Schools home. Promise Zones. Defining Excellence. Organizing Schools for Excellence. CPS AfterSchool. Developmental Assets. School and Education Resources. Schools Directory. UC and Schools/School Research home. Race to Nowhere. Feb. 2010 Jacq. Edelberg talk How to Walk to School.

CPS Community Schools Initiative partnership and Community Action Councils

Derived from CPS and other documents

A service of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Schools Committee and the HPKCC website, www.
Help support our work: Join the Conference!
Join the Schools Committee-contact chairman Nancy Baum.

Hyde Park-Kenwood has been encouraged by CPS to form a Community Action Council to develop a strategic plan for quality and balance of schools in our area, joining Bronzeville and 7 other areas with active CACs.
HPKCC Schools Committee has started the ball rolling by hoisting a trial balloon Oct. 30 at a well attended meeting at Canter School and is convening a KICK OFF MEETING DECEMBER 4, 6 PM AT CANTER SCHOOL, 4959 S. Blackstone.
CPS information on CAC's -


"Chicago School Reform: Myths, Realities, and New Visions" an alternative view can be seen in

10-year facilities plan:
If you would like to read some of the draft document, the section about Hyde Park schools starts on p. 194-
For more information: Adrienne Garner at CPS: or


December 4, Wednesday, 6 pm. HPKCC Schools Committee is working with CPS and others to establish a Community Action Council to plan excellence and balance in all our area schools. The organizational meeting will be held at Canter School, 4959 S. Blackstone.

November 19, Tuesday, 6-8:30 pm. The next HP Cares parent fair (esp. geared to parents of small children) Nov. 19 2013 at Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood. Meet and greet with principals and school leaders, then principals of schools briefly give the school's vision/mission, and Options for Knowledge gives a short presentation.

See report on ABCs of CPS in Friends-Drive page.

Find our more at


The guiding principle of the CPS Arts Education Plan is that every CPS student will receive ongoing high quality arts education both in and out of the classroom.

Through a comprehensive and sequential study of visual art, music, dance, and theater from K-12th grade, all Chicago Public Schools students will have the opportunity to develop into innovative thinkers and creative problem solvers who are capable of expressing themselves, understanding others and contributing to their city’s culture and economy for years to come.

The CPS Arts Education Plan honors and promotes the critical role of certified arts instructors as anchors for building robust arts programs and creating strong arts partnerships in schools.

Five Guiding Principles

¦Provide equity and access to arts learning for not just some, but all children

¦Return the arts to the ongoing education and school day experience

¦Provide quality sequential arts instruction

¦Prepare young people for life and work in the 21st Century

¦Support increasing high school graduation rates


The CPS Arts Education Plan will focus on creating goals that will elevate the following six standards in the arts:

¦District Arts Policy
¦In School and Out of School Arts Guidelines
¦Arts Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
¦Data and Strategy
¦Arts Partnerships & Collaborations
¦Professional Development in the Arts

Also: Common Core Workshop with experts for Public Schools arts partners. Thursday, July 26, 10-noon. RSVP to get the location-

for high schoools (with 75 min early release for hs once a week) supported by the Mayor (April 10)-- but what can be done about the funding and quality with huge deficits looming. Here is what the city release says about details of increases in both school day and instruction year:

Elementary Full School Day:

•Students will receive 52 additional minutes of instructional time each day.
•Students will receive 6 hours of instruction and 45 minutes for recess and lunch.
•Students will be in school for 7 hours each day, an increase of 75 minutes.
•Teachers will be in school for 7 hours and 40 minutes, an increase of 85 minutes.
High School Full School Day:

•Students will receive 46 additional instructional minutes four days a week.
•Students will receive 6 hours and 8 minutes of instructional time four days a week.
•Students will be in school for 7 1/2 hours a day, an increase of 36 minutes four days a week.
•One day per week the day will end 75 minutes early.
•Teachers will be in school for 7 hours and 40 minutes, an increase of 39 minutes.
The Full School Day will provide significant benefits to all students across the district, including:

•Elementary students will receive an additional 207 hours of instruction each year, and high school students will receive an additional 116 hours of instruction. Principals will no longer have to choose between reading, math or science because of limited time in the day.
•Additional time will create opportunity to add more intervention to ensure students who are falling behind in math and reading can get up to speed with their peers.
•Elementary students will have time for lunch and recess every day to relax, re-boot and return to the classroom ready to learn.
The Full School Day was structured with an eye toward providing teachers with adequate professional development and prep time to support their practice. Benefits of the Full Day include:

•Elementary teachers will have almost two additional hours of prep time each week.
•Elementary teachers will have self-directed prep time in the mornings, as well as additional prep time throughout the day to meet with parents informally, prepare for their lessons and supervise students who arrive at school early.
•Both elementary and high school teachers will receive an average of 75 minutes for professional development each week.

(Communities In Schools inc. held a roundtable in March 2011. View in pdf their summaries of discussions. This is not the same org. as CPS's division Community Schools Initiative.

Community Schools and the CPS Community Schools Initiative are a CPS category of a rapidly expanding number of schools (eventually all?) that are linked to a public-private resource pool that allows the school to be a beehive of learning activities and a holistic community center from early morning into the evening. It converges with the "promise zone" and "full service" approaches. CSI schools may be Neighborhood schools, but the two terms are not synonymous. Community schools are supervised by the P12 Office of Student Support and Engagement and (or same as) Office of Extended Learning Opportunities (OELO)- see To learn more, there is a national website,
In our area of Chicago: (2009-2010 there were 154, and all schools are supposed to be moving that way by 2012.)- Carnegie, Murray, Price, Ray and several in greater Woodlawn and west-northwest of our neighborhood. These range from traditional neighborhood and magnet to charter and turnaround.

Alderman Preckwinkle wrote in a recent Herald editorial that schools like Kenwood and Lincoln Park are flexible in being both selective enrollment and neighborhood, with strong classes available for youth who are moved beyond what was apparent when they entered. They graduate more high performers than they enroll as freshmen.

Meetings, seminars....



Full Service SChools Imitative FSSI 1991-2000 was a pilot project commissioned by Polk Bros. Foundation. Based on that, in 2002 CPS launched the Community Schools Initiative (CSI) as a public/private partnership with philanthropic and corporate leaders.

CSI was designed to improve individual student, whole school and community outcomes through collaboration. This is the largest CS initiative in the nation-- 154 participating elementary and high schools, including neighborhood, charter and performance schools serving over 30,000 students and 10,000 family member.

It serves the whole child by addressing barriers to learning and development and allowing service providers and stakeholders to work together while each focuses on what they do best- teachers teach, principals manage, family services provide support.

What might you see in a Community School?

Extended hours with programs for students, families, AND community (arts, sports, academic, GED, computer, counseling, health, mental..)
Community organizing around important community issues such as housing, safety, violence, gentrification, immigration....
Building of social networks between families, broader collaborations.

How does a community school work?

Partnership: Administrators provide strong core instruction and ensure integration and coordination between classroom and extended learning.
The lead partner identifies, tracks, coordinates exiting and additional resources to best meet student needs and manages relationships with stakeholders.
Families and community members participate through an advisory committee and provide needed resources

Outcomes: Improved daytime attendance, reduced misconducts, improved academics, engagement and well-being

Student and Whole School outcomes. Community School Partnership (leveraged resources, more quality academic and enrichment opportunities aligned with improved instruction, improved access to family and health services, extended building hours) results in

Flexibility- varying levels of implementation

Seed level ($50-$100,000)- Enrichment and academic activities
Modified ($250K)- Enrichment and academic, limited health and dental, family-social activities
Full Service ($450K)- Enrichment and academic, comprehensive health and dental, social-emotional support, family and social, job training, GED, adult education.

Income sources: private grant, federal including 21st CCLC 45% of budget, local district dollars

Every $1 invested = $4-$7 in additional resources from partners and private funders.

What kind of partnerships to schools implement at the full-service level? They range from service and advocacy groups to universities and can be over 20. School district, universities, sports-based, arts, health, businesses, social service, community, park district, political, foundations-- over 400. Some of the largest corporate's are Boeing, Chicago Community Trust, Circle of Service Foundation, comer, Exelon, Field of Il, Grosvenor, Chase, Kaplan, Fry, Mills-Medline, McDougal Family, Michael Reese Trust, Polk Bros., Prince Charitable, Quaker-PepsiCo, Steans, United Way, Woods Fund.


CSI and the Developmental Triangle

The 3 sides are schools- core instructional program, partners- enrichment, partners- removing barriers to learning and development and promoting health. The triangle is also a pyramid progressing through "exploring," "emerging," and "maturing" to "excelling."

Next steps:

Establish a full service community school model in every high-need community

Deepen the strategy to address such matters as school climate and early chronic absenteeism

Research the tipping point-- how much support and saturation need to happen for whole-school effects and transformation

These require: More business and philanthropic engagement, new lead partners with various kinds of capacities, research and evaluation support, increased awareness.


Chicago Community Schools Initiative

From a 2008 Emerging Knowledge Forum


The Entry Point: A citywide initiative seeks to transform public schools into hubs of learning, services, and enrichment for students, parents, and entire communities.

The Challenge: How can Chicago Public Schools and its partners ensure that schools fully embody the community schools model - a culture of full partnership with families and communities to address the needs of eh whole child - as the initiative expands to every school in the district by 2010?

The Partners: Chicago Public Schools. More than 400 total partner agencies, including forty-five lead partner agencies from the community organizing, youth development, arts, and social services sectors. The Chicago business and philanthropic community.
The Coalition for Community Schools, an alliance of national, state, and local organizations educating and supporting youth, families, and communities that advocates for the community schools model.

The Story

From the Coalition website, A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health, and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families, and healthier communities. Schools become centers of the community and are open to everyone - all day, every day, evenings, and weekends. Community-based organizations or pubic institutions often work as lead agencies in community schools, helping to mobilize community assets and support student success.

Chicago's schools have come a long way since Secretary of Education William Bennett called them the worst in the nation twenty years ago. Since then, a major governance decentralization, mayoral control, and myriad initiatives to improve instruction have recast the school system as a fast-improving urban district. Yet stiff challenges remain: 85 percent of the district's students come from low-income families, and only 55 percent graduate from high school within five years.

Chicago's diverse neighborhoods house a vibrant network of cultural, arts, social service, an community organizing groups. The city has a strong tradition of local philanthropy, and the business community has long taken an active hand in education reform. The district's Community Schools Initiative (CSI) represents a vigorous effort to harness the energy and resources of these sectors to serve students and families.

the CSI began in 2001, when a group of business and philanthropic leaders approached the district with a proposal to seed new "community school" partnerships through a public/private venture. These leaders were inspired by an initiative of the Polk Brothers Foundation to expand access to health, recreation, and enrichment resources that paired three low-income Chicago elementary schools with community organizations as "full-service schools." The full-service schools provided afternoon and weekend programming for students, engaged parents through adult education and intergenerational programming, and gave parents a role in planning and overseeing services.

Recognizing that schools alone couldn't meet the many health, developmental, and enrichment needs of students, the business and philanthropic leaders proposed raising private money, with matching funds from the district, to spread the model to a larger cohort of schools. The resulting Chicago Campaign to Expand Community Schools led to an initial cohort of twenty community schools that partnered with arts, youth development, community, and social service organizations.

In 2002, Arne Duncan, chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), agreed to add 100 new community schools over five years. That goal has been met and surpassed. By the end of the current school year, Chicago will be home to 150 community schools working with well over 400 organizations.

The Chicago Community Schools Model

In the community schools model developed by the campaign, a school partners with a lead partner agency (LPA) with at least three years of experience in adult and youth programming. The school and the LPA must demonstrate congruence in their visions and a willingness to make the necessary changes in their respective cultures so they can effectively work together. They hire a full-time resource coordinator to identify and pursue grants and resources and reach out to other organizations to meet the schools' needs. To ensure full partnership, the resource coordinator is employed by the LPA, but housed in the school building, and is jointly supervised by the school principal and a liaison form the LPA.

With guidance from the school's advisory committee, the school and the LPA develop a range of voluntary after-school and weekend programming for students. The programming for students is integrated into the curriculum, supporting literacy and other key program areas, rather than being considered an add-on to the school day. As of 2006, ninety-three community schools included in an evaluation by the University fo Illinois at Chicago provided an average of twelve after-school programming options for students that included a balance mix of sports and recreation, arts and cultural activities, tutoring, and academic enrichment.

Programming or adults can include ESL classes, career education, nutrition, and parenting. Community Schools have leveraged funds for additional services including on-site medical and dental care and have partnered with a range of agencies beyond their LPA to meet the needs of students and families - over 400 organizations in all.

Strong Network of Support

CEO Duncan and CPS have demonstrated a consistent commitment to the principles of community schools. cPS's Office of Extended Learning Opportunities (OELO), created by Duncan in 201, provides an infrastructure of support for the community schools. The OELO solicits and approves applications for new community schools, contracts with external consultants to help community schools improve their programs, hosts regular professional development for resource coordinators, principals, and senior staff at LPAs, and brings in national experts on community schooling to meet with practitioners. As the Original Campaign to Expand Community Schools came to an end in fall 2007, the OELO took over its functions of raising and coordinating funding.

In addition to the OELO, a vibrant web of supports exists for the CSI at the district level. The business and philanthropic communities continue to provide crucial support. The University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago have provided professional development and evaluation support, and the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration has initiated a master's degree program to prepare social workers to serve in community schools. Recently, the Illinois Federation of Community Schools was formed to raise the profile of community schooling and build support for the model statewide.

Shifting School Culture

The district and its partners sees the community strategy as more than services and programming. At their best, community schools represent a shift in the culture and fabric of schools- a re imagining of schools as community hubs that recognize teh importance of authentic engagement of whole families. The district's Education Plan reflects its commitment to connecting schools and communities: one of its eight goals is "Schools as Centers of Communities in Partnership with Families."

Indeed, community schools are a central strategy for achieving the district's goals. In 2004 CPS rolled out the Renaissance 2010 initiative, which seeks to create 100 new neighborhood schools across the city to relieve overcrowding and expand educational choice. Duncan has said that any interested new school opened under Renaissance 2010 can open as a community school. The district's Turnaround Schools strategy for the lowest-performing schools, which replaces a school's entire staff as part of a complete overhaul, also calls for implementing the community schools model in each restructured school. Recently, the district has announced that its vision is for each or CPS's more that 600 schools become a community school by 2012.

[Gives as an example the Burroughs-Brighton Park Neighborhood Council Partnering as an example of an impoverished area bilingual school that consistently outperforms the rest of the district and state averages and exemplifies the full panoply of community schools, and some of the challenges. Some of the strengths are integration of the school staff and the LPA yet concentration of tasks with those who can do them best, buy in by a committed principal and staff including in adult education, and a collaborative professional culture valuing accountability, experimentation, and reflection. ]

Strengths and Challenges

As CPS and its partners prepare to take the CSI to scale districtwide, they build on significant strengths and successes. A three-year evaluation of the initiative by Sam Whalen, a researcher with the University of Illinois at Chicago, found evidence of successful implementation of the core features of the community schools model and promising results for student achievement. Between 2001 adn 2006, the community schools' gains in the proportion of students meeting standards outpaced CPS's gains by about eight percentage points in both math and reading. The older community schools showed particularly strong growth in 2005 and 2006, suggesting that experience in implementing the model facilitates grater student benefits.

The Challenge of Reaching Full Partnership with Communities

Several challenges face the SCI, both at the school and district levels. While schools have been largely successful in developing programming for students and making use of their facilities beyond the school day, many schools have found it hard to move from after-school and summer programming to a deeper integration of their partner into the life of the school.

Whalen found, for example, that counselors and social workers were rarely included in advisory committees and were often unaware of the work of partner agencies in their schools, limiting the integration of resources to "wrap around" services. Expanding parent engagement continues to challenge many community schools as well.

Capacity and Scale

As the CSI scales up, it will test the capacity of the OELO to support schools. How will the office continue to provide support and monitor quality as as the pool of community schools from 150 to 600? The expansion will also have implications for fundraising - as 21st Century Learning Community grants expire, the initiative has come to depend on local funds for expansion.

Beyond the question of how the OELO support ever-increasing numbers of community schools, there remains the challenge of, as OELO officer Erica Harris put it, "embedding community schools in the fabric of district culture." While Duncan's support has been crucial, it wil be important to generate buy-in across all CPS departments. If community school values become central to how each school operates, every department and level of COS will need to identify new ways of supporting schools.

Discussion Questions


More evaluation and various models

According to a University of Illinois at Chicago, the areas of challenge or uneven application of goals or success include stakeholder and parent involvement (partly related to restrictions on funding this due to NCLB goals and rules and also to unimaginative rethinking of outreach communication and strategy), increasing the health and social service component and involving these professionals in the CSI planning and program. Another is student recruitment and retention for out of class activities--not understood or addressed in many schools. Strong leadership and professional development naturally play a big role in a school's progress, including real integration of out of school into the curriculum and whole-school-improvement. And there is the issue of ability of CPS to provide the needed supports.]

According to an earlier study of the 21st Century CCLC component cohort, these are key findings :

  1. Overall student participation is strong and supported by improvement in planning, recruitment, induction, and retention practices.
  2. There is tension between goals of building OST enrollment and sustaining attendance- schools tend to stress the one or the other, not both. Not surprisingly big classes had fewer retained. Overall success for afterschool was also tied to strength of what is now called the "5 essential supports" in the school and those with more of that get more outside supports and partnerships. Years of experience does seem to help. More girls enroll but more boys stay. Lower income had poorer attendance but African American more.
  3. There was little deliberate school "creaming" of more successful or compliant students, although some programs did, trying to weed out disruptions.
  4. Differences in age and development accounted for the largest variations in OST enrollment and attendance--it's working with middle schoolers, less with high schoolers-- the problem being sporadic attendance partly from other responsibilities- jobs, babysitting. What's working with high schoolers is combining open gym with high-quality small scale enrichment and career development programs. Getting really young students involved poses other problems-- what works best is family and parent-child programs for them.
  5. Gender, ethnicity, markers, special ed/limited English do influence participation (but it's far more complicated for special ed)-- but not as much as overall school enrolment of school experience with enrichment. Hispanic participate less, especially with limited English--that in itself being a real frustration for being in programs.

    Recommendations: student participation needs to be a top priority incl. with more tech help for managers and standards for this need to be made more clear and communicated better.



Models having variations but much overlap include Community Schools, Promise Zones, Comer Process, and School Leadership Team, Assets Development/40 assets. Comer Process stresses collaboration and teacher buy-in, initiative and team decision-making. The Leadership Team stresses strong principals. Most of the approaches can easily resonate with both older models--social and activity-based learning/learning for life and citizenship models, "it Takes a Village," and that which stresses basics/rigor.

Some who are developing community schools: (adapted from the following article; purpose is to show variety, not a complete resource guide. Check also US Dept. of Education and major local lead partnering agencies such as Children's Home + Aid of Illinois)
A national clearinghouse is Coalition for Community Schools- with resource and tool kit and local links-


From an article in American Educator, Summer 2009- A Coordinated Effort: Well-Conducted Partnerships Meet Student's Academic, Health, and Social Service Needs by Marty Blank, Reuben Jacobson, and Sarah S. Pearson. :

The article stresses that partnerships are needed to do the job--teachers can't do it all, children's success depends as much on their total environment as on the classroom, that the goal of partnerships is schools as community centers, an integrated approach, better connections/supports/opportunities/learning time for students, and a balance between academics and the rest of the child.

Core principles for community schools: fostering strong partnerships, sharing accountability for results, setting high expectations for all, building on the community's strengths, embracing diversify, and developing home-grown, sustainable solutions [one would include parent as first teacher].

When the school's a hub, families, local government, higher education institutions, businesses, community-based organizations, and local citizens join to ensure that

What are the advantages of Community Schools: Garner additional resources and reduce demands on professional staff,
Provide learning opportunities that develop both academic and nonacademic competencies,
Build social capital

How do you know it's a community school- two features are a Lead Partner and a Community School Coordinator. The school staff focuses on delivering top-notch education and the lead partner agency focuses on the wraparound. The Coordinator see that the two (and all staff) are speaking and working in the same direction (for example making sure tutors are getting direction from teachers) and secures resources and outside engagement.
A Community school needs to have teachers free to teach and students ready to learn. For both, knowing that others from the outside are coming in and supporting them can be a big lift and over all it builds social capital.

Outcomes shown to date (data studies are underway). When cs model is "well-executed, students show significant gains in academic achievement and in important nonacademic areas. ... families increased family stability, communication with teachers, school involvement, and sense of responsibility for their children's learning. Community schools enjoy stronger parent-teacher relationships, increased teacher satisfaction, a more positive school environment, and greater community support. The community school strategy also promotes more efficient use of school buildings." Significant improvement in attendance and drop-out rates was also noted for program participants [closer look shows it varies by various community components] --in fact the only dropout prevention program that demonstrates it increases both graduation rates and percentage graduating on time with a regular diploma. Attitude and behavior improvements are also noted, esp. in Chicago and New York. [One suspects one thing that needs to be filtered out in statistics is the effect of more savvy and achieving families positioning or selecting for their kids to go to these schools.]

What role teachers and others can take in starting a community school

Know what partners are in the school and develop a plan with them

Learn the neighborhood and partner with its organizations and find a lead partner

Advocate for a community school coordinator position

From a paper by Samuel P. Whalen, UIC College of Education: What the principals say (see more in the next section)

Recognize the challenges of the principal's role in community schools-

Attitudes toward partnership
Temptation to exert control rather than shared, distributed decision making
Temptation to step away
Keeping the principal's attention and time
Rising above short-term funding and funding/fad chasing- THIS CAN'T BE JUST ANOTHER SET OF PROGRAMS if there is to be school change

Transformative practices and the role of the principal

Lead by communicating the vision- and making sure resources and partnerships are under the community school umbrella
Entrepreneurial resourcefulness-- you hook and you sell
Parent-friendly leadership and time
Empowering roles, cultivating talent, expanding leadership. Coordinator, oversight committee, partner agencies
A "community educator." This is a community's school, not just the school's (narrow) community; broadening who you are responsible for and to
Clarity of roles and authority. Example- LSC and oversight committee have different responsibilities. Similar for Resource Coordinator, Lead Partner Liaison, Oversight Committee, Principal


An introduction to the CPS Community Schools Initiative model, and apportionment of tasks (2009 or 2010)


Community Schools in Chicago

"Schools should be anchors of their communities, providing educational resources for the entire family. These are the guiding principles behind our Community Schools Initiative, which turns neighborhood schools into community learning centers that are open well into the evening hours -- so they can provide educational and social-service programs, not just to the students, but also to their parents and other family members." Mayor Richard M. Daley, January 2003

Schools have traditionally been institutions responsible fo educating students to graduate high school and enter either the workforce or an institution of higher education. In Chicago, students typically attend classes five days a week for five and a half hours over the course of a forty-week school year. The building where classes are held is largely empty when school is not in session. Community Schools have evolved over the past 15 years as an alternative vision of schools, a vision where schools are a community hub that draws together a range of resources that support the academic, health, and social needs of students and their families.

"Where schools truly become the centers of the community, great things happen... We need the schools open much longer hours, and we don't have to do this all by can bring in great nonprofits, mentoring and tutoring groups to co-located their services and bolster the community from the school. (Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, to Charlie Rose, March 13, 2009)

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) administers the largest community schools program in the country. Launched in 2003 at 36 schools, the Community Schools Initiative (CSI) has grown to include over 150 elementary and high schools at the beginning of the 2009-10 school year. The SCI envisions schools as central, neighborhood locations where students receive an education and schools work with community groups to connect children and families to a range of services that foster individual and economic well-being. The CSI also extends the hours that schools are open so buildings may stay in use up to seven days a week and during the summer, creating a vibrant community meeting place.

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) places a high priority and commitment to providing quality after school programs particularly for underachieving students attending low-performing schools. CPS believes that after school activities have the potential to counteract the effects of a range of negative factors that contribute to students' lack of opportunities and underachievement. For children who face academic or behavior obstacles to success during the regular school day, the after school hours can be a time to eliminate barriers and improve the education of the "whole child." CPS is focused on the need to engage parents and the community in efforts to improve academic achievement and in doing so makes it possible for schools to keep their buildings open after the regular school day.

To be most effective in supporting student achievement, these programs should be part of a Community School that works with public agencies and nonprofit organizations to offer comprehensive academic, enrichment, health and social services to students and their families. This year we have 110 Community Schools; our goal is to make all of our schools Community Schools within five years. (CPS, "On the Same Page: Celebrating Progress, Moving Forward," 2007).

CPS Community Schools Initiative (CSI)

Community school partnerships bring together the academic and social supports needed to ensure that all students succeed by offering programs before and after the school day for students and their families. The programs are designed to support the school's academic program and expand the services offered within the community. Programs offered at each community vary, but most community schools in Chicago offer some combination of academic enrichment activities for students, adult education and English as a Second Language classes, student and adult technology training, art activities, recreation and health services.

There are important initiatives that distinguish community schools from other public schools, including how community schools often partner with local agencies, and how they offer school-based health, mental health, and social services; extended day before- and after-school programs; parent involvement and support programs; and other methods of delivering community enrichment programs. This "full-service" approach to children's development and education represents partnership and teamwork between community residents, businesses, social service agencies, and public entities -- all working to support their local school. In neighborhoods where children do not have a safe haven from gangs and drugs, or are lacking adult supervision outside of school, a full service community school i[s] an innovative approach to educating children during the time when they are most vulnerable. (U.S. Department of Education, "The Education Innovator," Volume VII, No. 6, June 25, 2009.)

CSI Program Model

To provide yer-round programming outside of the regular school day, operating three to four hours a day, five to six days a week, 30 to 44 weeks a year, for students and their families, each CPS Community School must:

To fully meet the needs of any school community, partnerships work together to identify the particular needs and assets of their school community using a variety of tools and techniques. Using this analysis as a foundation, school partnerships then may plan and develop programming that best suits the goals of their CPS community school using the building blocks of teh CPS Community School model[:]

CSI Developmental Triangle

Three sides: Core instruction; Removing barriers and promoting health; Enrichment

Four tiers ascend to the apex of the pyramid (ascending from the removing barriers side along the core instruction and enrichment sides): Exploring, Emerging, Maturing, Excelling.


Chicago Public Schools' commitment to community schools is clear. The District has worked hard to craft adn attain a broad vision for after school and community school programs, which includes providing comprehensive programs for students in out-of-school time, and incorporates needed programs and services for parents and community members. The CPS Community Schools Initiative has leveraged new resources that have dramatically increased the programs and services offered to students and their families.

Quality partnerships, both with the business community as well as in community neighborhoods, are key if this program is to succeed for students, parents and their communities. In chicago over fifty lead non-profit partners have been secured, and over 400 additional community partnerships have been developed to support these schools. These partnerships bring a wealth of services including one-day events, such as health fairs and violence prevention workshops. These are vital steps in ensuring that each school is truly an anchor for its community.

[Characteristics of schools in the model (condensed, paraphrased)]

  1. focus is dev. of lifelong learning skills/habits through production of complex an meaningful activities and products.
  2. holistic (cognitive, emotional, physical, moral, social) and within context of family and community
  3. welcoming to parents and community-- shown in visible signs and actions of staff
  4. many ways for parents and teachers to visit and communicate
  5. school is really an integral part of community- strong partnerships and joint activities
  6. parents and teachers use each other as partners and resources
  7. broad partnership in planning and evaluation (oversight committee)
  8. programs come from clearly identified needs and interests, priorities of consumers
  9. programs, activities sustained through sharing and partnership
  10. consumers and stakeholders fully assessed on needs and satisfaction
  11. monitored for positive impact
  12. based on good plans and integrated to re-enforce and enhance positive outcomes

Roles and Responsibilities

District- standards, major partnerships, technical support

School- ID needs, cooperatively dev. infrastructure, recruit partners, be open to community, watch attendance, align plan with SIPAAA

Principal- ensure common vision within advisory committee, follow wishes of families, relationships between teachers and parents, promote, work with the lead nonprofit partner

Lead nonprofit partner- shares experience and knowledge, works with teachers and staff incl. how to work with parents, works for mutual engagement and common purpose, helps the resource coordinator, cooperates with principal

Resource coordinator- solicits providers, schedules and assigns space and student flow, recruits students, attendance, communicates with families and solicits feedback, assists in hiring and supervision and recruitment and retention, fundraising, budgeting, works with Office of Extended Learning Opportunities, is supervised jointly by principal and lead partner

Advisory Council- has primary responsibility for program guidance, meeting regularly on implementation and monitoring, makes sure programs meet needs and wishes with quality and support the academic program

Daytime staff- work with resource coordinator incl. sharing what they are doing in the classroom, sharing ownership, build bridges and integration of classroom and programs, help create an environment or long-term sustainability


CSI at Ravenswood School, 4332 N. Paulina

Heather Connolly, Principal. Partnered with Youth Guidance 2007. Given CSI grant 2008, which enables more and tuition-subsidized programs.

2009-2010 afterschool and enrichment programs:

After School Social Hour and board games for 6th-8th grades. Teacher-led and designed to be cross-classroom
Chess incl. application of strategies to life
Emerald City Theater Company
Girls on the Run. Self-awareness and self-esteem with training for a 5-K race-3rd-8th graders
GoGirlGo! Pressures and healthy choices for 3rd-5th graders
KidsMath. Making it fun and practical
Knitting Club
Language Stars Foreign Language Spanish
Science Club

Camp programs:
Around the World in 7 weeks (summer)
Urban Safari (spring break)
Winter Camp

Youth Guidance Before and After-School Adventures (BASA). Includes before school care, after school enrichment (dance, drumming, chess, math, literature, theatre), summer camp, spr. break camp, winter camp, Make and Take workshops for holidays, Daycare for families on PD days, Social work services- indiv, group and family. 41-59% receive assistance. Employs 25 plus service learning interns. One social work intern on duty 24 hours a week.


A different perspective in Race to Nowhere. See Race to Nowhere page.

March 26, 2011 update- Hyde Park Career Academy and Woodlawn Children's Promise Community

Woodlawn Summit March 26 2011. Education Break Out Session
A short video was shown. The theme was everyone taking ownership of the problems of schools and children and the importance of dealing with the whole child including physical activity and development. This somewhat merges with the theme of Race to Nowhere.
A lady from the West Side Collaborative for Civic Engagement spoke. She gave a website called What they do is bring parents and community residents into the schools (monitors, corridors, aides and lots more) and outside (safe passage, playground... and dealing with the hurdles kids face to even get to school). They found they can do a lot without money, but you have to make a “village” of the community before the village can raise the children.

Thomas Trotter, Principal of Hyde Park Career Academy, took up the majority of the time. One of the school’s big problem is that it has to take lots of kids from schools that have been closed—across multiple gang boundaries and 35 and more minutes just to get there—and Hyde Park High looks enough better than the alternatives to the parents who care about where their kids go that they sent them to HP. That doesn’t mean all the kids coming are prepared, or performers, or care. Kids have to practice strategies every day, whether going down a gang path or resisting it--- “I can’t take x bus because members of such and such gang are on it, or it will encounter a rival gang and be shot at.”
He said what made a difference for him growing up is that through encouragement he took alternatives to “hanging out” on corners with gangs that seem to many kids to offer safety—instead he went to fieldhouses and playgrounds, where there were adults who mentored and kept them in line, and especially if they had sports aptitude funneled them to the school coaches. The adults also made sure it was safe to kids to get their park.

He recited things that schools do provide: it’s generally safe compared to the outside. And it has adults. He touted athletics and other structured activity that teaches the interpersonal and, he said, entrepreneurial skills, including managing people and situations, that the kids need.

It’s essential for community people to be with the kids after 3 pm. The high school has set up such a program and will have a full summer camp staffed largely by parents.

He has put each assistant principal in charge of one of the grades, with specific goals they and the teacher are to achieve. A partnership is being developed with the Woodlawn Promise Community. He said scores and much else are turning around and this or the next should be the take-off year.

Dr. Charles Payne, sociologist and author, Director of the Woodlawn Promise Community, and Interim Chief Education Officer of CPS spoke as much as was possible in remaining time. He praised the strong principals for buying into the program and working to develop and refine the model. He said the biggest problems so far (other than ramping up staff without reducing the commitment to doing program) are getting enough parents and other adults into the in and outside school program and reducing student mobility and stopping the moving of kids continually from one school down the block to the next.

One strategy that is really working is going back to something they did in the 19th century—kids teaching kids. The 8th graders can’t get enough of mentoring and tutoring the kindergartners-1st graders. The older kids learn they can teach, which becomes a viable option for them. They start to compare notes and take collaborative ownership. And it starts the job of elementary kids acquiring readiness.
For academics he warned that the number one thing is that schools have to increase the number of students EXCEEDING rather than “meeting” standards—the meets category is a joke in CPS and won’t prepare kids for college or much else, and if they do get to college they will waste time on remedial and get further behind.

The second thing is that it’s much more than academics. “THE PROMISE CHILD IS ONE WHO IS ABLE TO BE AN ADVOCATE, ACTIVIST, AND ACCOUNTABLE PERSON, A LEADER WHO IS A CONTRIBUTOR TO THEIR COMMMUNITY—in the school years, not just after, A PERSON WHO ASKS ‘WHAT CAN I DO.” They not only get along with each other but are responsible for each other. Without that we cannot counter one of the worst problems in youth today—VIOLENCE and a general failure of interpersonal relations in which people work against rather than with each other. And being responsible to and for others is the start of being able to function in the workplace and business. A motto being used in the promise schools is “teach- lead-nurture.” And it’s making a difference especially with the boys. Of course, you have to have faith in the kids in the first place rather than considering kids to be “problems” to be managed or solved.
Some of the elements introduced in the schools are

Algebra labs. High school kids are paid not just to tutor but to teach the junior higher under certified teachers who manage but don’t do the teaching. The junior higher in turn tutor the younger.

The parent program. 10 to 15 a year are trained and put in the schools—now each cohort takes ownership of their task—“this is our 3rd grade” or lunchroom, or… PS, most parents do care, but you have to provide supports to help them get around the barriers. The parents also do the safety patrols to school and in school, tutor, act as greeters (THAT HAS MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE IN BUILDING A SENSE THAT THIS SCHOOL IS PARENT-FRIENDLY) and form mothers and dads clubs.

Social workers in schools (takes outside funding). Something called IDPA-free from the state under a Dr. George Smith of MPI and Associates. This includes trauma counseling and 10-week sessions with groups of students.
Safe transportation to schools and recreation centers. A Faith partnership, in which the church vans take the kids to school and home in small batches—it’s helping with the ongoing absence and tardiness problems both Payne and Trotter noted. It’s under the clergy committee, with leveraging resources an centers collaboratively, creating a neighborhood directory of safe centers and services, and adopt-a-school. Note- the big problem for kids remains that the streets are not safe for them after 5 pm in Woodlawn and the feeder neighborhoods.
Reentry program for people who have returned from prison ages 16-24 but don’t have schooling and skills- Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corp. sponsors 60 at ex offenders.

Health Committee—immunizations are now up 15% so fewer kids are being sent home in January.

Hope is to have a social service center at 65th and Kenwood.

There is a new collaboration with the Chicago Children’s Museum.

Chapin Hall is starting a Needs Assessment Survey (what families and children need for support)- 1600 will be interviewed, with 200 in-depths.

There is also a collaboration with Ounce of Prevention anti-violence program now also serving birth to age 8.
Freedom Schools will take place in summer. (This and the previous 5 items and the clergy committee work are also in conjunction with Hyde Park Career Academy)

Request that Woodlawn form a CPS Area—under consideration by CPS. And it is a Illinois Safety Area funded under IDPA Neighborhood Recovery Initiatives, which brings 80-100 jobs for youth and others for adults. Much of this is under Magic and something called MAP housed at 1st Presbyterian. There is policing team diagnostics, a parent component with stipends. Purpose is to rebuild the “village” block by block [which was the subtitle of today’s summit].

A new executive director of the Promise Community is about to be announced.
Major efforts need to be made on attendance, student mobility (which is 35%) and teacher mobility (60% have been leaving these schools within 4 years), building partnership with the high school, and realizing a new team of principals and police leadership.
To summarize the Promise model as articulated by the principals:
Involving and being responsible to knowledgeable, responsible parents;
Bringing in and training new and buy-in educators;
Principal and administrators being coaches and evaluators—principal spends half the day in classrooms;
Helping families and communities and their groups adopt the schools.