sure he stayed on track. And when school resumed in-person, Rachel visited Quawn’s classroom each day to make sure he was adjusting well with his peers.  “Quawn’s academics and EOGs have been steadily improving each year,” Rachel says, “and his self-esteem has grown dramatically as he learns how to cope with his speech impediment.”

Thanks to CISNC and the work Rachel has done, Quawn is on track to enter middle school this fall as a happy and confident young man with a very “bright future” ahead of him!


Brothers Malaki & DJ were both referred to CISNC because of struggles in their home life. Their father passed away when the brothers were young, and their mother has addiction issues. The boys live with their aunt and grandmother in a low-income neighborhood.

Malaki, a rising Freshman, and DJ, a rising 7th grader, struggled with remote learning because of their rural location within the Cherokee Nation and their difficulty staying focused in the virtual environment. Thankfully, their CISNC Student Support Specialist, Megan Albert, was able to connect with the boys despite the barriers of virtual learning using porch visits and text messages, and she encouraged them to keep up with their schoolwork and checked in on their emotional health as well.

When school resumed in-person in late 2020, Megan was able to once again connect with the brothers in the classroom. Both brothers benefited greatly from this face-to-face interaction. With the academic supports Megan provided, Malaki’s grade improved steadily, and he got all 4s on his End Of Grade tests. DJ, who in 5th grade was getting into almost daily fights at school, didn’t have a single altercation or conflict with his classmates or teachers. Using the mindfulness techniques Megan taught him, DJ stayed calm in the face of classroom struggles and waited patiently until Megan could pull him out of class to discuss the stressful event.

This summer, though she’s not in daily contact with the boys, Megan connected both Malaki and DJ with enriching camp activities that cater to their individual interests. For Malaki, that’s a basketball camp at the local high school where he’ll start as a Freshman in the fall, and for DJ – Megan helped him sign up for a “Heritage Camp” through the Cherokee tribe where he gets to go hiking, fishing, learn plant identification and more.

Megan says, “Both the boys have grown so much in the past year, and I wanted to help them continue that growth over the summer. They are pursuing their interests – sports and nature education – while gaining valuable social skills they can use at their new schools in the fall.”

With the crucial supports Megan has provided, both brothers have grown emotionally and academically, are engaging in meaningful summer activities that build on their social skills and are graduating to a new school in the fall with important study and coping skills in their tool belts.


Ja’imiel, a 2021 CISNC graduate from Cumberland County, joined CISNC after being referred by administration due to his poor attendance and low academic performance.  Ja’imiel comes from a single parent home and is the oldest of his 3 siblings. In the last year, Ja’imiel and his siblings had to move in with their grandmother due to problems in his family dynamics. Ja’imiel got a job to contribute to his grandmother’s income and help pay the family’s bills and, prior to joining CISNC, he was struggling to balance the demands of work and school. He wasn’t logging into his classes or completing his schoolwork, and he was in danger of dropping out.

When David Nobles, the CISNC Student Support Specialist, reached out to Ja’imiel, he was reluctant to receive any help and denied all support that was offered to him. After several attempts, David gained Ja’imiel’s trust and Ja’imiel finally agreed to work on his grades and attendance.

David says, “Once Ja’imiel accepted my help & became fully involved with CISNC, he began to attend classes and complete all his work assignments. It was a total turnaround for him.” In only a few months, Ja’imiel was able to pass all his classes and earn enough credits to graduate high school. Ja’imiel was content to receive his diploma in the mail however, David Nobles, his CISNC Specialist, encouraged Ja’imiel to take that important walk across the stage, and Ja’imiel now has a photo of his proud “cap and gown” moment.

Ja’imiel at his high school graduation

Ja’imiel has plans to join the Army later this year and, eventually, would like to start his own real estate business. Thanks to the support CISNC provided, Ja’imiel went from the brink of dropping out of high school to graduation and bright plans for the future!


Kaley, a rising 7th grader in Cabarrus County, had some trust issues when she first started working with her CIS Specialist, Lauren Robbins. Kaley comes from a single-parent, low-income household and while her mom is very involved in her education, Kaley had some negative educational experiences prior to joining CIS.

Because she had been bullied in the past, she struggled to connect with her peers and had behavioral issues at school. Once she began to trust Lauren, Kaley reached out to her via the school’s online learning platform. “Kaley could pull up the online learning tool and send me a message even if I was just down the hall,” Lauren report. “She would let me know she was getting frustrated, and she would ask if I could let her take a time out.” Lauren’s office became a safe zone for Kaley where, rather than having angry outbursts, she would could decompress and work through her emotions.

Using the Zones of Regulation and mindfulness techniques, Lauren taught Kaley how to manage her emotions and solve problems constructively. “After I’d worked with her for a while, Kaley eventually began suggesting alternative solutions to problems herself. She began to see that there are constructive ways to resolve conflict, and she is internalizing those lessons. It’s wonderful to see that happen for her!”, says Lauren.

Kaley is set to enter middle school next year, and she will be able to take these conflict resolution skills with her into the classroom. Way to go, Kaley!