Communities In Schools (CIS) of Chicago is a nonprofit organization that serves more than 70,000 students each year by providing essential programs and services, which their schools often cannot otherwise access, to help students be successful and stay in school. An affiliate of the nation’s largest dropout prevention organization, CIS of Chicago has served students in Chicago for 30 years in partnership with more than 200 community organizations and about 150 public schools.
The mission of CIS 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 Chicago public school student graduates from high school prepared for success.
The core values of CIS of Chicago are: Impact, Integrity, Relationships and Social Justice.
The Communications Specialist’s responsibilities focus on developing and implementing traditional and digital communications efforts to strengthen the overall profile and reputation of CIS of Chicago among partners, donors, local government and community leaders, and the general public. The Communications Specialist will function as a field reporter and story-gatherer, a brand manager, a communication coach, and a social media conversation-starter.
Key duties will include:
Identifying, shaping and writing stories for internal and external use;
Managing social media content and platforms;
Facilitating or managing the design and/or print production of collateral materials;
Engaging the program staff in supporting a variety of communications strategies; and
Collaborating with the National office of CIS as appropriate.
To accomplish these duties, the Communications Specialist will work under the direction of the Chief Innovation and Communication Officer, and alongside the organization’s development and program teams, its external relations manager, and its communications consultant.
In carrying out the tactics of the organization’s annual communications plan, the key responsibilities of the Communications Specialist are to:
Identify and report on stories (words, images and video) for internal and external use that demonstrate CIS of Chicago’s impact;
Create an image/video-inventorying system that powerfully showcase the organization’s mission, vision, values and impact;
Create and post digital content across multiple platforms, specifically the CIS of Chicago website and its Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts;
Help to create, design, write and/or edit collateral materials for the organization, including but not limited to the annual report, special event invitations, promotional videos, and fact sheets;
Support internal communications, specifically sharing relevant education news articles with colleagues;
Support earned media pitches for the organization;
Support staff communications training about organizational messages and writing style; and
Support the development and program teams’ event planning as needed and available.
Desired Skills and Attributes:
Demonstrated experience reporting and writing news and/or feature stories that convey a strong understanding of effective story construction, acquired through formal education and/or substantive writing experiences;
Excellent writing, editing and verbal communication skills, and a willingness to be edited and coached;
Experience creating flyers, invitations and other external-facing materials using common programs or apps, or experience in managing designers doing so;
Experience managing social media platforms for organizations or employers, and an understanding of how to use and measure these communications tools;
The ability to be and remain organized while handling multiple projects, relationships, and deadlines;
The ability to work both collaboratively and independently;
A good sense of “newsworthiness,” for both traditional and social media platforms;
Passion for CIS of Chicago’s mission, vision and core values; and
Overall, a go-getter who is curious about the world of education and thinks strategically and creatively.
A bachelor's degree and a minimum of three years of experience, preferably in nonprofit communications.
A strong interest in quality education and social services for urban youth.
Experience managing social-media platforms.
Knowledge of local news media (broadcast, print, and online) outlets.
Knowledge of AP Style Guide.
Video storytelling skills a major plus.
Reports to: Chief Innovation and Communications Officer
Start Date: Immediately
Please submit the following documents as attachments in one email to firstname.lastname@example.org (no phone calls or faxes, please):
A current resume
A thoughtful cover letter specific to this position
In 300 words or less, please answer the following questions:
What about our organization and this position appeals to you?
How familiar are you with Chicago’s schools and diverse communities?
What five words describe you?
What responsibility of the Communications Specialist position described above is your greatest strength and why? Which would represent your greatest area of growth?
This position requires both working in an office setting and out in schools and community settings. Do you have reliable access to efficient transportation?
Note that employment with Communities In Schools of Chicago is contingent upon successful completion of a full education, work history, and criminal background check.
About Communities In Schools of Chicago
Communities In Schools (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 2017-2018 school year, CIS of Chicago partnered with 147 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and expects to have connected 1,850 services and programs to more than 71,000 CPS students and their families by leveraging community partner programs and services. In addition, CIS of Chicago places full-time Student Supports Managers in ten 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 f...rom high school prepared to succeed. The organization’s core values are Impact, Integrity, Relationships, and Social Justice.