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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Keith Muhammad- Beidler Elementary School email@example.com
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.
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.