Our Education committee operates on the core principle that education allows people access to more opportunities and an increased ability to participate in activities that benefit the entire community. BT asserts that equitable, high quality education is a right, and that parents and community members also have the right to contribute to and improve the learning conditions at neighborhood schools and other institutions. BT is dedicated to developing grassroots leadership for improvements in neighborhood schools, and we believe that this extends to parents, community members, and the students themselves.
WHP schools are a collection of vulnerable populations (low income, special education, and English learners) that need services and resources that adequately address their needs. Blocks Together education agenda is focused on parent leadership and involvement in local schools, strengthening democracy and community oversight in schools and the system, and advocating for resources and equity in our local schools. Our parent members have students that go to school in West Humboldt Park. They determine all issues to be addressed and recruit additional leaders to participate in the work to improve education while learning the concrete skills to be better advocates and parent leaders.
In addition to our education committee, some of our parents are a part of our Parent Network, the network is over fifty parents that meet monthly to network with each other, learn from each other and strategize about school and community wide problems with the support from each other and Blocks Together staff.
Humboldt Park Parent Network is made up of parents who reside in the Humboldt Park area. The Network is a responsible for creating confident parent leaders and advocates of education. The Parent Network meetings provide leadership training that can help benefit the education of the children in the HP community. Parent Network works with parents and the community to inform and empower. Meetings are held once a month at the BT office or other schools.
Check out these Parent Resources:
Blocks Together has worked to reform how CPS plans for it’s school building, working to address building needs that impact students and reforming the school action process to create sensible process and policy systems. BT was apart of the passing the 2011 CPS Facility reform legislation that created a number of mandates that protect students such as:
- Created the Dec. 1st deadline for School action announcements to give families more advanced warnings from Chicago Public Schools.
- Mandating 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
To learn more about the CPS Facility Reform Legislation download the Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force 2014 Report
In 2018 Blocks Together wrote and helped pass Illinois House Bill 5721. This bill is a much needed follow up legislation that requires advanced planning of school actions for under enrolled schools.
Now CPS must provide more long term planning to improve community schools, offer more transparency in the Capital budget, and more community input and district collaboration to prevent school closures and vacant schools in economically insecure communities across the City and should compliment the ongoing planning CPS is embarking on with the Area Regional Analysis. Read more on the law House Bill 5721 Fact Sheet.
Blocks Together has been apart of a collective effort to strengthen local schools. This has looked like after school programming, restorative justice programming, Local School Council training, and advocacy. In 2018 Blocks Together was awarded two Sustainable Community School awards to provide wrap around services for Cameron and Beidler Elementary Schools.
In these two schools we offer diverse and creative after school programming as well as restorative practice abd health an wellness programming for students and families.