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Student Support Specialist - Communities in Schools Tacoma

Safe Streets Campaign
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The Student Support Specialist serves with a school, as part of the CIS Tacoma team, to provide school-wide supports, events and programs to strengthen the school community and student engagement in school. They lead small group activities of students to build strong relationships and new skills (examples: social emotional skill building during “Lunch Bunch”, or leading an after-school academic support group). Additionally, Student Support Specialists will meet 1:1 with students to set goals and help students overcome barriers to success. Student Support Specialists also help build a community of support through community outreach.

Communities In Schools of Tacoma is a strong team focused on our mission of surrounding students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and succeed in life. We are seeking a Student Support Specialist able to build powerful relationships with youth, families, school staff and community partners; able to work with young people 1:1, support volunteers and facilitate small group activities and after-school activities in the Tacoma School District in Tacoma, WA. What sets Communities In Schools apart is the way we coordinate a comprehensive range of services to support all the needs of our students–academic and non-academic–so they come to school (and/or engage in online learning) ready to learn! We specialize in academic supports, social emotional learning, enrichment opportunities and basic needs supports. Our team helps students (and their families) remove barriers to academic engagement and success.

Service Activities

- Meet 1:1 with students to assess their strengths and needs, connect them to resources, set goals, and support them in reaching their goals.
- Recruit, train and coordinate community volunteers to build authentic relationships with youth in 1:1 and small group settings.
- Facilitate small-group activities with students in alignment with the sites’ School Support Plan.
- Support school-wide activities/programs and basic needs provision (food, school supplies etc.) during the school year, led by the Site Coordinator in collaboration with other partners.
- Partner with the school’s CIS Tacoma Site Coordinator to identify and coordinate community resources, volunteers and partnerships to address the identified needs of youth (and their families) who face individual and systemic barriers to academic success through confidential, developmentally appropriate, culturally sensitive interventions, services, supports and case management.
- Build relationships with local businesses and community organizations to support the programs and services at the school site.
- Represent the organization positively at all times by acting as a professional ambassador in alignment with the organization’s mission, values, and beliefs.
- Participate in regular professional development, team-building, and service activities

Community Need Addressed

Young people often come into contact with the criminal justice system as a result of normal adolescent behavior, such as taking risks and pushing boundaries. Due to institutional racism and implicit bias, this happens more often for Black and Brown youth through the over-policing of communities of color, racial profiling, and disproportionate minority sentencing. The isolation and stigma surrounding criminal justice system involvement create additional barriers preventing youth and young adults from achieving their full potential. Protective factors, such as participation in positive youth development programs and connection to caring adults, can create safe and supportive environments for youth that prevent and reduce contact with the criminal justice system.

Position Outcomes

The Imagine Justice Project is a collaborative Pierce County effort to strengthen youth development and advance equitable, community-centered justice systems. One of the primary strategies of the Imagine Justice program is to leverage AmeriCorps volunteers to build the capacity of local organizations to provide culturally responsive, trauma-informed positive youth development programs, and services.


Childcare assistance if eligible, Education award upon successful completion of service, Health coverage, Living allowance, Student loan forbearance, Training

Mileage reimbursement for trips related to CIS Tacoma duties

Education Benefits

Skills and knowledge related to positive youth development

Skills you will gain

Trauma-informed care, adverse childhood experiences, Youth Program Quality (YPQ) methods​, implicit bias​, systemic racism​, social-emotional learning​

Competencies You Will Develop

Demonstrate sensitivity and empathy, Lead group discussion, Listen to and consider others' viewpoints, Maintain open lines of communication with others, Speak clearly, in precise language and in a logical, organized and coherent manner, Turn taking, Write cleary and effectively
Creativity & Problem Solving
Able to identify and define the problem, Capable of generating possible solutions, Communicate the problem to appropriate personnel, Improvise, Provide relevant expertise, Select and implement well-considered solution
Derive consensus, Develop constructive working relationships and maintain them over time, Establish a high degree of trust and credibility with others, Interact professionally and respectfully with supervisors and co-workers, Stay positive and outcome oriented, Use appropriate strategies and solutions for dealing with conflicts and differences to maintain a smooth workflow
Accepts responsibility, Anticipate the consequences of decisions, Identify and prioritize the key issues involved to facilitate the decision making process, Involve people appropriately in decisions that may impact them, Quickly respond with a back-up plan if a decision goes amiss
Carefully consider which tools or technological solutions are appropriate for a given job, Consistently choose the best tool or technological solution for the problem at hand, Operate tools and equipment in accordance with established operating procedures, safety standards, and ethical guidelines, Seek opportunities to improve knowledge of tools and technologies that may assist in streamlining work and improving productivity
Able to prioritize various competing tasks, Create environment of contribution, Create plan of action, schedule tasks so that work is completed on time, Demonstrate the effective allocation of time and resources efficiently, Drive decision making, Effectively delegate tasks, Facilitate group planning, Set goals
Be pleasant, courteous, professional and respectful when dealing with internal and external customers or clients, Evaluate customer or client satisfaction, Honor the privilege of being able to work with and for those being served, Provide personalized, prompt, and efficient service to meet the requirements, requests and needs of customers, Recognize the importance of maintaining privacy and confidentiality of those being served, Understand and anticipate the needs of others, Understand the importance of one's role in the functioning of the organization, Understand the significance of maintaining a healthful and safe environment
  • Activity Types Hands On Activities, Professional Activities
  • Focus Areas Community & Nonprofit Development, Education & Youth
  • Length of Service 11 Months
  • Education Requirements High School Graduate
  • Placement Individual Placement
  • Service Setting Community-based Nonprofit, Community Development Organization, National Nonprofit/Affiliate, School-based Nonprofit, Social Enterprise (nonprofit)
  • Weekly Training Hours 2

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