From Safe Spaces to Necessary Spaces

Network for College Success (NCS) Celebrates 15+ Years

On September 22, 2022, NCS welcomed Chicago-based partners, schools, supporters, and friends to celebrate the organization’s collective impact over the past 15 years and counting. The theme for the evening was “Necessary Spaces,” highlighting NCS’s unique approach to equity work with its partner networks and the greater community.
“Necessary space means that we center the voices and experiences of the young people in our classroom,” shared Krys Payne, Co-Executive Director at NCS. “It also means that we continue to challenge adults to consider how their beliefs and actions create pathways for young people or erect barriers.”
Pedro Martinez, Chief Executive Officer at CPS, also joined the celebration, and he shared a few words regarding the start of CPS’s 2022–23 academic year.
“I see nothing but opportunity and optimism. With the energy that exists right now in our schools and the way our students are doing, I’m confident we’re going to have a strong academic year.” He continued, “I also think we’re going to be able to look back and reflect on what’s happened over the last few years.”
Pedro Martinez, Chief Executive Office at CPS, delivers opening remarks.
Since 2006, NCS has partnered with CPS high schools to create powerful spaces for school leaders and teams to reflect, dialogue, and organize. Such efforts accumulate to build transformational high school experiences that prepare young people for academic, career, and community-based success. Through multiple touchpoints throughout the school year, NCS aims to break down silos that hinder collaboration so that educators can develop informed, actionable plans for improvement.
“One of the things I learned early on from NCS is that the people closest to the problem are the ones that can offer the best solution.” shared Dawn Ramos, Principal at Tilden Career Community Academy. Tilden has been a part of the Partner School Network since 2013. “NCS’s capacity-building approach with school teams and leaders is what really impacts the way we work.”
Krys Payne, NCS Co-Executive Director, engages in a Fireside Chat with Megan Hougard, Chief of College and Career Success at CPS, and Dawn Ramos, Principal at Tilden Career Community Academy
With deep roots in the city of Chicago, the Network for College Success is excited to continue scaling its work outside of the district as well. Through the ongoing evolution of its core focus areas and the scaling of national programs like the National Freshman Success Institute, NCS is well-positioned to continue championing school teams in creating the necessary conditions for student success across the country.
Be sure to follow @NCSChicago on social media to stay informed about upcoming programs, resources, tools, and organizational updates.