Jessica Fong is the Director of Education at Openlands. She works with the Education team to coordinate and plan the programming for educators and students including the Birds in My Neighborhood program as well as the Space to Grow© program. Jessica began teaching in her native Guatemala in 2007 and returned to Chicago committed to dual language education and nature-based learning as a way to amplify learning for young children and their families in low-resource communities. Her most recent experience was working as a Chicago Public School (CPS) teacher since 2016 and was most recently at Velma Thomas Early Childhood Center in McKinley Park. Jessica holds two Masters degrees, Early Childhood Education from DePaul University and Dual Language and Teacher Leadership from Roosevelt University. During her time as a CPS educator, she received various classroom-based grants and during the 2017-2018 school year she was awarded a Chicago Fund for Teachers Fellowship (CFE) Action Research Leadership Institute Fellowship (ARLI) where she explored the effects of nature play on the language development of young children. She currently also serves as a Board Member of NeighborSpace, a nonprofit urban land trust in Chicago as well as on the steering committee of the McKinley Community Play Garden.
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