JD (second from right) and Zayza (fourth from left)

JD: “I think the After School Program is a good influence on all of us students. It helped keep me out of trouble by giving me a place to go after school so I wouldn’t hang around the wrong kids.”

Zayza: “If Communities In Schools wasn't here, what would the children of Fernandina Beach Middle School do? The person who created this program was a great person and thought about children to better their lives.”

CIS Programs: Fernandina Beach Middle School


Ashley A. McIntyre
CIS Program Director, FBMS

Ashley McIntyre, CIS Program Director FBMS, is based at the school during and after school hours. She delivers services to students focusing on improved school attendance, academic improvement, positive behavior, community service and healthy lifestyles.

Ashley takes a prescriptive approach to each student by conducting pre-enrollment interviews with both students and their parents to determine individual needs. She is there for students during the difficult academic and social transition when they enter 6th grade. And, she is there for them when the classes become more difficult, and peer pressure increases in the 7th and 8th grade. Parent conferences; student goal-setting and follow-up; and individual case management and referral services combine to ensure each CIS student is provided the help they need to help themselves.

Ashley coordinates volunteers to serve as classroom tutors during the school day for students requiring additional help. She launched the Student Leadership Council (SLC),

where students share ideas and plans for how the program should grow in the future. Every nine weeks, parents participate with students at an awards celebration honoring student progress in academics and attendance.

During the past year over 200 FBMS students received intensive CIS services, and many others visited Ashley for short-term or referral assistance. The after school homework club has earned the reputation as THE place to get homework done with the patient assistance of teachers and volunteers.

CIS students also engage in community service projects as part of the Jaguars Honor Rows Program. A new “Academics for Athletes” program was initiated last year to provide an hour of homework assistance to athletes challenged by academic requirements. Through the CIS program, Ashley provides FBMS students many opportunities to choose success, and develop the skills needed to achieve their dreams.

Ashley attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for two years, and graduated with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Religion from Presbyterian College. She did her graduate work in Agency Counseling at Gardner-Webb University.

“CIS of Nassau County
is the premier dropout
prevention program”

Dr. John Mazzella, Principal
Fernandina Beach Middle School

FBMS Volunteers Bryce Miller, Eileen Klein, and Alex Patrick VanWey

FBMS Volunteers Mike Pallen, Signe Lupfer, and Jim McCannell

FBMS Volunteer Lila Mayo

CIS Programs: Yulee Middle School

Dr. Deonia Simmons, Principal
Yulee Middle School
“CIS provides many of the missing pieces necessary in solving the complex puzzle
of student success.”

From GreatSchools.net parent feedback:

“The Dream Team after school program provided by Communities in Schools at YMS is great! My child has improved his grades in math, science, and reading. He would not be successful without it, and we both work so can’t help him like we should. We also don’t understand the work, so we need teachers to help him.”

The Dream Team is an ambitious program that provides support services to all Yulee Middle School students during and after the school day, at the school site where they are most accessible.

The CIS Dream Team at YMS
2005-2006 Results

196 Intensive Students

Annual Grades
• 95% improved a full grade in Reading, Math or Science
• 42% improved a full grade in at least two areas
• 12% improved a full grade in all three areas

FCAT Reading
• 47% improved 100 developmental points or more
• 58% achieved grade level or higher
• 27% improved full grade level
• 21% achieved grade level for first time

• 41% improved 100 developmental points or more
• 45% achieved grade level or higher
• 20% improved full grade level
• 19% achieved grade level for first time

Dream Team student Shane Rice, pictured with his dad, improved a full letter grade in three subjects: Math, Reading and Science last year.

Prescriptive Services
• Pre-enrollment interviews with students & parents
• Individual student goal-setting, coaching & follow-up
• Case management
• Conflict resolution & behavior management

After School
“Learning Families”
• Students divided by
gender and grade
• Class size average 9-12 students
• Certified teacher, academic
coach & volunteers serve
each “learning family”
• Academic remediation & acceleration
• FCAT preparation
• Homework assistance

After School
Development & Support
• Free snacks & bus transportation
• Enrichment (cooking, careers,
art, photography, music,
dance & fitness)
• Leadership development
& peer helper program
• Drug/alcohol/tobacco prevention
• Community service projects
• Jaguars Honor Rows Program

In today's world, schools alone cannot solve the many issues facing our youth. The middle grades struggle with social, academic, emotional, psychological and physical challenges. This is a time when peers or older siblings can easily influence them positively, or negatively. Lack of self-esteem, unsupervised time at home, family health problems, conflict in the home, a family history of alcohol or drug use, low academic success, and/or abuse all influence a child's attendance, behavior and learning at school.

CIS piloted services at YMS last year with great success. Students, parents and teachers enthusiastically welcomed the additional support and services available. Results achieved in the first 8 months of program operation were beyond initial expectations. Although some students participated reluctantly with prodding from parents, they celebrated their success by the end of the year. This year there is a waiting list for participation in the CIS Dream Team.

CIS Program Director, Ed Millan, is based at the school during and after school hours to meet with school staff, parents and students as needed. He is available to talk with students and parents to discuss special needs, set goals for improvement, and identify strategies for achievement. Students know that they can go to Mr. Millan, and he will help them to achieve their dreams… if they are also willing to make the effort.

Ed Millan
CIS Program Director
YMS Dream Team

Ed graduated from the University of South Florida with a B.S. in Education and received a Masters degree from the University of North Florida in Educational Administration and Supervision.
Ed brings a wealth of teaching and management experience critical to the effective planning and leadership of the many components of this new ‘whole school’ model for CIS.
Ed retired from the Duval County Public Schools after thirty years of combined teaching and administrative positions. He has taught business education, marketing and mathematics. He has also coordinated a district-wide cooperative education program, supervised career and technical education programs, and served as the Duval County Director of Vocational Education.
As leader of the YMS Dream Team, Ed’s goal is to positively impact the lives of YMS students by providing the motivation, services and coaching to improve academic, attendance and behavioral outcomes for students who need help for any reason.

Viviana Gentile-Drake
CIS Coordinator
Activities & Volunteers
YMS Dream Team

“I believe each person
can do great things,
and I love to help the process of greatness!”

Viviana was born and raised in Italy. At 16 she had the opportunity to work for a year as an au pair for a family in Vermont. After completing her high school diploma in Italy, she returned to Middlebury College in Vermont to earn a BA in Psychology and a Masters in Clinical Psychology. After 15 years in Vermont, Viviana and her husband moved to Amelia Island.
Viviana brings a passion for working with youth, and experience in counseling, fitness and wellness. She is an avid sailor, and also enjoys skiing, horseback riding, art and music.

Special thanks to Chick-Fil-A for feeding our Dream Team families!

CIS Programs: Project Future

Mary Podmostko
CIS Program Director
Fernandina Beach High School

Mary Podmostko is the Director of Project Future at Fernandina Beach High School. She moved to Nassau County last year and previously worked for the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, DC, on projects such as the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth and the School Leadership for the 21st Century Initiative.
Prior to joining the Institute for Educational Leadership staff, Mary held several positions at Charles County Community College, now called the College of Southern Maryland. She also managed apprenticeship programs in the construction industry and served on two Local Advisory Councils for Career and Technical Education.
Ms. Podmostko is currently working on a doctorate at The George Washington University, where she completed a masters degree in education and human development. Her undergraduate degree in biochemistry was awarded by Smith College.

Tom Hughes, owner of Magna's Salon, discusses careers with FBHS students.

David Zambrano and Samantha Mizeras,

2006 1st and 2nd Place Interview Challenge Winners


"I think the program is very educational. Everyone can learn something new. Each person has their own special qualities and I believe that this program helps everyone find them.”. – Holly

“The Community In Schools program has been fun and interesting. It has allowed me to recognize my strengths as well as my weaknesses. The only regret I have about the program is not taking it sooner.” – Rebecca

Volunteer Sean McGill makes first-time interviewees comfortable.

Fernandina Beach & Hilliard Middle Senior High School

Career Assessment – Each student completes a survey that matches their interests and strengths with a specific career, and assists both the student and the CIS Career Coach in targeting further research about education and career options in their field of interest.

FCCJ Field Trips – Students travel to FCCJ campuses where they tour the campus, break into small groups, and spend time in the department of their career choice such as culinary arts, law, and aviation.

Career Speakers – Local employers and experienced professionals speak to CIS students about their field of specialty, required education, expectations on the job, and why they were attracted to their profession. Participating teens are graded on their participation and the quality of their questions. Examples of just a few of the speakers include an investment broker, doctor, building contractor and a veterinarian, and additional volunteers are always welcome!

Interviewing Skills – Susan Milana, CIS Executive Director, conducts workshops on completing applications, structuring resumes and preparing for a job interview. This helps the students plan for their practice interviews conducted at the school with local employers. Students are required to dress appropriately, have resume in hand, and practice their newly acquired professional communication skills. Over 30 employers from across Nassau County participate as CIS Project Future interviewers.

Career Day – CIS Career Coaches also coordinate area businesses such as Fort Clinch, Shands Radiology, and the U.S. Army for a Career Day (held annually at the school). Each employer is represented with a booth display including materials about their organization and career options. Students have the opportunity to tour the booths, pick up materials, and ask questions about careers.


Individual Coaching – CIS Career Coaches provide ongoing information and assistance. They help students complete job applications and prepare for upcoming interviews. They stay in contact with area businesses, matching students to available positions for after school and summer employment. Assistance in researching and applying for colleges and scholarships is also available. But most importantly, CIS Career Coaches are accessible to students during and after the school day at the CIS Career Center to listen objectively and assist students through the many choices and decisions that face them each and every day.

Tutoring – During the school day at HMSHS, tutoring is provided for students who are at risk of not graduating because of poor academic performance or failure to pass the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). Shannon Juliao, a certified teacher, works with those who are having difficulties in math. An additional tutor is also being recruited for students performing below grade level in reading.

L to R: Shannon Juliao, Hilda Loyd, and Leslie Stokes

Shannon Juliao, CIS Math Tutor, is a former HMSHS teacher who brings years of experience in both business and education. Shannon received her BS degree in psychology from Middle State University in Tennessee. When she’s not tutoring, she’s meeting deadlines on her teen novels, which she writes under the name of Shannon Greenland.
Hilda Loyd, CIS Career Coach, is a former AT&T employee. Hilda provides career services through partnership roles with both CIS and the Nassau County School Board.

Leslie Stokes, CIS Career Coach, is a new addition to our team, but not new to HMSHS. As a previous student herself, and the mother of one graduate and one student, Leslie has also served as a substitute teacher at the school for the past ten years.

“Part of our school mission is to develop productive citizens.
The resources provided by
CIS take us one step closer
to that goal.”

--Deloris Stewart,
HMSHS teacher


“Communities In Schools has helped me prepare for my future by providing workshops that teach me interview skills to get a job.”

--Santoria Young, HMSHS student