Chicago School GPS was started by 3 Chicago moms who firmly believe that the vibrancy, culture, opportunities and unique setting of Chicago makes it an ideal place to raise our families. We are committed to staying in the city because we know firsthand that an academically challenging, emotionally nourishing and culturally diverse education can be had within the city limits.
We are so pleased to have added our Special Education Parent Advocate, Mignon Elayda-Fulton, to our team to help you expertly navigate the complex world of special education services.
A mother of three, Mignon firmly believes that every child is entitled to a high-quality education and that parents are equal partners in their child's education. For these reasons and for several years, her two oldest children attended a private Montessori school in Wicker Park before transferring to a public magnet school in Lakeview. One daughter is now a junior at a top selective enrollment high school and her son is at college in NYC. Assisting her children to get into these competitive schools was nothing compared to finding the most appropriate educational setting for her third child who was diagnosed with a developmental delay at eighteen months and now receives special education services through CPS at a non-public school. Navigating through the special education maze with its layers of legal issues at the District, State, and Federal levels can make any parent feel lost and defeated. Mignon's goal is to point you in the right direction so that you can find the right answers to your unique situation and be the best possible advocate for your child. She spent many hours learning the CPS ODLSS policies and procedures, special education laws, and the jargon - all of which allowed her to participate as an effective partner in her daughter’s specialized education. She is happy to share her knowledge and personal experiences with others, however Mignon does not provide direct legal services to parents or to children with disabilities.
Although her family moved to California from the suburbs when she was a teenager, Mignon considers herself a native Chicagoan. She and her husband prefer to raise their children in the City despite its challenges and complicated school system. Mignon's background is in architecture and interior design. She left the corporate workplace in 2006 for a less rigid schedule which allows her time to better care for and manage her family's diverse and special needs.
Melissa assumed she could walk her “little sister” from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program into a great high school when the time came, but soon after she began working as the Director of Admissions at Josephinum Academy (an all-girls Catholic high school in Wicker Park) in 2008, she realized the path was not so clear cut for many Chicago families. From her vantage point within a high school admissions office, she saw first hand the grueling process Chicago’s youth face to get into high schools and made it her mission to help the middle school students she saw daily find schools that would fit them best while keeping all their options open.
After starting at Josephinum, Melissa entered the Jane Addams School of Social Work at UIC to study school counseling and has joined the KIPP Chicago Advisory Board. She obtained her Bachelors in Communications from UIC in 2003, and her Masters in Social Work in 2015. She now splits her time between two disparate CPS schools as a social worker. Her passion lies in making sure that each child is supported, challenged and cared for in his or her school environment and brings that passion to Chicago School GPS families searching for the perfect school fit.