Start young, get parents involved

We support Chicago Public Schools’ call for parental involvement in education in its five-year action plan [“Byrd-Bennett wants to get CPS students prepared for college,” June 10]. We know from more than a century of work in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods that parental involvement is an integral part of the student success equation……. Read more »

Chicago Commons’ Annual Meeting

On June 11th, Chicago Commons will host its Annual Meeting at Zed 451 to celebrate 118 years of service in Chicago. In 1897 we opened one of Chicago’s first kindergartens.  Today, more than a century later, we serve more than 3,000 individuals impacting nearly 10,000 families by providing child care, youth programming, adult education and…… Read more »

Preschool Education Community Forum

On June 5th, Commons will partner with Catalyst Chicago in presenting Preschool Education: The Latest in Policy and Practice.  This community forum will feature a panelist discussion on emerging policies and best practices in early childhood education. Panelist include: ·         Nancy Radner, Director of Illinois Policy, Ounce of Prevention Fund ·         Carlos Fortenberry, Director of…… Read more »

Assistant of the Year

Assistant of the Year   Known to most as Bubbles for her bubbling personality, Ethel Watts was all smiles on Wednesday when she was named “Assistant of the Year” by Chicago Commons’ Home Care.  Nominated by her supervisor, Marketta Bryant for her initiative, quality of work and reliability, Ethel has more than satisfied her role as Home…… Read more »

The Age of Networks

We live in the age of networks.  An important survey of human services trends, Disruptive Forces, describes the need to brand causes rather than organizations.  Related to this is the growing importance of formal networks of organizations, rather than individual organizations, as the key to driving social change. Chicago Commons has embraced this view of…… Read more »

The Tie That Binds

Commons has had six Executive Directors in its 118 year history.  On May 7th, I am leaving to move to Oregon after a great 8 years as Director and 15 years of service to Commons.  The fact that my tenure is “short” compared to past Directors is amazing to me.    I have been thinking…… Read more »

Cutting Terraces into the "Cliff"

Mayor Emanuel and City of Chicago are starting to release information about the Ready to Learn initiative (which was announced last year at the Commons’ Nia Family Center!) . One of the first highlights, a new “sliding scale” allowing parents to pay for half-day Pre-K according to their ability to pay.  Sun times headline is…… Read more »

Nothing Fair about it

The sequester is an “across the board” cut that slashes all discretionary federal spending.  Across the board cuts are sometimes called “fair” because they are proportional.  But there is nothing fair about this one. There has been some good coverage showing how geographically skewed the cuts are.  States like Alaska, New Mexico, Kentucky, Alabama and…… Read more »

Early Learning Push

Watch for early childhood education in President Obama’s State of the Union on Tuesday.  There are rumors that he is considering a big push in early learning. At Chicago Commons, any focus on early learning is welcome news overall.  But, there is a lingering question:  Will this create more robust support for quality early learning…… Read more »

Economic Glimmers

Re-assuring to see some glimmers of economic hope in Crain’s, we sure need it.  Awesome to see Bob Smietana, CEO at HSA Commercial Real Estate and Commons’ Board Member, get a shout-out for recent positive moves. However, the non-profit outlook was pretty gloomy.  In large part due to ridiculous situation in Springfield.  It is unconscionable…… Read more »