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Upcoming Broadcast - 70 Acres in Chicago: Cabrini Green on WTTW Tonight at 8PM - Click HERE for more information

Jan 3rd UPCOMING Broadcast! 70 Acres in Chicago: Cabrini Green

Help CPS Principal Rob Croston

Please help CPS Principal Robert Croston overcome Marfan Syndrome, a disorder that has resulted in Rob undergoing multiple heart surgeries and more than 9 weeks in the hospital since September. Marfan Syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the body's connective tissue resulting in potentially life-threatening complications of heart and aorta function.  Because of Rob’s health, neither he nor his wife Sheena, a CPS school counselor, have been able to work this school year.  

Click on the link below to read more and contribute to the GoFundMe campaign.

By David Matthews | November 1, 2016 6:11am
CHICAGO — A merger of Ogden International School and Jenner Academy of the Arts is best for both schools, according to a consultant's new report. Principal Robert Croston talking to a student at Jenner Academy of the Arts. Some parents have been pushing for Jenner to merge with nearby Ogden International School for more than year.
To read the full story click HERE.

Mayor Emanuel’s Industrial Corridor Modernization initiative community outreach continues this month, with a public review meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 10 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at UI Labs, 1415 N. Cherry St.

City staff will present an update on the North Branch Industrial Corridor modernization initiative. Following the meeting, the presentation will be posted on DPD’s website.

Additionally, a Community Outreach Update is currently available on the website. 

An RSVP is required for this meeting due to facility requirements, and we ask that each organization send just one or two representatives to the meeting so that we may accommodate as many individuals as possible. 

Please RSVP at this link:

Should you have any questions, contact DPD at

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and its partners are developing a new comprehensive regional plan – called ON TO 2050 – and CMAP needs the perspective of the Near North Unity Program (NNUP) on how our region should look in 2050.

Share your ideas, and Visit:

Help Seward Park Get Information Kiosks To Spread The Word About Events

By Mina Bloom | June 28, 2016 5:44am

An example of information kiosk.

NEAR NORTH SIDE — The Seward Park Advisory Council is seeking donations to buy the park some much-needed information kiosks.

Currently, Seward Park, 375 W. Elm St., doesn't have any outdoor information kiosks, which are essentially enclosed bulletin boards where flyers about neighborhood events, programs and meetings are posted.

The advisory council is looking to raise a total of $2,640 to buy two of them for the park.

Those who would like to donate can do so by visiting the advisory council's online campaign.

For the complete article on DNAinfo  click HERE

How A Cabrini-Green School Went From 'Out Of Control' To Feeling Like Home

DNAinfo   By Mina Bloom | May 23, 2016 5:55am 

Principal Robert Croston talking to a student at Jenner Elementary.

DNA/Mina Bloom

NEAR NORTH SIDE — When 13-year-old Ashanti Haywood reflects on her early years at Jenner Elementary, one memory sticks out.

She distinctly remembers an after-school program that turned ugly when a couple of gang members busted into the school and hit one of the school's longtime teachers.

As Ashanti describes it, "Everyone was fighting in the street. The gang members were [running] around upstairs. Nobody knew where the principal was at."

"It was shocking that they would even come to our school to do that," said Ashanti, who described the school as "out of control."

Now an eighth-grader, Ashanti said there's no way any of that would happen today. 


NNUP April 25, 2016 Monthly Meeting Minutes

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May 2016 Advisory Board Meeting  Minutes

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NNUP Advisory Board Meeting Minutes

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By Mina Bloom | May 6, 2016 6:15am 

NEAR NORTH SIDE — The schools on the Near North Side are so different from block to block that students at one school sometimes feel like students at a neighboring school are "living in another country," according to Michele Dreczynski, youth and family committee chairwoman for the Near North Unity Program.

Want to read more of the story? visit

Click HERE or on the Image below to order tickets

'Coffee with the Commander'

Commander Devereux 18th District, answering community member questions on Monday, 3/16 at Eva's Cafe on Sedgwick St.

Continued Trends In Near North Schools

In our final article from our four part series about continued trends in Near North Schools we report on the area’s Neighborhood High School options. The Near North has two Charter High Schools, two Private High Schools, two traditional CPS Neighborhood High Schools and one CPS Selective Enrollment High School. In this article we will look at some trends and statistics from our local CPS Neighborhood High Schools.  These High Schools are Lincoln Park High School at 2001 N. Orchard and Wells High School at 936 N. Ashland. Like the CPS elementary schools in the area, local CPS High Schools also have a legacy that is tied to the former Cabrini Green housing projects.  Historically, students living in the attendance boundary from Manierre would attend Lincoln Park High School and many students from Jenner would be in the attendance area for Wells High School.

To continue reading this article: Down Load Here

Near North Data Journalism Survey Results


 The main challenges to Near North public schools continue to be based on race and lack of access to quality schools in the area. That’s one of the main findings from a CoNNect survey as part of our series of articles about CPS elementary schools in the Near North community.

In the first two articles we reported about disparities in school choice in our community. Readers learned about the differing student makeup and performance of nearby CPS neighborhood schools. The number of students is down sharply at Near North's two public elementary schools, and more than half of the children in the neighborhood choose another CPS school—far below the citywide average. There has been an extreme racial and performance divide between schools based on whether or not the a school had been associated with the former Cabrini Green.

A survey at the end of the second article found that readers were largely unaware of at least some of these circumstances—91% of those who responded said they learned something new in the articles.

 However, the news about a proposed merger between local Jenner Elementary and nearby Ogden elementary was well-known. Of those who responded to the survey, 89% said they had heard of the community-led proposed merger.

 Finally, readers responded to a question about the main challenges facing the Near North Public Schools.

Main Challenges Facing Near North Public Schools

(Top three responses – equal mention)

  1. Racial Segregation that leads to differing levels of schools in the local area
  2. Lack of available K-8 seats in high performing elementary CPS schools in the area
  3. Too many resources shifted to Selective Enrollment Schools in the area

 The Near North Unity Program’s Youth and Family Committee will continue to follow the education story about our local CPS schools. Look on the portal for updates to the proposed Ogden-Jenner merger and upcoming articles on education.

Chicago's Most Famous Mural Painted Over, Community Devastated

Mina Bloom for DNAinfo, Dec 17, 2015

Read more about the community's long battle to keep historic William Walker mural in the Near North.

Jenner Principal Among This Year's Near North Community Award Recipients

By Mina Bloom | | December 15, 2015

Jenner Principal Robert E. Croston at the awards ceremony.

Courtesy/Gordon Walek

NEAR NORTH SIDE - The principal at Jenner Elementary Academy of the Arts was one of four community leaders to win this year's advocacy awards from the Near North Unity Program (NNUP) .  Principal Robert E. Croston was awarded for his leadership at Jenner, 1119 N. Cleveland Ave., and under-enrolled school that draws students mostly from the Cabrini-Green housing projects.

Croston, who made headlines this fall for being one of the driving forces behind a plan to merge with Ogden International School's overcrowded elementary school, 24 W. Walton St., said he was "very overwhelmed: when he wond the award which he considers a "mandate."

Click HERE to Read More of the article from DNAinfo

Continued Trends and Near North Schools

Eric Young Smith

Part Two in Our Neighborhood Schools Series: Changing demographics and a growing demand for good CPS schools in Near North are out of sync with current attendence at the community's elementary schools for residents of all races. Read More

Near North Has Changed: Local CPS Schools Have Not

The number of students is down sharply at Near North's two public elementary schools, and more than half of the children in the neighborhood choose another CPS school--far below the citywide average. Read Our Analysis

Principal Robert E. Croston addressing residents at the Near North Unity Program meeting Tuesday evening. Mina Bloom/DNAinfo

Mina Bloom/DNAinfo

 NEAR NORTH SIDE - Jenner Elemenatry Principa Robert E. Croston made an impassioned plea tosave his school at a community meeting this week to discuss the potential merger with overcrowded Ogden International School.

Croston choked up while talking about what will happen to his underenrolled school if it doesn't merge with Ogden.

Despite the fact that Chicago Public Schools is operating under a five year-moratorium on school closures that took effect after the 50 school closures in 2013, Croston seemed worried about Jenner's uncertain future.

"I'm speaking from my heart.  I can't do anything else...We have 240 students right now. [Our] school last year was projected to have 207 students," he said, beginning to cry.  "That's how we lost our $310,000.  So if we don't increase enrollment, how can we convince the board to keep the school open?"


The Merger of a Gold Coast School and a Cabrini-Green School Could be Good for Both

The evidence suggests that desegregation results in substantial, tangible benefits for black students-and intangible ones for white students.


The Ogden International school in Chicago's Gold Coast

PHOTO: Heather Charles/Chicago Tribune

Click HERE to read the article

Next NNUP Monthly Meeting

**Monday, May 22nd

Enjoy Memorial Day  5/29**

Upcoming events

Jun 24 Coffee with the Commander
9:30–10:30 am
Jun 26 NNUP Monthly Community Meeting
6–7:30 pm
Jul 31 NNUP Monthly Community Meeting
6–7:30 pm
Aug 28 NNUP Monthly Community Meeting
6–7:30 pm
Sep 3 NNUP Monthly Community Meeting
6–7:30 pm
Oct 30 NNUP Monthly Community Meeting
6–7:30 pm

More events »

Featured Listings

American Tango Institute Cultural Center
314 E. Institute Pl
Chicago, IL 60610
Cornerstone Counseling Center of ChicagoCornerstone Counseling Center of Chicago
1111 North Wells, Suite 400
Chicago 60610
Immaculate Conception Church
1431 N. Northpark Ave
Chicago, IL 60610

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