Blocks Together wins Two Sustainable Community SchoolsMarch 5, 2019

Blocks Together, in coalition with education organizing groups across the City, have won a total of 20 schools in Chicago to become Sustainable Community Schools. The Sustainable Community School model brings extra resources around key wrap around needs to schools servicing low income children of color as a means for academic improvement and enhancements versus other reform models such as Charter school openings, and school closures. It was through advocacy and community relationships that BT won two schools on the West side Cameron Elementary School and Beidler Elementary Schools. Through this initiative BT will be working with these two school communities with close to $1 million in school programming investment. This includes whole school restorative justice programming, parent and community engagement, after school programming, and health and wellness programming. For more information about our programming at these schools you can contact the School Resource Coordinators:

Lafell Strickland- Cameron Elementary School lafell.strickland@blockstogetherchi.org

Keith Muhammad- Beidler Elementary School keith.muhammad@blockstogetherchi.org

SCS Schools 20181127_125827 DSC06473

 

 

Blocks Together Youth Win Audit of Chicago Police Department Gang Database

Blocks Together Youth Leaders have been working to address the issues of the Chicago Police Gang Database. Parent and youth have been working together to eliminate the unfair process.

Working with State Senator Patricia Watkins, BT has testified to the Illinois General Assembly and have educated our law makers on the unfair implications of the Gang Database with BT youth leading the charge.

Youth worked with others to get Freedom of Information Requests on themselves and were denied this information on whether or not they are on the database, pointing to the lack of transparency if this database.

Senate bill 66 seeks to make reforms to the database. You can show your support by calling your local legislature.

Gang Database 20171115_175021 20180420_112902

 

Blocks Together Wins New State Law to Reform Chicago Public Schools

Sept. 1, 2018

Public Act 100-0965 recently passed by the Illinois legislature improves the facility planning process within Chicago Public Schools to allow for more advanced planning and transparency around school buildings and future school planning. This legislation is a response to the public outcry for more equity and transparency in the unenrollment issues in the many communities and building needs.

The law requires the 10-year educational facility master plan to include specific plans for special education programs, early childhood education programs, career and technical education programs, and any other programs that are space sensitive to avoid space irregularities. This ensures long term planning should incorporate as much data and information to support schools in the best planning for academic success.

There must be a communications and community involvement plan for each community that includes engagement of students, school-based personnel, parents, and key stakeholders throughout the community for more community input in the long term planning for school communities avoiding facility decisions that can negatively impact students.

The law also mandates for the district to create a public process to show when critical repairs to buildings will be addressed and any school building disposition should include advanced planning to prevent vacant schools through advanced planning of potential school vacancies.

CPS must create a process for public hearings and submitting public comments on the Master Educational Facilities plan and the capital budget. This law also mandates that capital budget projects moving forward must have public documentation of the work to be done, the justification of why this project is needed, and the progress of the project.

By December 1, 2018, the CPS board must adopt a policy to address under-enrolled schools that contains a list of potential interventions to address schools with declining enrollment that can include joint use of the school with an outside entity, redraft attendance boundaries to maximize student enrollment, and work with under enrolled schools to identify opportunities to increase enrollment.

Any future school actions must include detailed planning on the supports for the receiving schools of students and how CPS will support them.

 HB 5721 5721

Youth Village Keepers Job FairJuly 10, 2018

Join us on Friday,July 27th,2018 @10pm -12pm at 3711 W.Chicago ave. As an employer or job seekers for youth 19 to 14 years old. If you are interested email or call us blocktogether@gmail.com or 773-940-2319.

Job Fair

Download the flyer here: JOB FAIR

 

March 13, 2018

In 2011 Blocks Together worked with groups and legislators across the city to pass Public Act 96-0803 which reformed Chicago Public Schools School action and Capital planning process. The act:

  •  Created the Dec. 1st deadline for School action announcements to give families more advanced warnings from Chicago Public Schools.
  • Mandated school transition plans to create more dialogue and transparence for impacted families.
  • Mandatory community meetings around school actions, required three community meetings.
  • Mandatory bi-annual reviews of building conditions to keep updated conditions of buildings online on the CPS website.
  • Mandatory updated online and public documents of Capital spending for years out.
  • The creation of 10 Year Master Facility Plan

Despite these many reforms there are still many things that CPS can do, and should be doing differently.  House Bill 5721 aims to strengthen process and practice that will prevent unfair and haphazard decisions for CPS buildings and students. Here is a fact sheet regarding HB 5721 and an endorsement form for organizations wishing to support the bill.

House Bill 5721 Fact Sheet

Endorsement Form

 

 

 

Chicago Public Schools Legislation on Facility ReformFebruary 23, 2018

 House Bill 0572- Chicago Public Schools Facility Reform

 House Bill 0572 Amends the Chicago School District Article of the School Code to improve Facility planning and actions.

Adds to the definition of “school action” to include new school openings incorporating Charter Schools and Turnarounds. This ensures that school communities have advanced notice of any school actions similar to the December 1st deadline for other CPS schools, allowing for families that may be impacted know before school admission deadlines pass.  

Requires the 10-year educational facility master plan to include specific plans for special education programs, early childhood education programs, career and technical education programs, and any other programs that are space sensitive to avoid space irregularities. This ensures long term planning should incorporate as much data and information to support schools in the best planning for academic success.

Requires public input with a capital improvement hearing that shall discuss the district’s annual capital budget to increase community engagement and transparency around Capital spending for the district that includes information on what capital dollars are being used and which projects and the need for those projects with a timeline to address critical facility and programmatic capital needs of every district building.

Adds to the requirements of a school transition plan when school actions do take place for the district to track students and evaluate where resources should go based on students’ performance after school actions.

A communications and community involvement plan for each community that includes engagement of students, school-based personnel, parents, and key stakeholders throughout the community for more community input in the long term planning for school communities avoiding facility decisions that can negatively impact students.

Any school building disposition should include advanced planning to prevent vacant schools through advanced planning of potential school vacancies.

Work with school communities experiencing under enrollment that includes joint use for space, attendance boundaries to maximize enrollment of additional students, cease plans that will impact enrollment when not necessary.

West Humboldt Park Parent NetworkJanuary 31, 2018

Parenr Network 2.8Upcoming West Humboldt Park Parent Network meeting.

Local School Council Summit Saturday, February 10th

LSC SummitNext Saturday join parents, community memebrs, and teachers for the Citywide Local School Council Summit. Learn about becoming an LSC member, learn ways you can be the best LSC member you can be!

Blocks Together Bi-Annual ReportDecember 28, 2017

Dear allies and members,

Here is a small summary of some the work we have been up to here at Blocks Together! Thanks to all of the members that have moved this work forward and to our allies for all their support. Please consider donating an end of the year donation to Blocks Together to continue our work in 2018. You can donate using the paypal button on the website. Thanks so much!

Blocks Together Bi Annual Report

Poor Peoples CampaignMay 23, 2017

Press Alert

Chicago Westside Tent Revival
Kicks Off Chicago Chapter of the Poor Peoples Campaign

 

Chicago, IL. May 27, 2017: Individuals, communities and faith-based organizations throughout the City have formed the New Poor Peoples Campaign Chicago in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s last campaign. In December of 1967 King announced the plan to bring together Poor People from across the country for a new March on Washington, demanding economic justice. The Tent Revival will be the Official Launch of Poor People’s Campaign Chicago as part of the National New Poor People’s Campaign.

Lead convening group, Blocks Together’s Co-Executive Director Carolina Gaete shared the purpose behind the event,

“The issues impacting our communities show the need for a collective response to demand a real economic development agenda and changes to how our government treats the poor. Our goal is to start a dialogue around the needs of our communities and create an agenda with those impacted to create a new economic agenda.”

“There are millions of poor people in this country with very little or even nothing to lose. If they can be helped to take action together, they will do so with freedom and power that will be a new and unsettling force in our complacent national life,” Dr. Martin Luther King.

The Tent Revival being held, Saturday, May 27th, will begin at 1:00 p.m. with a ceremony followed by workshops and panels concluding with an interfaith service beginning at 5:00 p.m.   The event will be at Blocks Together, 3711 West Chicago, Il. 60651, Chicago, Illinois 60651.

                                                              # # #

Blocks Together News

Or Email us at blockstogether@gmail.com to sign up.

Blocks Together Calendar

Blocks Together wins Two Sustainable Community Schools

Blocks Together, in coalition with education organizing groups across the City, have won a total of 20 schools in Chicago to become Sustainable Community Schools. The Sustainable Community School model brings extra resources around key wrap around needs to schools servicing low income children of color as a means for academic improvement and enhancements versus other reform models such as Charter school openings, and school closures. It was through advocacy and community relationships that BT won two schools on the West side Cameron Elementary School and Beidler Elementary Schools. Through this initiative BT will be working with these two school communities with close to $1 million in school programming investment. This includes whole school restorative justice programming, parent and community engagement, after school programming, and health and wellness programming. For more information about our programming at these schools you can contact the School Resource Coordinators:

Lafell Strickland- Cameron Elementary School lafell.strickland@blockstogetherchi.org

Keith Muhammad- Beidler Elementary School keith.muhammad@blockstogetherchi.org

SCS Schools 20181127_125827 DSC06473

 

 

Blocks Together Youth Win Audit of Chicago Police Department Gang Database

Blocks Together Youth Leaders have been working to address the issues of the Chicago Police Gang Database. Parent and youth have been working together to eliminate the unfair process.

Working with State Senator Patricia Watkins, BT has testified to the Illinois General Assembly and have educated our law makers on the unfair implications of the Gang Database with BT youth leading the charge.

Youth worked with others to get Freedom of Information Requests on themselves and were denied this information on whether or not they are on the database, pointing to the lack of transparency if this database.

Senate bill 66 seeks to make reforms to the database. You can show your support by calling your local legislature.

Gang Database 20171115_175021 20180420_112902

 

Blocks Together Wins New State Law to Reform Chicago Public Schools

Sept. 1, 2018

Public Act 100-0965 recently passed by the Illinois legislature improves the facility planning process within Chicago Public Schools to allow for more advanced planning and transparency around school buildings and future school planning. This legislation is a response to the public outcry for more equity and transparency in the unenrollment issues in the many communities and building needs.

The law requires the 10-year educational facility master plan to include specific plans for special education programs, early childhood education programs, career and technical education programs, and any other programs that are space sensitive to avoid space irregularities. This ensures long term planning should incorporate as much data and information to support schools in the best planning for academic success.

There must be a communications and community involvement plan for each community that includes engagement of students, school-based personnel, parents, and key stakeholders throughout the community for more community input in the long term planning for school communities avoiding facility decisions that can negatively impact students.

The law also mandates for the district to create a public process to show when critical repairs to buildings will be addressed and any school building disposition should include advanced planning to prevent vacant schools through advanced planning of potential school vacancies.

CPS must create a process for public hearings and submitting public comments on the Master Educational Facilities plan and the capital budget. This law also mandates that capital budget projects moving forward must have public documentation of the work to be done, the justification of why this project is needed, and the progress of the project.

By December 1, 2018, the CPS board must adopt a policy to address under-enrolled schools that contains a list of potential interventions to address schools with declining enrollment that can include joint use of the school with an outside entity, redraft attendance boundaries to maximize student enrollment, and work with under enrolled schools to identify opportunities to increase enrollment.

Any future school actions must include detailed planning on the supports for the receiving schools of students and how CPS will support them.

 HB 5721 5721

West Humboldt Park Parent Network

Parenr Network 2.8Upcoming West Humboldt Park Parent Network meeting.

Local School Council Summit Saturday, February 10th

LSC SummitNext Saturday join parents, community memebrs, and teachers for the Citywide Local School Council Summit. Learn about becoming an LSC member, learn ways you can be the best LSC member you can be!

Plehttps://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfezjveFI5nMy5fY22KJe61l0HHMZYC51e8VhGKB-D7B1KyPA/viewform?c=0&w=1ase register at

012616_Soto_Elected School Board

Meeting for re-purposing for vacant Laura Ward

Residents of West Humboldt Park are welcome to attend a meeting around the re-purposing of the vacant Laura Ward Elementary School.
When: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 6:00pm – 8:00pm Where: Nia Family Center 744 N. Monticello Ave. Chicago, IL 60624

BT members began working on the re-purposing of the vacant school early 2014, many issues arose such as immediate safety concerns. Never the less the re-purposing of the school is important. Read a recent articlewith BT Co-Director Cecile Carroll, and Alderman Walter Burnett around the issues facing the community and the re-purposing of Laura Ward.

Next CEFTF meeting

Saturday, July 11th will the next Chicago Educational Facilities Task force at :

SATURDAY, JULY 11th, 2015 

10 A.M. – 12 NOON

(Sign-in/Registration to begin at 9:30 A.M.)

Hope Presbyterian Church

1354 West 61st Street

Chicago, IL

The purpose of this Meeting is to gather public input and take testimony on the following topics:

–  Chicago Public Schools’ 10-Year Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP)

–  CLASS SIZE

–  SCHOOL REPURPOSING

–  FACILITY CONDITIONS

Concerned parents, educators, students, community members, elected officials, and other stakeholders are urged to provide testimony on these topics atSaturday’s meeting.

Written testimony on these topics may be submitted to the CEFTF via email to this address:  ceftf.ilga@gmail.com

As always, the members of the CEFTF welcome and value your input.

Blocks Together | 3711 West Chicago Avenue - Chicago, IL 60651 | 773.940.2319 | blockstogether@gmail.com Designed and developed by Fmondragon