Community Steadies School District

The town of North Chicago sits 45 minutes north of the city, and is home to about 30,000 people. All of the schools in the district there have been on academic watch or academic early warning (meaning the schools are in some state of failure for several years) with the state Board of Education. The district is largely minority, low-income, low-achieving, and underfunded.

Enter North Chicago Community Partners, a nonprofit formed by a local family foundation. NCCP focuses on addressing the unmet needs of the students and schools. The organization provides lunch-time mentoring, after-school tutoring, math/science/art enrichment nights, a food pantry for families, and glasses for students who need them. The organization started with just a few employees, and now has 40 employees, plus several thousand volunteers.

In this web extra video, North Chicago School District Superintendent Ben Martindale discusses the district’s problems and how North Chicago Community Partners has helped make improvements. Martindale was made superintendent by the Illinois State Board of Education when it disbanded the previous administration back in 2012.