ROANOKE, W.Va. (WBOY) — Gov. Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice announced that schools in five new counties in West Virginia are being added to the roster of participants in the state’s Communities In Schools (CIS) program.

In an announcement on Thursday, they revealed that a total of 15 schools in Logan, Marshall, Monroe, Ohio and Randolph counties will be added to the education initiative.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing Communities In Schools in our new counties this fall,” First Lady Justice said. “The CIS program has been an incredible success and all of that success starts with the people in this room.”

“It is unbelievable what everyone in this room is accomplishing with Communities In Schools,” Gov. Justice said. “When you have as much white hair as I do, you’ve seen a lot of stuff. I’m in our schools all the time. I’ve seen program after program. But there’s no program out there as impactful for our kids as Communities In Schools.”

According to a release from Gov. Justice, CIS works to forge community partnerships and bring resources into schools to help remove barriers to student learning. The program’s goal is to keep all students in school and help them graduate.

The new CIS schools announced Thursday are:

(Courtesy: Gov. Justice office)
    • Beverly Elementary
    • Elkins Middle
    • Elkins High
    • Chapmanville Intermediate 
    • Chapmanville Middle
    • Chapmanville High
    • Washington Lands Elementary
    • Moundsville Middle
    • John Marshall High
    • Peterstown School
    • Mountain View
    • James Monroe High
    • Woodsdale Elementary
    • Triadelphia Middle
    • Wheeling Park High

The Governor and First Lady started CIS in three counties in 2018. Including Thursday’s new additions, the program has now expanded to 36 counties, serving well over 70,000 students in 186 schools across West Virginia.

“We eventually want to get to the point where we can run across the finish line with CIS in all 55 counties in the state,” First Lady Justice said.

“The people who are a part of this program are chosen to do what they do,” First Lady Justice said. “A lot of time, all our students need is to know one person really cares about them. That’s what you are. You all are so involved in your students’ lives, they know they can come to you and feel good about who they are.”

“If all you’ve done is change the life of one kid it would be worth it, but you are changing life after life after life. It is absolutely incredible,” Gov. Justice said. “I couldn’t be more proud to be a small part of it. “One day, when you have white hair like I do, you will look back on this and have pride like you can’t imagine,” Gov. Justice continued. “You truly are the best of the best.”

CIS impact reports are available on the West Virginia Department of Education’s website.