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  • Saturday, May 30, 2020 10:31 AM | Anonymous

    The coronavirus has highlighted how necessary good child care is.

    By Shantel Meek and Conor P. Williams
    Dr. Meek is the founding director of the Children’s Equity Project. Dr. Williams is a fellow at the Century Foundation.

    Suddenly everyone — parents, caregivers, workers, employers, policymakers — is acutely aware of child care’s relationship to American labor markets. The Los Angeles TimesHuffPostThe Washington and have run variations on the headline, “You Can’t Reopen the Economy Without Child Care.”

    It’s a widespread concern because it’s obviously correct. Millions of Americans have been flailing since mid-March, juggling work and kids against a backdrop of growing exhaustion and anxiety.

    Work takes time and energy. So does caring for children. It’s impossible to do both as simultaneous, full-time projects and stay sane. Parents can’t go back to their factories, offices, dealerships or stores until child care programs and the country’s pre-K-12 school system reopen.

    With the economy struggling and the unemployment rate near 15 percent in April, it’s easy to fixate on how child care enables parents’ jobs. But child care isn’t just a place where children exist while their parents go to work. It’s a place where they can learn, develop and grow.

    That’s why the current clamor about child care’s role in restarting the American economy shouldn’t focus exclusively on restoring access. As families and their children come out of the stress of prolonged social isolation, the country must also improve child care quality.

    Children under the age of 5 spend an average of 28 hours a week in the care of a non-family member. During this time, their brains are growing rapidly: the human brain reaches 80 percent of its size by age 3, and 90 percent by age 5. That’s why neuroscientists call this period of development “sensitive” or “malleable”: regularly positive experiences with a trusted, safe and reliable caregiver can have long-term benefits, while constantly negative, neglectful experiences can have long-term consequences. The quality of those 28 hours of child care a week matters as much to children’s development as access matters to parents’ employment.

    Access to affordable, quality child care has long been a challenge in the United States. In most places, even basic health and safety standards are low. Large parts of the care system are unlicensed and unregulated altogether. Child care workers are underpaid, so much so that the median income for a child care provider in every state in the nation is within the eligibility requirements for food assistance.

    Indeed, child care in the United States is a “system” in name only. While recent changes to the federal child care subsidies program, which is supposed to help working families get quality care, have raised standards somewhat, the program lacks enough funding to meet families’ needs — even with the emergency injection of $3.5 billion under the CARES Act.

    Today, it is estimated that more than half of the child care system is still shut down because of the pandemic. When children do finally return to child care, their needs won’t be the same. As parents like us trudge back to our jobs, most of our kids will be carrying pandemic-related burdens out of their homes. During the pandemic, many have had drastically less social interaction with their peers and faced economic precarity and food and housing insecurity. Some will struggle to navigate fears and emotions about leaving their homes and spending time with others after months of being warned against it.

    Child care workers’ jobs were hard before. These challenges will make them harder.

    In the short term, Congress needs to move more funding directly into the pockets of child care providers to keep the lights on, retain staff members and purchase critical cleaning and personal protective equipment. Most federal spending on child care is in the form of subsidies that go directly to families. Those dollars won’t reach struggling child care programs until families resume using child care.

    Child care programs must also prioritize children’s mental health as the crisis recedes. Congress should provide greater funding for mental health supports in child care programs. This funding would enable child care providers to hire mental health coaches to help address children’s complex needs; conduct universal developmental and behavioral screenings to identify children who need more and targeted help ; buy social emotional learning curriculums and interventions; provide training on managing stress, trauma, loss, anxiety and challenging behavior in young children; and hire family navigators who can assess families’ needs and connect them to services in the community — like housing or job support.

    The country should make similar investments in supporting child care workers’ mental health. These providers, like many Americans, will transition back to work carrying stress, anxiety and other challenges. These may be worsened as they address — and absorb — the trauma many children bring to their child care centers.

    Beyond the immediate emergency, the child care system in the United States needs more funding — much more. That’s Congress’s job, but states also have a role in deciding how much money families can use through their child care subsidies. States need to raise these subsidy rates so that providers have access to a living wage and benefits. States also receive federal funding to raise child care quality. They should invest this money in meaningful enhancements, like helping providers get higher levels of education or bolstering the child care mental health infrastructure, and stop investing in things that don’t work, like occasional training workshops.

    Fortunately, all of these criteria are already required in Head Start, the federal early education program that operates in nearly every community in the nation. Congress can improve the quality of child care by expanding the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships model, a Department of Health and Human Services program that requires partnerships between Early Head Start and child care programs. Through this approach, child care partners agree — and receive the needed resources — to meet rigorous Head Start standards, which include access to mental health coaches, research-based curriculum, universal screening and family engagement.

    The Covid-19 crisis has crystallized the fact that child care programs are essential to our way of life. But any infusion of resources now or in the future must be linked to a focus on supporting children’s mental health, development and learning, raising standards and tightening accountability at both the federal and state levels.

    Child care shouldn’t mean children roaming around while a babysitter sits idly by. It’s where children’s brains grow. We need to treat it as such. Yes, child care is about parents getting back to work. But, odd as it seems to have to reiterate, child care should also be about children.

    Read the original NYT article here.

  • Saturday, May 30, 2020 9:43 AM | Anonymous
    Download the original PDF here.

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2020 9:19 AM | Anonymous

    Chef José Andrés, perhaps best known now for his humanitarian work worldwide, joined actor Sean Penn and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot at a new coronavirus testing site on the Northwest Side on Monday.

    World Central Kitchen, the non-profit founded by Andrés, will help provide meals for workers at new testing sites in the Hanson Park and Little Village neighborhoods. The chef created the non-governmental organization in response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake. He emerged as an outspoken leader during disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017.

    The chef, restaurateur, author, television host and 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee described himself simply when asked.

    “I’m a cook,” said Andrés. “People call you weird names like ‘celebrity bull****’ and all that stuff. I am what I do. I’m a cook.”

    Chef Jose Andres (stars and stripes bandana) and his team from World Central Kitchen deliver prepared meals to Norwegian American Hospital in Chicago on Monday, May 18, 2020, to support front line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.(Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)

    During a busy day crisscrossing the city, he spoke by phone while visiting Gibsons Italia, a World Central Kitchen partner, en route to Barrio restaurant on the Near North Side, before dropping off meals at Norwegian American Hospital in Humboldt Park.

    “We’ve been here over a month helping like we do everywhere else,” said Andrés. “We have more than 15 restaurants in Chicago that have been doing around 100,000 meals per week now. Today we delivered food in Englewood at the Montessori school there where we were serving food with the help of The Trotter Project and chef D’Andre.”

    Andrés made an impromptu stop at The Montessori School of Englewood on the South Side, surprising chef D’Andre Carter, co-owner of Soul & Smoke barbecue kitchen in Evanston. Carter was delivering meals in partnership with World Central Kitchen and The Trotter Project, a legacy of the late Chicago chef Charlie Trotter.

    The Spanish-American chef, once heralded for modernist fine dining, posted on Twitter: “Reporting in from Englewood in Chicago where we @WCKitchen are distributing fresh meals to the community here with our partner @TrotterProject ! Proud to be working with local chef DeAndre Carter...we are cooks who feed the few but together we can feed the many! #ChefsForAmerica”

    “Chef D’Andre is a guy who spent his young years in Englewood,” said Andrés. “It’s amazing that this chef can put his restaurant to work as he partners with us and serves that community where he came from.”

    World Central Kitchen has purchased more than 1 million meals from local restaurants nationwide for those in need as part of its Chefs for America emergency food relief program.

    Andrés added that World Central Kitchen is also providing meals with Chicago Public Schools daily with local non-profit partners including the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Healthy Hood Chicago and The Trotter Project.

    “In total in America we have over 1,600 restaurants working with us and that’s how we’re able to do 350,000 meals a day across America, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico,” said Andrés.

    “Quite frankly in other emergencies when there is no light and total destruction things are harder, because sometimes you cannot reopen a restaurant,” said Andrés. “They’ve been destroyed in the areas we need to help, but we do open kitchens for other things.”

    “Here the restaurants have been shut down, but they're in perfect condition,” he said. “So what we did is what we always do. We adapt. We have restaurants that we could put into the service of feeding people in need. Why not do that?”

    “At the end of the day what World Central Kitchen has done is prove concepts,” said Andrés. “The concept that we can be talking to Congress over what we should do to make sure that on top of the health crisis and economic crisis that we don’t have a humanitarian crisis.”

    “When we see photos of food being wasted on farms and at the same time long lines at food banks across America, we believe that we need shorter lines and longer tables,” he said. “We need many ways to make sure that we use total resources of the federal government, the private sector and NGOs so that food will not be a problem, but actually the solution.”

    After helping deliver prepared meals to Norwegian American Hospital in Chicago on Monday, chef Jose Andres, second from left, and his team from World Central Kitchen stop for burgers and hot dogs at Fatso's Last Stand.(Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)

    The James Beard Foundation awarded Andrés the Humanitarian of the Year award at the annual gala event in Chicago in 2018.

    The chef had planned to open three restaurants in Chicago by this year. His fast casual and vegetable focused Beefsteak opened in the Gold Coast neighborhood last fall, but has closed temporarily. Two high profile restaurants are still in the works: a location of his famed Jaleo with Spanish tapas at the former Naha space in River North, and a riverfront restaurant with the Gibsons Restaurant Group in The Loop.

    “We’ll open in the next year or two, when the time is right,” said Andrés.

    Andrés joins former Vice President and presidential candidate Joe Biden for a live virtual town hall to discuss the coronavirus crisis, the future of the restaurant industry and the issue of food security amid the pandemic on Tuesday hosted by Yahoo News.

    View the original story:

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2020 9:14 AM | Anonymous

    Artist Rahmaan Statik in front of his mural featuring chef Jose Andres on an exterior wall of the Montessori School of Englewood on May 14, 2020.(Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune)

    Since the pandemic closed schools in Chicago, chefs and nonprofit groups have been making sure children still get a warm meal.

    Now a South Side artist is honoring their efforts with a mural on the red brick wall of the Montessori School of Englewood, which has served as a site for free food pickup for families, nearly 6,000 meals and counting. The mural spotlights Jose Andres, a chef at World Central Kitchen that has helped put together the meals.

    “It’s almost like a time capsule for 2020,” said artist Rahmaan Statik. “This is how people reacted. People actually stood up to actually fight for the survival of their community right there during dire times.”

    In a corner of the mural is the phrase “be your higher self,'' a message that appears often in Statik’s work. His friend Howard Bailey, a former restaurant owner, teamed up with Statik a year ago to turn the phrase into an art movement, inspiring kids to use their creative talents to improve their community.

    A mural featuring chef Jose Andres on the wall of the Montessori School of Englewood painted by Rahmaan Statik.(Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune)

    While their primary focus is promoting the arts, Bailey said he decided to use his culinary background to provide meals to people on the South Side. He began raising money and was contacted by the Montessori school.

    “About a week into it, I got a call from the president of the Montessori school (who) said that they had 32 transitional homeless families that he needed to take care of,” Bailey said.

    Bailey contacted the Trotter Project — named after famed Chicago chef Charlie Trotter — and World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit founded by chef Jose Andres to provide meals to disaster-stricken areas. “It’s been a beautiful ecosystem of people working together to make sure that other people are fed,” Bailey said.

    Artists have been painting murals in the city’s medical district to honor doctors and nurses. So Bailey and Statik decided they wanted to do something to celebrate the workers providing meals to communities in need.

    Statik’s mural, on the side of the school, features Andres holding a bundle of produce. Behind him are people assembling meals like the ones families pick up each day. Above is the signature phrase: “Be your higher self.”

    “Art is any form of creativity and building,” Statik said. “I’m a painter, so that’s my angle of doing art, but chef Andres is also a culinary artist. He uses his culinary arts skills to better society.”

    View original story:

  • Monday, April 20, 2020 1:48 PM | Anonymous

    April 17, 2020 - Face masks are the new normal for kids of essential workers as they walk into South Loop Montessori School. Strict guidelines must be followed, and parents aren’t allowed inside.

    South Loop Montessori School in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood received a license to operate starting this week as an Emergency Child Care Center, or "ECCC," to help families of essential workers.

    It was a relief for Adelaide Caprio, an advanced practice nurse, who is navigating Illinois' stay-at-home order with her two sons, 4 and 6, as she continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic on the front lines.

    “Having them at home was such an eye opening experience of how much I value how awesome our school is and how vital they are in our lives," Caprio said.

    Caring for young children at home, juggling e-learning and work has been stressful for Caprio's family, like so many others. When she found out her sons’ school, South Loop Montessori, would reopen this week as an Emergency Child Care Center, she was thankful.

    “It just has meant a little bit of routine and destress [less stress]," Caprio said. "So that we can keep going with our daily functions that are essential in our lives."

    Face masks are the new normal for kids of essential workers as they walk into the Montessori school. Strict guidelines must be followed, and parents aren’t allowed inside.

    Everyone’s temperatures are taken before they’re allowed in and before they go home.

    South Loop Montessori School Executive Director Mahdi Dadrass said these are necessary precautions, for students and staffers.

    “We provide [staff] all with face masks, individual hand sanitizer and gloves," Dadrass said.

    They dispose of them when they get to school and sanitize all over again.

    Thanks to these types of precautions, some parents now have an option for childcare.

    “They’ve been really grateful, as we are grateful for their service as essential workers on the front line of this pandemic," added Dadrass.

    While parents are grateful to have an option, they also feel this helps those who are back in the classroom.

    “Now that means the teachers at our school can have work and some of their normalcy, a little bit of normalcies," Caprio said. "We look at it that it’s helping us and it's also helping the community.”


    View the original news story here.

  • Friday, April 17, 2020 3:41 PM | Anonymous

    APRIL 9, 2020—The American Montessori Society, the leading member advocacy organization, research forum, and resource collaborative for the global community of Montessori educators, is accepting applications for the position of Executive Director.

    Based in New York City, but with members worldwide, AMS is classified as a 501 (c)(3) (i.e., tax-exempt, nonprofit) organization.

    Download the Executive Position Profile or keep reading for additional details. 

    About the Position

    The next Executive Director of the American Montessori Society will need a hands-on leadership approach to a membership organization with diverse stakeholders and interests. In the wake of COVID-19, we need a leader who will engage members, community, and stakeholders in a vision for our future. Our organization seeks leadership that is both practical and inspirational. The ideal candidate has experience managing a complex not-for-profit organization with a significant budget and has worked successfully with an active governing board. The Executive Director will be expected to engage in travel, including internationally, and to actively engage with members and schools worldwide.

    The Executive Director is appointed by and directly responsible to the Board of Directors and serves as an ex officio, non-voting board member.

    Qualifications, Skills, & Experience

    The Executive Director we are seeking is:

    1. A leader, adept at:
      • Visioning the future of education and the role that Montessori should play both nationally and internationally. 
      • Aligning member priorities and the work of staff and board.
      • Tracking the education landscape in general, and the federal and state legislative aspects of education that will impact Montessori schools, public, charter, and independent.
      • Presenting as the public face of Montessori education.
    2. A manager, skilled in: 
      • Team-building to coordinate the work of staff and board directors, as well as other volunteers. A supportive and enthusiastic leader who encourages the best from their staff and supports and mentors staff advancement and knowledge within the organization and has the ability to regularly review staff through a formal process that acknowledges, supports, and improves their performance. A leader who is also willing to join in and participate in any necessary staff functions.
      • Financial management with a clear understanding of not-for-profit financing, especially for membership-based organizations; budget and projects; the ability to understand and interpret financial statements; and an understanding of the audit process. A manager who can work with finance staff and review financial information with the Finance Committee and the board.
      • Delivery of high-quality services; clearly, efficiently and in a timely fashion.
      • Negotiation to resolve complex issues where the interests of constituent groups diverge.
    3. A connector with exceptional people skills, high EI (emotional intelligence), a penchant for networking, and a facility for connecting within the organization and with other organizations sharing common interests.
    4. An innovator who can help the organization solicit and retain members, deepen services to members and create new opportunities for members to stay connected and involved.
    5. An advocate who will build on networks already in place, lead efforts to protect Montessori interests, and track opportunities emerging in the public and political domain that Montessori can and should capitalize upon or contribute to.
    6. A communicator who reaches out to engage with members in multiple ways, generates enthusiasm, shares a vision, and invites dialogue.  
    7. A planner, skilled in developing and implementing strategic plans in partnership with the Board of Directors that support the mission and values of AMS with value-added programs and services.  


    • Bachelor’s degree required; an advanced degree preferred.
    • At least five years of Executive Director/CEO or equivalent level leadership experience


    The next Executive Director will inherit an organization that has a passionate membership, active working groups and committees, a board of highly experienced Montessori leaders, and a growing consortium of Montessori related organizations. 


    AMS, like many organizations, has suffered financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cancellation of our annual conference (“The Montessori Event”), a major contributor to our annual income, which was to have taken place in March 2020, dealt a strong blow. While still weighing the impact of those losses, we are committed to begin the FYI 2021 fiscal year (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020) with a realistic budget that reflects both the current capacity of the organization and opportunities to enhance future revenue.

    The landscape of education in the United States is in flux. State teacher licensure requirements vary and public, for-profit, and nonprofit Montessori schools are all faced with daunting regulatory demands. The new Executive Director will need to support the efforts at a state and national level to advocate on behalf of Montessori schools and teacher education programs. The Montessori “brand” has been diluted by some schools that call themselves Montessori, but are not. Upholding excellence and standards will be a significant and challenging aspect of work for the new Executive Director. AMS is an inclusive organization, representing schools of varying levels of Montessori excellence, serving a range of socioeconomic populations in different geographic regions worldwide. There is a need for the organization to look at how it is supporting this diversity of membership, its inclusiveness, equity, and quality in its services.

    Knowledge and experience in the education field is required.  Training and/or deep familiarity with Montessori precepts and pedagogy is a strong preference.  Any candidate who is offered the position of Executive Director must be willing to spend time immersing themselves in Montessori if they are not Montessori credentialed.

    To Apply

    Interested candidates are to submit the following documents via email attachments to Maria Pagani, AMS staff liaison to the Search Committee:

    1. Cover letter addressed to the AMS Search Committee expressing interest in and qualifications for the position.
    2. A current résumé.
    3. A statement of the candidate’s leadership philosophy (1 – 2 pages, 12-point Times Roman, double-spaced).  
    4. A statement of the candidate's understanding of anti-bias, anti-racism (ABAR), citing specific examples from their experience (1 – 2 pages, 12-point Times Roman, double-spaced).  
    5. Two examples of writing on a school, association, or education topic.
    6. Five references (including email addresses and telephone numbers) that can be contacted confidentially at the early stage of discovery.
    7. Three letters of reference.

    Applications will be accepted through June 15, 2020. 

    Throughout the search process until the finalist stage, candidates’ engagement with the search will be kept confidential, and candidates will receive bi-weekly updates on their status and the progress of the search.  Candidates are free to communicate directly with Maria Pagani.

    Equal Opportunity Employer

    Equal employment opportunities and diversity among its employees are fundamental principles at the American Montessori Society.

    The American Montessori Society is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, veteran status, genetic information, family responsibility, political affiliation or any other status protected by applicable laws.

    Click here to see the posting on the AMS webite.

  • Friday, April 17, 2020 3:35 PM | Anonymous

    World Central Kitchen Ramps Up COVID-19 Relief Efforts In Chicago By Teaming Up with Charlie Trotter's Non-Profit The Trotter Project and Chefs Across The City To Feed Hard-Hit Families

    CHICAGO (PRWEB) April 15, 2020

    World Central Kitchen (WCK) today announced it is working with legendary Chicago chef Charlie Trotter's non-profit, The Trotter Project (, and chefs from across the city, including Food Network's Vegas Chef Prizefight winner Lamar Moore, The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, DineAmic Hospitality's chefs Fabio Viviani and Katsuji Tanabe, Michelin-starred chef Carlos Gaytan of Tzuco restaurant, Feast and Imbibe's D'Andre Carter and Heather Bublick, and more to feed families in Chicago's hard-hit communities while also helping to keep restaurant workers employed. Within days of its launch just this week, the collaborative partnership has distributed nearly 2,000 individually packed grab-and-go meals to families in Chicago's hard-hit Englewood neighborhood.

    Chef José Andrés – the world-renowned chef and humanitarian – founded the non-profit World Central Kitchen ( in 2010 that's devoted to providing meals to those in need in the wake of natural disasters.

    "This initiative continues World Central Kitchen's deeply impactful humanitarian efforts, right here in Chicago," said The Trotter Project CEO Derrek Hull. "It's a natural fit for Chef José Andrés' World Central Kitchen to partner with the city's iconic hometown chef Charlie Trotter's non-profit, The Trotter Project, Chicago's incredible chef community, and allied companies and organizations, to support restaurant workers while also ensuring food insecure populations receive the food they so desperately need during this very difficult time."

    With schools closed and so much uncertainty in the coming weeks and months, World Central Kitchen has increased its relief efforts during the global coronavirus outbreak and is working in tandem with The Trotter Project and Chicago's chef community to ensure young people and their families can access free meals in a safe way.

    " The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the existing reality of a lack of adequate healthy food for many neighborhoods in Chicago, including West Englewood, where children are chronically hungry" said Thom Hale, board of directors president of The Montessori School of Englewood. "The Montessori School of Englewood and community are thrilled and deeply grateful that World Central Kitchen and The Trotter Project are supplying hot, healthy meals to the students, families and other residents in Englewood. It's a profound acknowledgment and response to a critical unmet need. Families can now be better supported and sustained while the schools are closed and the directive to stay home exists."

    Together with WCK, The Trotter Project and Chicago's chef community will continue to provide thousands of meals each day to families in need, having already begun with The Montessori School of Englewood, in Chicago's West Englewood community. Families will be able to pick up meals from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at the school.

    About The Trotter Project

    Award-winning Chef Charlie Trotter's spirit of giving back to community lives on through The Trotter Project (TTP) — a GuideStar Platinum-rated 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established on his guiding principles of excellence and service. Since its founding, TTP seeks to unite budding talent interested in the culinary and hospitality industries through its Pillars of Excellence Program, which is designed to educate, engage, and ignite curiosity through farm to classroom curriculum, skills sessions, scholarships, and community service. Learn more at

    About The Montessori School of Englewood

    The Montessori School of Englewood (MSE) is a Chicago Public Charter Elementary School located in the West Englewood Community at 6936 South Hermitage Ave. Since opening its doors in 2012, it now proudly educates more than 380 students in grades K-8 as well as Head Start. The school offers an alternative curricular approach to serve the diverse ethnic, socioeconomic, language, and educational backgrounds of students entering elementary school. MSE is an open enrollment, free public charter school for students living with the Chicago city limits. Learn more at

    Click here for the original version on PRWeb.

  • Monday, March 30, 2020 7:42 PM | Anonymous
    To download the flyer, click the following link: Cannabis Flyer-Bilingual.pdf

  • Thursday, March 19, 2020 8:51 AM | Anonymous
  • Thursday, June 20, 2019 6:54 PM | Anonymous

    Full Article:

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury today issued final rules and additional guidance on the federal income tax treatment of payments made under state and local tax credit programs.  The regulations prevent charitable contributions made in exchange for state tax credits from circumventing the new limitation on state and local tax deductions.