Gov. Justice visits Martinsburg South Middle School

West Virginia

"Kathy and I are looking to make sure all West Virginian kids are taken care of."

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — Martinsburg South Middle School believes to be your best and nothing less, and luckily they have the help of Governor Jim Justice to help them along the way.

Justice visited the Eastern Panhandle Tuesday morning to see first hand how the Communities in School Program has affected the lives of West Virginian students.

“It is amazingly successful, and as much as Kathy and I love kids, it’s just an incredible program,” said Justice. “In Greenbrier county, the Communities in Schools have 100% graduation rate in high school, it is unbelievable.”

Students’ hands shot up when Justice asked them “Do you know anybody affected by drugs?” in their life. By placing educators on-site, the governor believes the Communities in Schools program can reshape student’s lives and empower them to stay in school

“At-need kids are struggling with, whether it be hygiene or food or just being able to have someone to talk to and to always have someone there to guide them and everything, it is amazingly successful,” said Justice.

According to Communties in Schools website, there are over 10,000 Mountain State students who are homeless or living in poverty. With the help of the West Virginia legislature, CIS has expanded from three counties to 11 in the 2019-2020 school year.

“It’s important that he came here to see what we’re doing for kids,” said South Martinsburg Middle School Principal Mark Barney. “Communities in Schools essentially gives us boots on the ground to give students resources they don’t necessarily always have. Last year when we did it, we saw kids who showed progression showed growth in those areas throughout the course of the year.”

West Virginia is the first state-level Communities in Schools licensed partner and serves 59 schools across the Mountain State.

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