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Behavioral and Mental Health Partnership Specialist

Communities In Schools (CIS) of Chicago is a nonprofit organization dedicated to working in partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and community organizations to help students stay in school and be successful. During the 2023-2024 school year, CIS of Chicago is partnering with 238 Chicago public schools and will connect services and programs to more than 78,000 CPS students and their families by leveraging community partner programs and services. In addition, CIS of Chicago is implementing our Intensive Program— at 34 Chicago public schools we have placed a full time Student Supports Manager. Staff in these schools provide intervention services to a caseload of 45-50 students per school who are at risk of dropping out, as well as connect support services to the whole school.

CIS of Chicago was founded in 1988, and is an affiliate of Communities In Schools, Inc., a national nonprofit organization with offices across the country, reaching more than 1.6M students annually.

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.


The Behavioral and Mental Health 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, academic enrichment, 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.

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 program delivery practices with a focus on behavioral health, mental health, and culturally responsive programs and services.

By focusing on mental health education, counseling services, and anti-bullying programs, the Behavioral and Mental Health Partnership Specialist has the opportunity to ensure that CIS’s network schools have the resources they need to support students’ mental wellness and create equitable and inclusive school climates.


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 20,000-25,000 students with a variety of programs, delivered by community organizations;
  • Manage a growing portfolio of approximately 75 community partners (Anti-Bullying, Counseling, Cultural Responsiveness Education, Mental Health Education, Social and Emotional Learning, and Stress Management); cultivate relationships with established CIS of Chicago partners; and proactively develop new partnerships to address key needs of the CIS of Chicago school network;
  • Work collaboratively with CIS of Chicago School Partnership Specialists and Student Supports Managers to promote and recommend programs for their schools;
  • Forge relationships and represent CIS of Chicago at strategic community-based coalitions and organizations and other appropriate external partners, including key relationships within CPS; staying up-to-date with the CPS initiatives such as the Healing Centered Framework;
  • Monitor agency connections with schools and adjust support as needed to strengthen partner/school relationships through program observations and data analysis, inclusive of regular reporting; and
  • Work with the team to plan and facilitate trainings and networking events for agency partners to build and deepen capacity: identify and vet speakers, assign roles and responsibilities, and create evaluation and feedback pathways.


  • Demonstrated success and comfort in building relationships proactively through multiple modalities, including but not limited to in person, via email, phone call, and video conferencing;
  • Knowledge of mental health and common challenges to healthy development, mental health education, and services that can promote the mental wellness of youth. A background in mental health or social work is preferred, but not required;
  • Persuasive, appropriately assertive, and empathic professional communicator;
  • Knowledge of, or willing and capable of quickly learning CPS policies for serving students;
  • 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, PowerPoint, and video conferencing technology;
  • 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; and
  • 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 with internet connection


Associate Director of Community Partnerships


This is a full-time position. Currently our work environment is hybrid, which may be adjusted at the discretion of the CIS of Chicago leadership. Candidates must be available to work in person at our West Loop location 1-2 days per week, along with remote work and meetings throughout the city on the remaining days.


To apply, fill out our online application. Candidates are highly encouraged to include a cover letter in addition to a resume.


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.

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