During this unprecedented time in our community and our nation, Communities In Schools of Chicago is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with hope, resiliency, and innovation.
Our commitment to the students and communities we serve is greater than ever. That’s why our teams are focused on pivoting services and building more virtual communities to meet the needs identified by our schools, students, families, and community partners.
CIS of Chicago has taken five key actions as part of our response plan:
- Implementing a TeleSupport system to provide counseling and coaching for families coping with stress, anxiety, and economic insecurity.
- Continuing to deliver virtual 1:1 support of students around social-emotional wellness and academics.
- Coordinating resources and hosting virtual gatherings to support 200+ community service providers and our city-wide network of schools.
- Providing principals and school leaders with coaching, guidance, and resources to support students and community members.
- Rallying community awareness around short- and long-term emergency needs.
RESOURCES PROVIDED BY OUR INTENSIVE TEAM
The TeleSupport Program provides a help line for families of students at CIS of Chicago Intensive Partner schools during this period of shelter-in-place regulations.
Parents can contact the TeleSupport line during normal school hours for assistance on a menu of items, including stress management, resources to support home-schooling of their children, balancing work and child-raising demands, child behavioral issues, and connection to a variety of resources.
Support is available in English, Spanish, French, Hindi, and Kreyòl, and services are provided by CIS of Chicago’s experienced team of mental health experts.
Virtual 1:1 Student Support Around Social-Emotional Wellness and Academics
In accordance with Chicago Public Schools plan for remote learning, Student Supports Managers are reaching out to students on their caseload via the school’s district-approved channels to provide coaching and guidance around social-emotional wellness and academic support.
This support ranges from check-in calls with parents and family members, Google Hangout office hours, presentations with teachers in Google Classrooms, email communication and resource-sharing, and even video activities.
RESOURCES PROVIDED BY OUR PARTNERSHIP TEAM
Our Partnership Team has developed a growing list of resources to support school and community partners, students, and families. While this list is not exhaustive, the team is working to update it as frequently as possible to include new service/programming opportunities, relevant details, and access instructions.
Note: CIS has not vetted each of the resources; publication here does not necessarily reflect an endorsement of quality. The guide is broken down into the following resource groups:
- COVID-19 Info
- Additional Resource Guides
- Education and Child Engagement
- Employment Resources / Volunteerism
- Entertainment / Arts
- Grants / Relief Funding
- Hotlines and Phone Numbers
- Housing, Food, and Childcare
- Immigrant / Refugee / Undocumented
- Remote Work Support
- SEL / Mental Health
- Trauma-Informed and Harm Reduction
- Utilities and Internet Assistance
- Webinars / Online Learning
Resource Coordination and Virtual Gatherings for School and Community Partners
During this time, the Partnership Team is reaching out to identify partner needs and connect them with helpful resources. Both school and community partners have said they are seeking connection, so our staff members are also convening virtual meetups.
Our School Partnership Specialists are hosting Zoom meetings with school leaders in their portfolio, and our Community Partnership Specialists are convening meetups by their unique focus area – behavioral and mental health, the arts, college and career readiness, and health and wellness.
Materials and Tangible Resources for Schools
If you have tangible resources to share with schools, the Partnership Team wants to help you get those resources into the hands of the students and families. To that end, fill out this survey, and we will work with our school partners and our partners at the office of Family and Community Engagement and Education (FACE) and Children’s First Fund (CFF) to help get your items where they are needed.
PRIORITIES OF OUR DEVELOPMENT TEAM
Help for Students and Families Most Impacted by COVID-19
More than ever, we need your support to help our students stay resilient and keep on track to graduate. Please consider making a gift at cisofchicago.org/donate.
Words of Encouragement
Help us surround our students with even more positivity and hopefulness during these difficult times. We encourage you to share your own inspiring words of encouragement and show our students what YOU are made of. Post a message of hope in the pinned post’s comments section.
For 32 years, CIS of Chicago has supported more than one million Chicago Public Schools students and their families through times of extraordinary hardship and uncertainty.
We are very aware of how the COVID-19 pandemic, and the closure of schools, will negatively impact our students and families, and we are dedicated to supporting them and connecting them to needed resources.
– Jane Mentzinger, CEO
*Information on this page will be updated frequently as more information becomes available about the developing circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.