Chicago Tech Awarded $1,200 Grant for Community and Family Engagement

Director of School Culture and Climate, Ms. Tiara Wheatley, was awarded this grant on behalf of the school.


AUSTIN, TX, June 15, 2017 /24-7PressRelease/ — LivingTree today announced that it has awarded $500,000 in third round Drako Community and Family Engagement Grants for Schools to districts and campuses throughout the United States. A diverse set of PK- 12 school communities representing 27 different states and 80 different districts with varying socio-economic needs were awarded the Drako Grants.

The third round awards bring the total amount awarded to just over $1 million and complete the Drako Grant opportunity announced in April 2017. The grants provide a private, secure LivingTree Tiered Social Network — including all engagement features, SIS integration, setup, upkeep, training, and support — at no cost for one year.

“We’re excited by the number of applicants seeking to change the way families are engaged in their communities,” said Dean Drako, grant benefactor and LivingTree Chairman. “It’s an honor to be part of improving student achievement by working with these committed and passionate educators.”

LivingTree is excited to share the third round recipients.

Third Round Grant Award Recipients Include:

Jefferson Parish Public School System – Harvey, LA
Sheldon ISD – Houston, TX
Sumter County Schools – Americus, GA
Narbonne High School – Los Angeles, CA
George Washington HS – Danville, VA
Hazel Crest School District 152.5 – Hazel Crest, IL
PS 114X Luis Llorens Torres Children’s Academy – New York, NY
Monte Alto ISD – Monte Alto, TX
Harding Middle School – Des Moines, IA
Crosspointe Elementary – Boynton Beach, FL
PS1X -The Courtlandt School – Bronx, NY
The Varnett Public Charter School – Houston, TX
Brentwood Middle School – Greeley, CO
Jersey City Community Charter School – Jersey City, NJ
Noel Community Arts School – Denver, CO
Margaret G. Scotten Elementary – Grass Valley, CA
Hilliard A Willbanks Middle School – Demorest, GA
Highland View Elementary – Bristol, VA
Blessed Sacrament Catholic School – Denver, CO
Bay Springs Elementary – Bay Springs, MS
Cornerstone Schools – Jacksonville, FL
Antioch Unified School District – Antioch, CA
North Main Street School – Pleasantville, NJ
Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia – Wynnewood, PA
Carrizo Springs Junior High – Carrizo Spgs, TX
Luke Catholic Elementary School – Stockton, CA
Dillon Christian School – Dillon, SC
Chicago Tech High School – Chicago, IL
Rockdale Academy – Cincinnati, OH
Cardinal Ohara HS – Tonawanda, NY
Robert F. Munroe Day School – Quincy, FL
Wallingford Family YMCA – Wallingford, CT
Nash Primary School – Weymouth, MA
John School – San Francisco, CA
Walker Memorial Academy – Avond Park, FL
Bridgeport Elementary – Bridgeport, AL
District 75 – Manhattan School for Career Development – New York, NY
Mary of Carmel Catholic School – Dallas, TX
Nespelem School – Nespelem, WA
Harvest Christian Academy – Wilmington, DE
Edward Catholic School – Minneota, MN
Passport Achievement Learning Center – South Holland, IL

“The Grant program has been a joy to share,” said Joni Carswell, CEO of LivingTree. “At LivingTree, we’re inspired by the passion and commitment shown by educators in sharing their desire to partner with families and communities for better student outcomes.”

Third Round Award Recipients Share Engagement Goals

Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia, Rachel Mazurek, Director of Communications and Community Relations:
“We believe that if we had a more accessible means of communicating with our parent body, it could improve our school tremendously. Parent contact is of utmost importance and there are so many ways Living Tree would help us expand and engage our parent body. We believe parents would become more active partners in their children’s education if they had more means of communication and had a greater knowledge of what actually happens in school. Also, we would use it to connect parents to one another and help parents get to know the other parents in their children’s classes and more broadly in the school, creating a better sense of community.”

Encinal Elementary, Menlo Park City School District, Jennifer Kollman, Principal: “We have a huge need to directly increase the level of parent engagement for our English Learner families. We have set an audacious goal to reduce the number of LTELS in our district to zero in four years. We would be able to use Living Tree to completely engage our EL families in understanding and helping them to navigate the complexities of school, opportunities, announcements, etc. in their own language.”

Jefferson Parish Public School System, Christie Gomez, Director of Community Engagement:
“We will use LivingTree as a singular stop for district and school information. Making the effort to involve all parents by reaching out to them in their native languages and letting them know that we want them to participate will be amazing. Many of the families in our district choose not to use Facebook because it is public, so it’s difficult to engage those parents. LivingTree being private can eliminate some of their privacy concerns making them reachable in an informational as well as social context with two way dialogue.”

Sheldon ISD, Dr. Brenda Dearmon, Director of Federal Programs and Grants:
“LivingTree will be used to offer a communication tool that will inform parents, family, and community members of programs and events. This will produce positive results, especially for campuses at the secondary level, which are a huge challenge for Sheldon ISD. We will also utilize LivingTree to facilitate a two-way dialogue between parent and school that will assist in establishing effective family – school partnerships.”

Wallingford Family YMCA, Cassandra Allen, Youth Support Specialist:
“With LivingTree we would be able to connect all of our families to not just the program and the staff that they see every day, but with the YMCA as a whole. With greater parent involvement, we would be able to make these programs even better and would be able to showcase exactly what the YMCA does each and every day.”

About the Drako Community and Family Engagement Grant
The Drako Community and Family Engagement Grant for Schools awards schools and districts with a private, secure LivingTree Tiered Social Network — including all engagement features, SIS integration, setup, upkeep, training, and support — at no cost for one year. School grant recipients are those with a stated plan and need for using technology to engage families and communities. Eligible schools include accredited private and public schools in the United States: pre-schools, elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.

About LivingTree – Founded in 2012, LivingTree’s mission is to connect the people who raise, develop, and educate our children. LivingTree aims to include every member of the community regardless of preferred language or socio-economic status. LivingTree’s Tiered Social Network empowers leaders, organizations, educators and parents to connect, share, and coordinate up, down and across all levels of their private network to help improve academic achievement. LivingTree has been recognized for this work by the Stevie Awards for Women in Business as the 2016 Gold Community Involvement Program of the Year and 2016 Silver Smartphone App of the Year. For more information, visit, call 844.LIV.TREE, or email at:



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