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Community Partnership Specialist

Communities In Schools of Chicago (CIS of Chicago) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to working in partnership with Chicago Public Schools and community organizations to help students stay in school and be successful.

During the 2020-2021 school year, CIS of Chicago will partner with more than 170 Chicago public schools (CPS) and connect 900 services and programs to more than 50,000 CPS students and their families by leveraging community partner programs and services. In addition, CIS of Chicago places full-time Student Support Managers in thirty Chicago public schools – our Intensive School partners. Our staff in these schools provide intervention services to a caseload of 50 students per school who are at risk of dropping out, as well as connect support services to the whole school.

CIS of Chicago is an affiliate of Communities In Schools, Inc., a national nonprofit organization with offices in more than 150 different cities.

The mission of Communities In Schools of Chicago is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. The vision of CIS of Chicago is to ensure that every public school student in Chicago graduates from high school prepared to succeed. The organization’s core values are Impact, Integrity, Relationships, and Social Justice.

CIS of Chicago provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.


The Community Partnership Specialist is a “relationship builder” and an integral part of the organization’s Community Partnership Team, a group of professionals who manage the partnerships of more than 200 agencies, institutions, and individuals that provide services in the areas of the arts, college and career readiness, health, and behavioral and mental health. The team works together to connect no-cost community partner programs to CIS of Chicago partner schools based on the schools’ expressed needs and priorities. Together, members of the Community Partnership Team execute a partner training series, monitor the quality of the partner programming, obtain and analyze data points related to student connections, and play supporting roles in a variety of other organizational projects, as needed. The Community Partnership Team works closely with their counterparts on the School Partnership Team, a group of professionals who manage the partnerships of our partner schools. These two groups make up the full Partnership Team.

CIS of Chicago seeks a highly motivated and skilled professional in this role. The preferred candidate will have strong written and oral communication skills, experience working with or in urban school districts, and an understanding of quality teaching and program delivery practices, with a focus on, but not limited to, arts education.

Position Components

Build positive relationships with community partners and work with them to connect their no-cost, high-quality programs to our partner schools while helping to build partners’ capacity and increase program impact.

  • Connect between 20,000 and 30,000 students to a variety of programs with a focus on the arts;
  • Manage a portfolio of approximately 75 community partners (ex. arts, health, social and emotional learning), including cultivating relationships with established CIS of Chicago partners and proactively developing new partnerships to address key needs of the CIS of Chicago school network;
  • Forge relationships and represent CIS of Chicago at strategic community-based coalitions and organizations and other appropriate external partners including key relationships within CPS;
  • Monitor agency connections with schools and adjust support as needed to strengthen partner/school relationships through program observations and data analysis
  • Help plan and facilitate trainings and networking events for school and agency partners to build and deepen capacity inclusive of identifying and vetting speakers, working with teammates to assign roles and responsibilities and creating evaluation and feedback pathways.

Desired Skills And Attributes

  • Demonstrated success and comfort in building relationships proactively through multiple modalities including but not limited to in person (when safety permits), via email, phone call, and video conferencing.
  • Persuasive, appropriately assertive, and empathic professional communication
  • Knowledge of, or willing and capable of quickly learning, CPS policies related to remote learning as well as specific CPS guidelines for arts education .
  • Solution-oriented with a lens towards learning, exhibiting motivation to create and implement innovative solutions to challenges
  • Detail-oriented, and organized with a commitment to follow-up and follow-through
  • Strong computer skills, including familiarity with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, video conferencing technology, as well as database experience
  • Demonstrates cultural competency by effectively working and communicating with people differing in value systems, ethnicity, cultural backgrounds, language capabilities, and abilities
  • Enthusiasm for and understanding of mission-driven, trauma-informed, anti-racist work
  • Flexible and capable of working in a fast-paced environment sometimes needing to turn work around quickly


  • Bachelor’s degree with at least three years of relevant work experience
  • Advanced degree candidates, particularly in the field of education or youth development, preferred
  • Experience working with urban public schools and community organizations
  • Required to clear the CPS Background Check process including criminal background check and eligibility to work in CPS buildings with students
  • Must have reliable daily access to a vehicle plus a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance
  • Must have reliable access to remote workspace

Reports to: Associate Director of Community Partnerships

Work environment: This full-time position will be based out of the CIS of Chicago main office in the West Loop with occasional travel downtown and throughout the city to schools and partner sites. CIS of Chicago staff are currently working remotely with the option to work on-site at the West Loop location.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

Bachelor’s Degree

To Apply

To apply for this position, please submit: (a) a current resume; (b) a cover letter, indicating why you are interested in being a Community Partnership Specialist at CIS of Chicago and what makes you a uniquely strong candidate for the position; and (c) in a document separate from the cover letter, brief responses to the pre-interview questions below (up to 300 words total). Applicants that do not submit all three elements of the requested materials will not receive consideration. Please attach all three documents in a single e-mail and put “2021 Community Partnership Specialist” in the subject line and send to

Pre-Interview Questions:

  1. What attracted you to the position?
  2. How familiar are you with Chicago’s public schools and its diverse communities?
  3. Please list five adjectives that describe your work style.
  4. Do you have reliable, daily access to a vehicle for work-related travel throughout the city, as needed?