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School 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 School Partnership Specialist is a relationship builder and an integral part of the organization’s Partnership Team, a group of professionals who manage our school partnerships and relationships, and others that manage the partnerships of more than 200 agencies, institutions, and individuals that provide services mainly in the areas of the arts, college and career readiness, physical health, and behavioral and mental health.

Together, members of the School Partnership Team work closely with school personnel to meet the unique needs of each school community, execute a partner training series, monitor the quality of community partner programming, and play supporting roles in a variety of other organizational projects as needed in addition to working to make meaningful school and community partner connections. By focusing on building relationships with school personnel and connecting schools to programs, services, and basic needs items, the School Partnership Specialist ensures that all CIS of Chicago partner schools have the resources they need to provide their students with meaningful, relevant, and high-quality opportunities. They are responsible for maintaining a portfolio of school partners, which includes regular communication, data collection, school visits, and most importantly, relationship management.

CIS of Chicago seeks a highly motivated and skilled professional for 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.

Position Components:

Manage School Partners:
  • Build positive and productive relationships with school personnel including each school’s leadership and administration
  • Develop and implement strategies for creating partnerships between schools and our network of community partners
  • Actively refer available student-focused programs and services to key liaisons at 30-40 of Chicago’s public schools
  • Follow-up on these referrals regularly to ensure that connections are being made or that alternative services are being referred to meet need; and gaining feedback as to the efficacy of the connected program
  • Train and provide ongoing assistance to key liaisons at 30-40 Chicago public schools related to needs assessments, program evaluation, partner appreciation, and building awareness about CIS of Chicago
  • Research and identify potential service providers to meet key needs of all schools in the CIS of Chicago network, plus guide the initial stages of those partnerships
Data Management:
  • Collect and analyze data related to school partner program connections and monitor school/ agency partnerships to improve our support of schools and increase program connections
  • Maintain detailed reports of school and agency partnerships for the portfolio of schools
  • Complete required monthly, quarterly, and annual reporting
  • Help plan and facilitate trainings and networking events (ACTIVATE series) for school and agency partners to build and deepen partner capacity and collaboration
  • Identify credentialed speakers, work with team members to assign roles and responsibilities, and create evaluation and feedback pathways
Other Duties:
  • Represent CIS of Chicago in relevant community or coalition groups
  • Support the work of the Partnership Team with positive and innovative solutions to challenges
  • Assist with other organizational projects, as needed
Desired Skills and Attributes:
  • Adept at cultivating meaningful partnerships while setting clear expectations and achieving organizational outcomes
  • Enthusiasm for and understanding of mission-driven work
  • Ability to work both collaboratively and independently
  • Flexible and capable of working in a fast-paced environment
  • Strong computer skills, including familiarity with Microsoft Office suite, video conferencing technology, as well as database experience
  • Skilled at multi-tasking and meeting multiple deadlines concurrently
  • Persuasive, appropriately assertive, and empathic in professional communication
  • Solution-orientation and ability to problem-solve
  • Strong written and oral communication
  • Excellence in communicating with diverse audiences
  • Detail-orientation and commitment to follow-up and follow-through
  • Awareness of and sensitivity to the needs of urban public school environments


  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum of two years of relevant work experience
  • Experience working with urban public schools strongly preferred
  • Customer support experience a plus
  • A criminal background check through Chicago Public Schools and verification of employment and degrees is required; name must not appear on the CPS’ Do Not hire list
  • Daily driving is a significant portion of this position; applicants must have a valid driver’s license, applicable
  • insurance, and daily access to a reliable vehicle

Reports to: Associate Director of School Partnerships

Start date: Immediately

Application Process:

To apply for this position, please submit:

(a) a current resume;
(b) a cover letter, indicating why you are interested in being a School 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 include “2021 School Partnership Specialist” in the subject line. All postings should be directed to No telephone calls, please.

Pre-Interview Questions:
  1. What attracted you to this position?
  2. How familiar are you with Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods? What experiences have you had with the city? To what areas are you most connected? (If you have not had experiences in Chicago but have had substantive experiences working or volunteering in an urban environment elsewhere, please name the city/cities and describe those experiences.)
  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?