YES began working in Chicago’s South Side in the summer of 2014 at the request of the University of Chicago Charter Schools. YES identified eighteen potential scholars from a group of rising seventh and eighth graders. YES-Chicago is managed by Hank Handelsman, recently retired executive vice-president of the Pritzker Organization, and Greg Smith, a twelve-year veteran educator from Los Angeles’ Brentwood School.

YES-Chicago candidates meet twice a week for one-hour sessions in small groups, which never exceed three students. The program continues to serve sixth, seventh and eighth grade students. These sessions help students develop the math, language, and reasoning skills critical to success in high school and college. Students and instructors engage with increasingly challenging math word problems that underscore the value of language as a tool for complex thinking.

In the coming months, YES-Chicago plans to introduce special sessions for its scholars with University of Chicago graduates as well as Saturday enrichment activities that will take advantage of the trove of world-class museums and institutions in the Hyde Park community.