Longtime education nonprofit expanding support to 25 more Chicago schools in 2022

School Hallway
Photo credit Getty Images

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Communities in Schools (CIS) of Chicago, a non-profit that has provided help for hundreds of thousands of Chicago Public Schools students over more than 30 years, is expanding the number of schools it will work with in the new academic year.

CIS announced it will now be supporting students in 200 schools across the city. That’s 25 more schools than they worked with in 2021 and will involve roughly 70,000 students in all.

“It’s not us, like, waving a magic wand, and suddenly they’re changed,” said Bart St. John, Innovation and Communication Officer for CIS. “It’s providing them tools and strategies, resources, even frameworks of mind to slowly think about what are their goals, what [is] their purpose in school and outside of school, and how can they get to achieve some of those goals.”

St. John said CIS workers will be on the ground for four days per week in 30 schools, where they’ll work with teachers, students and administrators. In the other 170 schools, he said CIS works to find community groups, individuals and institutions that can help students reach their goals.

“Our focus is on removing barriers that prevent students from maximizing their potential in school and staying on the path to graduation,” St. John said. “The way we do that is by surrounding them with a community of support, resources, [and] community programming.”

As far as the kinds of help offered, St. John said it varies.

“It can be anything from working with community partners to ensure that students receive college and career prep, and grade-rich arts experiences, to providing them direct mental health from our team of experts who are in schools and provide that type of expertise,” St. John said.

He said 99% of students CIS works with directly, every year, have either been promoted or graduated.

Listen to WBBM Newsradio now on Audacy!

Sign up and follow WBBM Newsradio

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram