Alexander takes over as national spokesman for Communities in Schools


The Mirror

The Federal Way school district knows the amount of pull Shaun Alexander has. The star Seattle Seahawk running back and former National Football League Most Valuable Player has been a longtime supporter of the city’s chapter of Communities in Schools.

Now the entire country will get to see the passion Alexander has for helping students achieve academic success. Alexander was recently named the national spokesperson for Communities in Schools, Inc.

“Shaun has been a wonderful friend to the Communities in Schools of Federal Way,” said Communities in Schools of Federal Way Chair Karen Vander Ark. “He has emerged as one of our most celebrated emcees of the annual fundraising breakfast, having taken on this role three times in the past several years. As the local chapter of this national organization, we are thrilled with the announcement of Shaun’s affiliation at a national level.”

“I feel blessed to be a part of an organization like Communities In Schools that does so much for young people,” said Alexander. “This is really personal for me. As a father of young children, I understand how important it is to give them the tools they need to succeed in school and in life. Through my work with Communities In Schools, I can help millions of students and their families.”

The announcement of Alexander becoming the national spokesperson comes at the same time of a name change for the Federal Way chapter.

After two-plus years of a partnership with Communities In Schools and the need for a simpler name, The Federal Way Education & Communities In Schools Foundation has become simply, Communities In Schools of Federal Way, according to Vander Ark.

“The organization is continuing its strong partnership with the (Federal Way) Chamber of Commerce and is looking forward to many more years of support and collaboration to enrich our community through partnerships that empower students to succeed and become productive citizens,” she said.

Part of the new vision for CIS of Federal Way is to rethink and restate where they've come from and where they are going. They still have the same goal to help students achieve academic success through the programs they run to further their academic and civic success. They are also piloting a new program, COR (Coordination of Resources) that will look at the needs of students, whether they be academic, medical, mental or social, and locate the appropriate service provider to help that student. Schools cannot provide all of the resources that students need to be successful and they have identified the need in our schools and our community to assist in this endeavor, officials said.

CIS of Federal Way will also still provide two successful mentorship programs, PASS and the Heritage Leadership Camp.

“Our goal is to increase the number of mentors and students that can be identified and to also expand into the elementary schools as a beginning point,” said CIS of Federal Way past President Aline Carnahan.

CIS of Federal Way will also continue to fund the Federal Way School District’s Summer Bridge Program, which is in its fourth year. Results continue to show improvements in students who participate as well as helping them maintain what they have learned the previous year so that the “summer gap” is not a hindrance in the learning process, officials say.

Communities In Schools is the nation’s largest dropout prevention organization, working in more than 3,400 K-12 public schools. Founded in 1977, Communities In Schools is headquartered in Alexandria, Va. Today, 1.2 million young people annually receive direct services through more than 200 Communities In Schools local affiliates in 27 states and the District of Columbia. Between 80-90 percent of Communities In Schools’ tracked students show improvement in academic achievement, attendance, behavior and promotion to the next grade level. Visit our Website at

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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