Op-Ed by Danielle Robinson and Dr. Judith Allen

As we enter April 2021, the country recognizes Financial Literacy Month, but more painfully, April marks the thirteenth month of lives being forever altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. This month brings into focus the financial fragility of many Americans which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Of the 15% of Americans who reported losing a job because of the pandemic, lower-income adults were disproportionately unemployed, according to research conducted by Pew during the heart of the pandemic. …


By Katie Rankin, Communications Specialist, Communities In Schools of Chicago

The founder of Communities In Schools, Bill Milliken, believes in the power of relationships. It’s what inspired him to create a child-centered nonprofit built on two concepts — a caring adult in every child’s life and a caring community. “A good program simply is creating the environment where healthy relationships are happening between adults and kids,” he said in a recent . “I see so much hunger in this country for somebody to give a damn I exist.”

Here in Chicago, relationships are central to our day-to-day work —…


By Katie Rankin, Communications Specialist, Communities In Schools of Chicago

In order to provide holistic support to today’s students, practitioners and other caring adults need to address their mental health needs, in addition to their social, emotional, and physical needs. More importantly, adults who works directly with students need to be able to recognize when they are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Our school-based team at Communities In Schools (CIS) of Chicago is trained in just this — identifying and responding to a student in active crisis. And now our team is offering this training — aptly named Mental Health…


Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, many of the students that Communities In Schools (CIS) of Chicago serves faced significant trauma in their lives. From incarcerated family members to community violence, far too many of our young people had to overcome significant stressors to succeed in school and stay on the path to graduation.

CIS of Chicago’s program team is laser focused on helping young people develop knowledge and skills to navigate these obstacles and unlock their full potential. Each year we partner with more than 150 community organizations who provide our students and their families a wealth of educational programs…


Communities In Schools (CIS) of Chicago is a non-profit organization whose mission is to surround the city’s public-school students with a community of support, empowering them to learn, stay in school, and succeed in life. CIS of Chicago carries out this work by providing direct support like counseling to students who are off track in their school attendance, conduct, and/or grades. It also works with more than 150 community partner organizations who provide a range of support programs and resources to tens of thousands of students and families each year.

Pre-pandemic, a highlight for CIS of Chicago’s school partners was…


By Katie Rankin, Communications Specialist, Communities In Schools of Chicago

This fall, remote learning has shifted all instruction and class activities to online platforms for Chicago’s public school students, but it has also changed the way they engage socially. Chatting in the hallways, running around on the playground, even enjoying a lunch break in the cafeteria are all routines that have changed dramatically during this time. Students, however, need these opportunities to connect socially and emotionally, perhaps now more than ever.

To address this need, CIS of Chicago’s Student Supports Managers have been hosting small groups virtually. These groups offer…


By Katie Rankin, Communications Specialist, Communities In Schools of Chicago

The third-largest city in the country, Chicago is a cultural hub. Home to dozens of museums specializing in art, history, science and industry, even architecture. In typical school years, many of these museums offer educational programming and field trips at no cost for Chicago Public Schools students, and they rely on Communities In Schools (CIS) of Chicago to connect them with schools seeking their services. Field trip experiences not only expand our students’ horizons, but they also spark their curiosity and love of learning.

CIS of Chicago Arts Partnership Specialist…


By Katie Rankin, Communications Specialist, Communities In Schools of Chicago

In the 2019–20 school year, Communities In Schools (CIS) of Chicago served more than 59,000 students, empowering them to stay in school through resource connection, one-on-one and group counseling, and social-emotional support. Our team’s strategies for reaching students, the majority of which are students of color, were completely upended by a spring semester unlike any other.

In March, the spread of COVID-19 disproportionately affected the school communities we serve, impacting students and families physically, emotionally, and economically. Then in May, George Floyd’s graphic murder played out across cellphones and TV…


By Adenia Linker, Together for Students Project Manager, Communities In Schools of Chicago

In its , Chicago Public Schools identified that supporting students’ social and emotional wellbeing — and that of their families — was a key priority as we embark upon this school year. “During this time of uncertainty and disruption, our students may feel a sense of loss, grief, anxiety, and depression,” the plan states, “while students who are exposed to chronic stress and trauma are especially vulnerable.”

But how can educators respond to this key priority and foster a sense of belonging for students…


By Katie Rankin, Communications Specialist, Communities In Schools of Chicago

By the end of spring 2020, the community at Nixon Elementary — a K-6 school on Chicago’s Northwest Side — was tired. Due to repercussions from COVID-19, families were stressed, students were fearful, and teachers and administrators were doing whatever they could to make sure young people felt supported in their learning and in their social, emotional, and physical wellbeing.

Ms. Olga Preciado, a CIS of Chicago Student Supports Manager based at Nixon, took many of these challenges in stride. She held space for school staff, reached out to students…

Communities In Schools of Chicago

Our mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

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