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

A fast-spreading virus, a shift to remote learning, a heightened level of stress and anxiety. Schools have faced many challenges this past year, and teachers and school administrators have worked tirelessly to help students navigate these challenges. But it can be tough to guide young people through a difficult time if you are trying to cope yourself.

The airline safety adage goes, “In case of emergency, put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others.” The same could be said for teachers in the school setting. The five strategies of…


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

Over the past three years, career awareness programming has been a top priority for CIS of Chicago school partners, particularly our elementary schools. And for good reason. Research shows that exposing young people to a wide range of careers improves how they do academically, informs their critical thinking and goal setting skills, and motivates them to continue their studies. While traditional Career Days often take place in the springtime, many schools try to go further and schedule an array of programming throughout the year to reinforce career exploration.

To help…


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

This June, Communities In Schools of Chicago celebrates PRIDE, a time for us as an organization to recognize and rededicate ourselves to support and allyship of the LGBTQA+ community. We believe that every student, regardless of race, gender, ability, zip code, or socioeconomic background, has what they need to realize their full potential — in school and beyond. …


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

Communities In Schools of Chicago is dedicated to promoting high school graduation across the city. We support students in more than 170 schools to ensure they stay on the path to graduation and life success. As this year’s commencement celebrations get underway — in a year that has been challenging for students and school-based staff alike — our team reflected on our own paths to earning a diploma.

For some, graduation day brought a swell of emotions. For others, graduation brought hope and a sense of security for the path…


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

Graduation day is a time of excitement for students across Chicagoland. Graduates don caps and gowns, walk across stages, wave to family and friends, and receive their diplomas, after years of hard work and dedication to their studies.

Graduation day is also a time of reflection, for the journey to commencement is not always a linear one. Many students encounter obstacles to reaching their academic and attendance goals, and some even question their motivation for finishing. …


CIS Partners with CircEsteem on the West Side

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

Outside of P.E. and recess, supporting students’ physical health needs during remote learning can be challenging for schools to accomplish. Partner schools at CIS of Chicago have shared that keeping students active, meeting their social-emotional needs, and giving them a space for fun are critical ways to increase their academic engagement. In response, CIS of Chicago’s Partnership Team has supported partners in their development of online programming, and the team has even connected with new community partners, like CircEsteem.

CircEsteem is a nonprofit focused on fostering youth self-esteem and mutual…


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

At the beginning of each school year, our School Partnership Specialists at CIS of Chicago reach out to school leaders in our partner network. They discuss needs that schools and students have for integrated supports and set priorities for the coming year. These priorities can range from arts enrichment to college and career readiness programming or even mental health supports.

In the 2019–20 school year (as in the previous five years), nearly 75 percent of school partners prioritized two program categories: anti-bullying and diversity/tolerance. Our schools were seeking culturally relevant…


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

During an academic year riddled with school closures, social distancing, and business shut-downs, our students — and the caring adults who support them — have often lacked a sense of choice. The pandemic has placed restrictions on how students attend class, how they interact with others, and even how they play.

Our team at CIS of Chicago believes that creativity can be an antidote to the monotony of pandemic life. Creativity, whether that be through art, music, or dance, provides students with the freedom of choice and expression. …


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 StoryCorps interview. “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 —…

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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