Research shows that the enormous funding gap between schools in Illinois continues to leave schools behind – including schools in North Chicago.

“There is a crippling truth that plagues our state’s education system: Illinois spends less on low-income children than it does on wealthier children,” according to an analysis of school funding published last year by Advance Illinois, a Chicago-based education advocacy organization. 

“From the Education Trust to the Education Law Center, study after study shows that Illinois has one of the most regressive funding systems in the country, meaning we have one of the greatest gaps between what we spend on low-income children and what we spend on their wealthier peers,” the group said.

According to Advance Illinois, the state spends 81 cents on low-income students for every dollar spent on non-low-income students – less than any other state in the country.

That is why North Chicago Community Partners (NCCP) was created – to help bridge the low income achievement gap, so all students have access to the high-quality education they deserve.  At a time of major funding challenges, NCCP and North Chicago schools are showing how strong and creative public-private partnerships can help improve public schools and ensure equitable educational opportunities for all children.

NCCP has had the privilege of supporting students in North Chicago Community Unit School District 187 since 2008.  NCCP started as a bold and well-intentioned idea and has since evolved into a vibrant organization that employs close to 40 employees.  With the help of thousands of volunteers, NCCP provides programs and services in all of North Chicago’s traditional public schools through our unique “community school model.”

The community school is not a new idea.  In fact, it is the type of school found in many affluent school districts – a school that offers before and after school enrichment and learning opportunities for all students, engages parents in the education of their children, provides opportunities for family learning, fun and support and works collaboratively inside and outside the school community.

Community schools focus on the whole child by providing resources to support academics, health and social services, allowing youth and community development to occur. This is accomplished through community engagement, which in turn leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Schools become the centers of their community and are open to everyone – during the day, evenings and weekends.

We have strategically honed and expanded our community school model, creating or facilitating programs, projects and/or events that truly address the unique needs of the North Chicago community.

Our unique community school model is efficient, effective and flexible, and provides support in the following areas: