Kids First Chicago


In August of 2018,  our organization shifted our name from New Schools for Chicago to Kids First Chicago. The media and press listed below include those published prior to our organizational name change. To learn more about our history, please visit History.



mAY 22, 2019



November 14, 2018



October 23, 2018



August 23, 2018




August 9, 2018

Collaboration meets transformation

Although Sean Schindl, Director of Community Engagement at Kids First Chicago, considers this accomplishment the result of “what can happen when we collectively raise our voices about an issue,” he also considers it a “stepping stone to greater victories down the line. So in order to achieve more successes through the QLP, we’ll have to coordinate our community efforts in a similar way.”

When Enrollment Is Declining, Let Communities Decide Next Steps for Schools

When neighborhoods work together to find ways to boost local schools’ enrollments, their solutions are more likely to involve institutions beyond education. That’s the kind of thinking we’ll need to solve the problem. Communities and kids are stronger when all the players work together on solutions.

Chicago, Illinois in Eight Cities

The district’s adoption of universal enrollment for high school students was heavily supported and influenced by Kids First Chicago, channeling parents’ wishes into advocacy and, eventually, district-level policy. Daniel Anello works to turn community and parental input into action for better education outcomes. “[We] don’t make a recommendation from our parents [to CPS] without being ready to roll up our sleeves and dive in,” he says

A closer look at Kids First Chicago, the group behind a report sparking debate

“We’re really a different kind of organization now,”  said Anello. “We’re pro-quality first and foremost — that includes high-quality charter schools like it includes high-quality traditional schools.”

Here’s How Daniel Anello and Kids First Chicago Put Families in the Position to Succeed

In all my years of working to bring better school choices to families on Chicago’s South and West Sides, it’s always blown my mind that people don’t take the time to listen to what these families have to say about their own kid’s education. Well, one guy who understands the importance of it is Daniel Anello. Daniel is the CEO of Kids First Chicago, a local nonprofit that works with families to get the best education possible. I talked with him recently about that work and his path toward education advocacy. 

-Tanesha Peeples, Deputy Director of Outreach, Education Post



With No Selective-Enrollment Elementary Schools On The West Side, One School Is Working To Give Gifted Local Kids A Place To Thrive
Block Club, August 2019

Unlikely education allies press Mayor Lori Lightfoot to reform Chicago school funding
Chalkbeat, July 2019

GoCPS easy to learn, but new application process needs work: study
Chicago Sun-Times, May 2019

South Side students stuck with longest school commutes, study shows
Chicago Sun-Times, March 2019

Good news for some schools in $32 million push, but questions surface about whether process is fair
Chalkbeat, March 2019

These 32 Chicago schools to split $32 million for new STEM, arts, and International Baccalaureate programs
Chalkbeat, March 2019

Letter to the Editor: Austin students need more options for school
Austin Talks, March 2019

Chicago says nearly half of its schools are under-enrolled, but critics challenge district formula
Chalkbeat, January 2019


Michele Clark High School petitions for IB program
Austin Talks, December 2018

In Chicago, not everyone agrees with the grassroots call for an elected school board
Chalkbeat, December 2018

Controversial school inventory report starts to surface in Chicago decision making
Chalkbeat, December 2018

Chicago schools to expand IB programs in local schools in wake of critical report
Chalkbeat, September 2018

New CPS Analysis Shows Where Schools Prosper — And Where They Don’t
WBEZ, September 2018

CPS analysis shows 150,000 seats unfilled; black and Latino students have less access to top programs
Chicago Tribune, September 2018

5 tough questions a new report puts front-and-center for Chicago’s next mayor
Chalkbeat, September 2018

Mayor Emanuel and CPS Launch Visionary Process to Create ‘IB Neighborhoods’ and Expand Proven Academic Programs
Chicago Public Schools, September 2018

Here’s a Closer Look at Kids First Chicago, the Group Behind a Report Sparking Debate
Chalkbeat, August 2018

Chicago is a tale of two cities, no matter what Rahm might say
Chicago Sun-Times, August 2018

Secret CPS Report Spotlights Big Vacancies, Lopsided Options for Students
Chalkbeat, August 2018

Parents Know the Answers, We Just Have to Listen to Them Education Post, February 2018



Enough With the Negative Reporting on Chicago Public Schools
Crain’s Chicago Business, December 2017

Chicago’s Schools Are ‘Pretty Good,’ But That’s Not Good Enough
Education Post, September 2017

We need to talk about race, even in the North Country
The Sun, September 2017

Why the NAACP Should Look Beyond Misleading Narratives & Work With Charters to Lift Up Black Students
The 74 Million, August 2017

1 of 4 African-American students stuck in subpar schools: Report
Chicago Sun-TimesJuly 2017

Kids First Chicago hosts On the Table Event
Chicago Defender, May 2017

Single Application For Families Comes to CPS High Schools
Chicago Defender, May 2017

CPS Aims to Simplify High School Applications With New ‘GoCPS’ Model
WTTW Chicago, April 2017

Stop Playing Political Games with our Schools
State Journal Registrar, April 2017

Fact vs. Fiction: The True Story on Academic Achievement at Chicago Public Schools
Medium, April 2017

How Some Chicagoans Are Unlocking the 'School Choice' Puzzle
Ed Surge, January 2017


Parents, Students Navigate CPS Enrollment Process
Austin Talks, December 2016

Having so Many School Choices Stressful for Chicago Parents
Chicago Sun-Times, December 2016

Nonprofit Puts School Choice into Parents' Hands
Austin Weekly News, December 2016