February 2024 Partner Plan Act Newsletter

February 6, 2024

“History is not the past, it is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.”

-James Balwin 

Community Systems Statewide Support (CS3) Update

Introducing Yolanda Ortiz, New Program Manager  

The CS3 team is excited to announce our new Project Manager Yolanda Ortiz joined the team on January 29, 2024!  

Yolanda is a passionate educator and community advocate who proudly calls the Northwest side of Chicago her home. Yolanda’s diverse background includes working in both Head Start as a parent program coordinator and in Chicago Public Schools as a teacher where she has been deeply committed to shaping young minds and fostering community engagement. With her degree in Early Childhood Education and a Professional Educator License (PEL), she embarked on her educational journey alongside her mother, a fellow teacher in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Education is more than a career for Yolanda – it’s a family legacy.  

Yolanda’s experiences in the early childhood classroom and parent engagement, make her an incredible addition to the CS3 team. In her new position as project manager, Yolanda is excited to continue her passion for making a positive impact in the early childhood system.  

In her downtime, Yolanda finds joy in the company of her beloved dog Milo and cherished moments spent with family and friends.  

Save the Date! Partner Plan Act Conference 2024 | May 7-8 

The theme of this year’s virtual conference is Equity from the Start: Strengthening Relationships for Systems Change. Planning is underway as applications have closed for session presenters and the Advisory Committee will begin meeting monthly to plan for the conference. 

Stay tuned for more information and announcements! 

Upcoming CS3 Trainings

Community Data Engagement Training – Part 2 | 3/7, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

As an extension of CS3’s four-part Data Literacy modules, this interactive workshop series will continue to support community collaborations in their data engagement efforts. The workshop will take place on Thursday, March 7 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. 

The workshop will take a deeper look at collecting and contextualizing data. This workshop prompts collaboration leaders to engage strategies that center family voices in the collection and methodology of gathering data and creating effective solutions.  

This series will be facilitated by CS3 trainers Jaclyn Vasquez and Rebecca Halperin:  

For questions, contact CS3 Project Manager Yolanda Ortiz. Click here to register.  

After registering, a calendar hold will be sent to you. Please do not distribute the calendar invite as space is limited for trainings. Instead, please encourage and direct folks to the registration forms for the trainings.   


On-Demand Consultation 

On-Demand Consultation is a support for early childhood collaborations tackling a specific, short-term issue. Collaborations are paired with a consultant based on the need and collaborations can receive up to 20 hours of consultation. Below are some topics that collaborations can receive support around: 

  • Governance 
  • Data 
  • Equity 
  • Systems thinking 
  • Family engagement 

To see the complete list of topic areas, learn more, and request this support, complete the form here

Partner Plan Act is a digital newsletter from Illinois Action for Children’s Community Systems Statewide Supports (CS3) Team. It includes the latest information, strategies, and resources to aid you in your early childhood community systems development efforts. Our team includes: Deb Hwang, Program Manager; Hannah Miro, Community Impact Data & Knowledge Manager; Brittain Ayres, Director of  CS3; Ruby Flores, Training & Coaching Manager; and Janet Vargas, Community Systems Development Trainer & Coach.
Printing Support 

The CS3 team is excited to offer new support in partnership with American Color Labs for printing services. If your collaboration has marketing materials that you’d like to have printed, please complete this Request for Support form.  

The printing support can include flyers, annual reports, marketing collateral, stickers, banners, posters, and more. Please reach out to our team if you have questions about this support. For questions, please contact the CS3 team.  

Online Modules 

In addition to our trainings, CS3 offers several online modules on the Partner Plan Act website that allow participants to learn on their own pace. To access the modules, sign up for an On-Demand learning account. This month we are highlighting our parent engagement module: 

Early Childhood Collaboration Parent Engagement Course 

Parent engagement is an integral component of community systems works. These modules were created to provide Illinois’ early childhood collaborations and early childhood stakeholders in general with the knowledge, resources, and tools to deepen their parent engagement practices. Users can adapt the resources offered in this course to meet the unique needs of their collaboration and community to: 

  • Deepen their understanding of parent engagement.  
  • Draft a shared understanding of parent engagement and the core beliefs that will guide their collaboration’s efforts. 
  • Examine the four parent engagement roles in the Community Systems and Policy level and learn how to strengthen partnerships with parents. 
  • Develop a plan for engaging parents at their collaboration.