Monday, June 9, 2014

The primary role of the School Planning Coordinator is to work directly with school and community members to design, install, and support the ongoing use of redesigned schoolyards through Space to Grow: Greening Chicago’s Schoolyards. Space to Grow, a program managed by Openlands and Healthy Schools Campaign, is transforming Chicago schoolyards into green spaces that address the city’s storm water management and basement flooding needs while providing students, their families and the broader community with opportunities for active play, and space for physical education, outdoor learning, gardening, environmental education and art.

Essential Functions

  • Organize, coordinate and facilitate the school community design process at Space to Grow schools, working with the planning team, consultants and partners.
  • Document school and community feedback at every meeting (text and photos)
  • Facilitate small and large group meetings to encourage dialogue, achieve consensus and share goals
  • Develop presentation and meeting materials
  • Represent school community at meetings at which they are not present
  • Participate in review of construction document review for each school
  • Maintain relationships and engage with a variety of community-based groups relevant to each school
  • Recruit for and assists with classes, work days, and events
  • Assist distribution of applications for Space to Grow participants, including site visits
  • Photo documentation of schoolyard construction process
  • Maintain relationships with a variety of community-based groups
  • Support the ongoing use of the schoolyards that includes long-term schoolyard sustainability plan
  • Other duties as assigned
  • Reports to Openlands’ education director

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Bachelors or associate degree preferred
  • Excellent facilitation and negotiation skills
  • Ability to build trust and groups for a common goal
  • Familiarity with school community dynamics
  • Excellent organization skills
  • Spanish speaking a plus
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office
  • Knowledge of Chicago, valid driver’s license and reliable transportation is required.
  • Must be able to lift approximately 50 lbs. and work outside in gardens for long periods of time in various weather conditions


Salary range is market competitive. Benefits include health, life, and disability coverage, a 403(b) retirement plan, paid holidays and vacation time.

To Apply

Interested applicants should upload a cover letter, resume, at least three references and answer three questions

Openlands is an equal opportunity employer.

Position start date anticipated to be mid-August to early September.

More about Space to Grow

Space to Grow is an innovative partnership to transform Chicago schoolyards into dynamic spaces that provide students, their families and the broader community with the opportunity for active play, physical education, opportunities for outdoor learning, gardening and environmental literacy and engagement with art. These green schoolyards will have the added benefit of reconnecting communities with their local public schools, providing much-needed green space in heavily urbanized neighborhoods and significantly contributing to a reduction in storm-water runoff across the city. The first four schoolyards will be built in the summer of 2014.

Space to Grow is a multi-sector, public-private partnership. Openlands and HSC are the project’s managing partners, and Space to Grow has the active involvement and leadership of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and the Chicago Department of Water Management (DOWM). Other partners including city agencies, nonprofit partners, key civic and business leaders and content experts, are involved in providing a range of resources and expertise to the project.

About Openlands

Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives. Openlands’ vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree-lined streets, and intimate public gardens within easy reach of every city dweller. It also includes parks and preserves big enough to provide natural habitat and to give visitors a sense of the vast prairies, woodlands, and wetlands that were here before the cities. In sum, Openlands believes that protected open space is critical for the quality of life of our region.

About Healthy Schools Campaign

HSC is a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies and programs that support schools in creating the conditions of health for all students. HSC’s key strategies are to empower school stakeholders to be agents of change at the school and district levels, advocate for district, state and federal policies and build the capacity of schools, school districts and educational agencies to better support student health.