Promises programs for schools and the Woodlawn Children's Promise Community and Community Action Councils
formerly "Zone"

Presented by the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, its Schools Committee, and its website

To Community Schools (a similar approach) including CIS on getting parents & programs in schools.
To HPKCC Schools Committee prospectus on developing a coalition for a promises-like Developmental Assets-Building program for Hyde Park and adjacent schools and youth
To HPKCC Schools Committee and Schools homepage
To portal page for databases of promises, asset-building and youth programs including our printable basic Youth Programs Database and the extended database (Afterschool)
To: Education Resources for schools, educators and parents; Schools Directory; School/Education News; News from/of Schools; About University of Chicago schools and education support programs and research
Woodlawn News - Choice Neighborhoods Grant has Woodlawn Promise Community component.
How to Walk to School- HPKCC Schools Committee talk Feb. 2010. Community Schools. Defining Excellence.

Meetings etc.

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 -

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.

Executive Director of the Woodlawn Children's Promise Community (at Sexton School)- Nichole Woodward.

None of the 4 Chicago applicants including Woodlawn received first-round funding.
But the September 2011 comprehensive Choice Neighborhoods $30M federal grant includes Promise Zone funding- see in Woodlawn News, also a component in UC-city MOU.

Herald Sept. 29, 2010. Broken Promise- Fed cash for U. of C. plans for Woodlawn fall through. By Daschell M. Phillips

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that 21 nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher learning would receive the Promise Neighborhoods grant last Tuesday. None of the four Chicago community organizations, which included the Woodlawn Children's Promise Zone, were awarded grants.

The Promise Neighborhood grants are an Obama administration initiative that was developed to enable neighborhoods to replicate the holistic approach to preschool through college educational work of the Harlem Children's Zone.

In anticipation of receiving the grant the Woodlawn Children's Promise Zone, founder Bishop Arthur Brazier, pastor emeritus of Apostolic Church of God, partnered with the University of Chicago's School of Social Work Administration (SSA) and a host of smaller community-based programs to coordinate nine Woodlawn area public and charter schools and streamline them with daycare and housing, health care and other social service programs.

The WCPZ was able to secure a $25,000 grant from teh Don Thomson Family Foundation, a $100,000 grant from the Office of Civic Engagement at the University of Chicago and a $1.6 million community schools grant from Chicago Public Schools to cover expenses such as the Promise Neighborhood grant application process and to organize the first round of tutoring and other services for the program.

As a partner, SSA assigned one intern to each of the nine schools participating in the project to do small-group work with students, individual counseling, social-emotional learning programs, parent outreach, attendance, tardiness and medical compliance. Principal per group meetings, parent support group meetings and pro bono legal services from DLA Piper law firm were also put into place.

Community organizations in Englewood, Roseland and Logan Square also submitted proposals. Neither Brazier nor Charles Payne, SSA professor and technical advisor to the project, returned phone calls to comment on the future of the program and whether they will apply for the second round of grant funding next year.

Here first is a 7 point program suggested by Dr. Carl Bell. As in N'Digo. Easy to say.... hard to do. Part sounds a lot like assets-building and promises. Gary Ossewaarde

1. Rebuild the village.

2. Provide access to ancient and modern technology to provide practical systems for the application of knowledge.

3. Provide a sense of connectedness by creating situations, programs and relationships that foster a sense of connection, attachment and belonging to a larger group or common goal.

4. Provide an opportunity to learn social and emotional skills.

5. Provide opportunities to increase self-esteem.

6. Provide an adult protective shield; that is, monitoring, providing supervision, discipline and a caring adult presence.

7. Minimizing trauma by developing an individual's spirituality.

What it adds up to, he says is: "solutions provid[ing] teenagers with much needed brakes."


Latest contacts, meetings about (note, name may change from Zone to Community)

Woodlawn Children's Promise Zone, 6320 S. Dorchester Ave. FC-100, Chicago, IL 60637.
773 256-6940, fax 773 256-6949. (No independent website was found - visit or New Communities website.)

Promise initiatives explored for Woodlawn in late 2009

Summary at a February 2010 forum on What's Up in Woodlawn.

From the Maroon: The big concerns are education (see Promise Zone) and affordable housing. Latesha Dickerson asked for volunteers to tutor in Woodlawn. inevitably the meeting turned to University relations. Nimocks said teh University needs to part of rather than apart from Woodlawn- which drew applause.

According to the Herald February 24, the meeting was heavy on information on the Woodlawn Children's Promise Zone. Leads for the latter include Rudy Nimocks (UC Comm. Partnerships), Ald. Willie Cochrane (20th), Arvin Strange of New Communities Program, Latesha Dickerson, its academic enrichment Program director. Derek McNeal of STOP (and Bishop Brazier?) was also on the panel. Networking existing schools and community partners into the WCPZ is a top priority. Should Woodlawn be selected in the federal RFP, it would get $25 million over 5 years. Fundraising is underway and several grants were announced (only in the 10s of thousands from Community Trust and Don thomson Foundation, more from UC Civic engagement. CPS has given $1.6 million-- for 18 months of academic enrichment, sport, arts programming and health initiatives. This is especially targeted for summer math and drama camps for example. Certain things can be done now and independently But other things cannot should Woodlawn not be designated, including prenatal care, parent education and job and social service centers.

SSA has assigned an intern to each of the nine schools in the zone, to do small group work work with students, individual counseling social-emotional learning programs and parent outreach, attendance, tardiness, medical compliance. There are also principal peer group meetings, parent support group meetings, and tutoring. Parents bet pro bono legal services from DLA Piper law.

What it's about: Of note in 2009 is a challenge by President Obama and others to establish pilot programs, in part federally funded, to try to replicate or improve upon programs such as the Harlem Children's Zone, which takes building-assets to a more comprehensive intervention level. The purpose is to use such programs to break cycles of poverty and stressed neighborhoods. There are active efforts being made to identify and see if several such neighborhoods in Chicago could qualify for the funds and for new public-private partnerships. Sections of the University of Chicago have been eyeing such a consortium engaging for example 15 Woodlawn and schools and their attendance areas, tent. called the Woodlawn Initiative. (In December 2009, 2009, Dr. Karanja of Centers for New Horizons told the Lakefront Outlet that Bronzeville was not included in consultations and that Woodlawn, Bronzeville, and Englewood should work together on such an initiative.) Two other Chicago areas seeking such a program are Logan Square and Southwest. Education Department RFP is expected to come out in December or early 2010.

The HPKCC Schools committee has been going on a separate track since before this new wave caught on, and wants to make sure that schools, children, and program providers in Hyde Park-Kenwood (which have difficulty qualifying for help as too affluent or not impoverished enough regardless of the income level of students attending here, often living in other, impoverished neighborhoods) also have access to such opportunities as are appropriate with their needs and circumstances, in concert with the whole South Side. To learn about our (evolving) ideas, visit the Assets-Building Coalition Prospectus page, as from the July 2009 Conference Reporter.

From the minutes of the October 22, 2009 HPKCC Schools Committee. See focus interpretation below.

Rudy Nimocks spoke about the the Harlem Children Zone mentorship Program that takes children from infancy to college. This program is being carried out in 10 communities nationwide as needing the benefit of such a program.. Its 100-page report is on the internet. The Woodlawn area has a committee that is trying to apply this concept to Woodlawn along with Bishop Brazier.

[A federally selected] neighborhood gets 5 million dollars that must be matched by other sources of money. If it works well in the Woodlawn area as a pilot, From Cradle to College will spread over the country, says Nimocks. It will attempt to replicate what is being done in Harlem. The program includes a holistic approach, meaning services are available in one place: mentoring, tutoring, etc. on premises. Children who are not in the promise zone are referred out to other agencies, but without any follow-up discernable. [In Harlem, they do not have "magnet", "neighborhood" etc. schools--the resources and students are evenly distributed and the schools are true community and service providing centers, vs Chicago.]

[What do we have in Chicago or locally, and what might we want?]

Everyone agreed that adult role models are important. The Search Institute identifies 40 assets in 2 categories: External Assets and Internal Assets. They include engaging adults, activating sectors, invigorating programs, influencing civic decisions and mobilizing young people.

[N]oted Kenwood’s After-School program is funded with $16 million dollars. After School Matters is chaired by Maggie Daley. Kids are paid $500 to be in the program. One example of things they do is to have a group make a demo tape with music, dancing, singing, choir, etc. [Outside of ASM there is little offered.]

[M]entioned[:] working with schools to get more services, a tutor-mentor connection. Daniel Basill of the 4th Presbyterian Church runs such a program There is a web site for mapping tutoring opportunities in the city in order to connect services to needs.

The example of Spry Community Academy in Little Village was mentioned: The school is now pre-K through H.S.

PACs, Parent Advisory Councils, are funded through the CPS for volunteer work, but not all schools have PACs.

Kenwood also has free classes funded by $8000.00.

HPAC: Hyde Park Art Center. All schools participate in this organization. Little Black Pear also has program.
Reavis has a clinic with a full-time nurse and has instituted a parent program.
Kozminski is a 1-8 school.
Ray has 2 pre-schools, one half-day and one whole-day. Price and Shoesmith have instituted pre-schools. [It was noted that after preschool chances for many children go down and they never catch up.]

Someone asked what happens to the kids who move away and out of the school?

Murray is [an example of] a stable [and high performing] school [-it is a magnet school].

The group the Schools Committee wants to focus on is the Middle School. Ages 12-18 are usually considered too old for after-school programs [and c 9th grade is where many pupils don't adjust and really start to fall behind]. For children that age not much is available without paying and the children must be chauffeured to that place. Suggested activities include: Girl Scouts. Sports, drama. Rudy mentioned a University Art Complex in the Woodlawn area. Ratner Gym has programs but the membership is expensive.

There is an organization with program to connect with retired music teachers for free. Children’s hip-hop music and colorful language today may not match their interests.

The Neighborhood Club teaches banking skills.
The Little Black Pearl and the YMCA have programs.
Kenwood used to have free classes but not anymore.

City: Resources Directory for children: Steve Brown, sociologist, Hospitals give mothers web-sites to check.

Resources from the outside can be plugged in but must deal with school bureaucracies.

Woodlawn Social Services Network lists 12-13 organizations that all go in different directions, including inter-faith groups. There is no umbrella group.
[A] Health Fair was held recently at 63rd and Ingleside

The group considered where they might try to place their efforts. Our original thought was to work with Canter School and Colleen Conlan, the principal. The Committee must put together a program proposal: Rudy Nimocks suggested older read to younger. Carnegie School has such a program [and Ray?] .Someone mentioned that Bret Harte has a hi-rise building being built next to it and there might be a possibility there.

The Schools Committee will continue to try to meet with people from the University and elsewhere and we consider what resources the community can bring to bear, what kind of collaborative the Committee wants to commit to.

Nancy passed around copies of the Survey for Students.

[Nancy included in her report links to some studies from Chapin Hall that might be of help from Chapin Hall: evaluating After School Matters, How Active are Teens, and Adults and Bullying: Go to]

Focusing the possible HPKCC Schools Committee role in promoting asset-development and a more comprehensive approach to child development in greater Hyde Park and Kenwood public schools
By Gary Ossewaarde
The following draws upon on a discussion with Rudy Nimocks, UC Director of Community Partnerships, including member comments, at the HPKCC Schools Committee meeting October 22, 2009. It is not minutes. It is a focus interpretation by Gary Ossewaarde.

The Harlem Kids Zone program is about 25 years old. It depends on enrollment of families and on continuous fundraising and is in a school system that is run directly by the city of New York. The school system does not have different kinds of schools such as magnet--and perhaps because of this parents don't send the "best" kids to one set of schools, usually at a distance while shunning "neighborhood" schools, sticking the later with the rest of the students as in Chicago. The Kids Zone program is in all schools in Harlem and its key is that the schools are real community, activity and service centers providing a holistic approach for students and families. Teacher accountability and all around assessment is strong. 97 percent of graduates in this low-income, underserved neighborhood go to college.

The Woodlawn Initiative has done a feasibility and attributes-of-envisioned-program study, by University of Chicago, and U of C and committee members have visited key players in Washington to ascertain what the U.S. Department of Education will want in a program and proposal for replicated promise zones, in response to the federal RFP that is due out in December 2009. As envisioned in Washington, each Zone or pilot area would get 5 million a year over 5 years, which has to be matched (apparently feasible according to feelers). The idea is that the program be scalable and capable of expansion to other neighborhoods. Specific programs are to be innovative, capture minds, and serve the whole person. CPS appears supportive of this and similar proposals from other parts of the city. The Woodlawn COMMITTEE WROTE A 100 PAGE REPORT. This committee is led by Bishop Brazier and Prof. Charles Payne. Others include Rudy Nimocks, Duel Richardson, Wallace Goode from UC, neighborhood leaders, and of course CPS staff. (Note that this initiative is separate from those of LISC/New Communities.) Focus subcommittees include safety, education, health/nutrition, and other services that the community would have in the schools as well as academics and student experiences/exposures.

A big obstacle is working around the fact that most potential partner programmers and services tend to go in separate directions and compete rather than coordinate with each other or parcel programs or territories. Second, Chicago schools are not geared to be holistic service centers-- kids and families needing help tend to be "referred" to services or programs, with little CPS or other follow up and little in-house health, social or counseling services [the model on the East Coast?] and that there is often (vs. Harlem schools) little real coordination within schools between various academic departments and with staff-services such as counseling. A third problem is funding, including that only half of the education money is said to go to things that directly interface with the child in CPS schools. Fourth, after age 12: the programs drop off, they appear to be less accessible (kids have to be taken there), and there is a drop off of interest on the part of many youth, who have a big agenda whose social needs, at least as they see them, may not mesh with current structured programs. A fifth problem is cost of programs--not only high cost but that little in or out of school is free. Sixth, leadership at each school varies greatly, plus unions are sometimes unsupportive of programs not by their members or that require a lengthened teacher day or load without added compensation.

Current models and initial needed knowledge and initial conditions

Area schools holding promise. One school that does model an encompassing, preschool-high school program like a promise school is Spy(e?) Community Academy. Reavis School is modeling a similar approach, including both a big funded pilot project focusing inter alia on a parent development center and programs and an in-house nurse funded by Quad Communities. Kozminski has moved a fair distance that way, including year-round and longer hours program. The following have preschools: Ray, Price, Shoesmith. Murray is a stable, diverse, high-performing school- it’s a magnet but also has lots of testing and evaluation/assessment, teacher accountability, and parental involvement. In King High, in-school coordination and convergence upon getting each child the help they need were said to be effective.

Naperville has a Kids Matter program that spreads the services and experiences over many kinds of institutions, programs and places, not just in schools, and has a large variety of program based actions including job and volunteer fairs and matching and community service hours. It also has strong newsletters in the community and has an input in school newsletters that get shared, and puts conversation-starters for example in restaurants. Note that this program, like Promise Zone, started from observation that many kids were being abused or socially and health-wise neglected.

Brought up is the importance of conducting a reliable assessment of needs and the extent to which these needs are being met and what various schools are actually doing now.

Another need suggested is to get the providers including health and service to programs into area or broader collaboratives. What would the goal or focus of such a collaborative be?

Another approach to finding some of the answers and building buy-in and support suggested was to just start doing something perhaps in one receptive school (Canter?) or a set of grades/ages, such as the schools that are middle schools and/or have 7th and 8th grades, or a 6th grade that is promising for one or another reason).

An alternative was starting with pre-K because at some point there needs to be longitudinal study through grade progression of what is being implemented, what's working, and results.
Members pointed out that whatever one does, the organization has to stay involved and make sure its goals are at least being served, and not just develop something and turn it over to another.
Another approach suggested is supporting volunteer groups that provide services/activities in schools, such as reading to kids (not mentioned at this meeting: Real Men Read, one that goes into schools).

What else do we have here already that can be built upon?
After School Matters [contacts and description in the database documents in] is among the largest and strongest such broad target program in the country, but after that resources are scarce and uneven—as ASM is also. After School Matters has $16 million in 59 locations, many other than schools. The hub is Gallery 37. Kids get paid to work with outside program providers (such as for making a demo tape as at Kenwood) and this sometimes draws students away from standard programs such as choir or band. After School Matters is only in Kenwood (not Canter).

Another is Tutor Mentor Connection. It provides, inter alia, maps matching tutors and needs in every part of the city. Head is Daniel Bassill, Another example of a city-wide targeted-need program mentioned was Gear Up for progressing through high school, getting into and graduating from college.

A Resource Directory has been developed by Steve Brown. It surveys the service and health providers of the whole southeast quadrant of the city. Woodlawn has a Woodlawn Social Service Network that was said not to be getting full bang for the buck, but the AKA Sorority service center was said to be-- could these and others be brought together? There is a Kenwood Social Service Network. Nothing in Hyde Park? [U of C leads a more limited Urban Health Collaborative but is starting a broader survey of broad-health related resources-- for a smaller area than Brown's?]

PAC programs are working to leverage parental involvement and volunteering. It's especially strong in North Kenwood. Kenwood Academy’s PAC brings in speakers for parents, such as the head of the local health department. Along that line, there was agreement that schools and the community have to reach out to and treat every kid in a school and their parents as THEIRS, whether they come from the area or not-- and conversely, some schools may need to be approached about the impression they discourage locals kids from applying. A harder problem was thought to be getting parents to send their children to even the best schools near home, let along having all area schools be such that parents would eagerly send their kids there, an long-term desire of the Schools Committee. And there were said to be just a few good schools and a ton of bad schools-- how much of this is a vicious circle, how much due to magnet emphasis or limited and unevenly distributed funds.

So the options for Schools Committee were thought to include:

1. Pick a school or age group. Canter is interested in our help, has a need and age group the committee is interested in, takes students from several local elementary schools, [and is getting physical help from TIF], but has the drawback in the kind of help that might be given in having many students from out of area. Harte also seems interested in us and has real and potential partners/funders but could use more. Kenwood, in a similar condition, is also is interested in us- ditto to Harte. All of these schools have aspects or divisions that excel and others that are in the middle among area schools, with potential to raise their bar. (It was also noted that these schools were among those that most consistently come to our networking dinners.)

2. Do an assessment/survey of assets needs and current program/successes maybe in a couple of schools. (Find out if this is needed first!)

3. Identify what resources the community can bring to bear on one or more of the above or in a school, and garner them along with "community support". (Implicitly from discussion: promote in some way an "assets-building" program and/or seed the start of something like what is envisioned in the Woodlawn Initiative for the greater Hyde Park and Kenwood schools).

4. Bring volunteers to work in schools (difficulties were noted including varying degrees of reception from schools).

(Thought to be well beyond our means: turning a school around).
[Not discussed: whether the committee buys into the comprehensive/holistic approach to schools as more than schoolhouses but community centers. Also, relationship of the four foregoing options to our other mission of nurturing and serving as resource to Local Schools Councils. Note: the expansive vision that Woodlawn Initiative represent fits mission of the Conference in that HPKCC seeks communities in which people wish to live and can—attractive, caring, diverse, and secure. But the focus of the Schools Committee is “good education” for all students with good life outcomes. If the broader goal is embraced, one likely need is expansion of current or creation of additional online youth and family resource databases and their dissemination. -GO]

Governing constraint in decision and execution: What we can direct to schools, and how will depend in part on finding a workable feedback loop:
1) principals who will buy in and give us their needs and preferred general task that mesh with our goals and abilities,
2) a program to determine, gather and direct resources in ways that fit our and schools' goals (and give bang for the buck and effort).

The committee will pick its priorities and develop short and long-term actions. Leaders will continue to find studies and reports that help us in this. Leaders will meet with potential advisors, including with help from Rudy. Leaders have consulted with Canter Principal Colleen Conlan about what is necessary to do a pilot assets survey at Canter.



More reports on background and research/experience behind the Woodlawn Promise Zone initiative

Here we have a feature on a U of C student study on need and potential for Promise Neighborhoods in Chicago, in conjunction with the city and CPS, locally helped and served by U of C, as a way of addressing poverty and neighborhood rebuilding. The feature is from the July 8, 2009 Hyde Park Herald and was written by Kate Hawley.

U. of C. students study "Promise Neighborhoods"

A University of Chicago class has produced a report suggesting ways President Barack Obama's administration could focus its anti-poverty efforts in Chicago, and some city and university officials are listening.

Titled "Chicago Promise: A Policy Report on Reinventing the Harlem Children's Zone," the report takes up Obama's main poverty-fighting initiative -- to create 20 "Promise Neighborhoods" across the country.

These geographic areas would be modeled after the Harlem Children's Zone in New York City, which intervenes in the lives of children from birth to college through an interlocking series of programs to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

The report, released in May, offers an analysis of the Harlem Children's Zone and then looks at ways similar ideas might be implemented in 10 Chicago communities: Austin, East and West Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, "Little Village," Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing, the Quad Communities, South Shore and Washington Park/Woodlawn.

It was produced by some 60 undergraduates in a Practicum in Field Research Methods class, offered through the public policy studies program. The goal was to get students outside the university walls to gather research around the city. "It was pretty engaging, and it was really intense," said Chad Broughton, a senior lecturer in the program, who also taught the course.

Calling itself the Chicago Policy Research Team, the class presented its findings to Dr. Anthony Raden, deputy commissioner of policy, advocacy and grants for the city's Department of Family and Support Services. Raden wasn't immediately available for comment, and Broughton said he didn't know if the department plans to act on the report.

"The university has shown some interest in the report as well, Broughton said, adding that his class made a presentation to Ann Marie Lipinski, vice president for civic engagement. Lipinski was also unavailable for comment. In Broughton's view, the university could prove a useful partner in a local Promise Neighborhoods initiative by offering "rigorous program evaluation" -- a particular strength of the Harlem Children's Zone. Besides its financial might and its potential student volunteer force, the university could also offer expertise through its Urban Education Institute, he said.

The university is not the only local entity to jump on the idea of bringing a Promise Neighborhood to Chicago. Harold Lucas, president of the Black Metropolis Convention and Tourism Council and a longtime community activist, has also talked about applying for the funds.

Nationwide, the competition could be intense. Obama announced the Promise Neighborhoods idea during his campaign and earlier this year included it in his budget outline, with a goal of accepting grant applications next year. The program could be funded through public-private partnerships, adn though it doesn't yet have a dollar figure attached, Obama has said he expects it will cost the government "a few billion dollars" a year.


Background on the Woodlawn initiative and education and community research and experience on which it is based. From one of several table discussions at the University of Chicago community update conclave, December 17, 2009

Gary Ossewaarde is solely responsible for the understandings below.

Table discussion leaders were Dr. Charles Payne and Bishop Arthur Brazier.

The exploration of what to do to upgrade the schools and community began with the community quality of life plan discussions led by the LISC/New Communities and including TWO, WECAN and others. They were looking for programs that might make a difference and produce real change. Some changes they thought might make a difference included having a mixed income population with less dependant on public aid, and education restructuring.

With regard to education, they went to the leader of Area 15 schools, assuring her their goal was not to be adversarial or militant but to pursue major ways to assist each other for improvement. (Noted: it is essential to break down mutual suspicion between community leaders and educators.) One of the hardest problems the Area leader told them needed help was violence among girls.

The focus group and the University were already furnishing tutorial and other programs in some schools such as Dumas, but wanted an approach involving all nine Woodlawn schools. All approached at first were daunted by the audacity of the project. Dr. Charles Payne agreed to lead promoting the challenge then developing a program and getting the ducks in a row including with CPS. A breakthrough was getting the principals on board, especially Cynthia Miller, then the local school councils. Lastly they met with groups of parents to see what they want.

It's only during the phase of looking at specific programs that they discovered the Harlem Promise Zone, which they visited. Even now, that is only one of the successful major programs or research that feeds into the model. It was serendipitous that the Obama administration wants to replicate Harlem in several cities, and the Woodlawn initiative will continue regardless of whether it is awarded the federal funding and designation. The University of Chicago support was reported as tremendous. The initiative leaders are convinced that an anchor institution such as U of C is necessary for an initiative with the scope and scale envisioned--so much so that, quite frankly, the leaders have a second purpose-- placing the University's resources directly in the community. And simultaneously, from a community-building perspective acknowledge they are reviving some "1960s" models, including organizing for schools and communities door-to-door, parent to parent.

What are some differences from Harlem? Woodlawn has half as many children, who would have to be intensively engaged in larger classes and schools with very little social services and many fewer partner resources (corporate and social agency) available. The public schools are different here, it will be a change in climate to make schools full-service community centers. Classes in Harlem schools are much smaller-- the job here will have to be done without cutting class size: the leaders believe they have found models that make that possible.

Different models will have to applied here in meeting the need to have authority over the schools. (Actually, Harlem does not have local control over principal hiring). CPS has agreed on a method for this. (This writer wonders whether this might lead to community and lsc conflicts.)

Important will be engaging parents in their schools, organizing them including to demand tough standards and tough principal hiring, and making parents knowledgeable consumers of education. Also, providing means to help committed parents to stay with the school all the way through-- rent and legal help or more.

From the UC charter schools and the UC Urban Education Institute research, the initiative takes the following. Start with prospective parents, demand higher order skills from the start-- not learning from "notebooks" but by doing research and having to make an argument to support a conclusion, for example, and having graduation and enrollment in and graduation from college not just goals but assumption and requirement, with focused help to do this--maps for getting from here to there (90% of UC charter kids are graduating and going to college vs at best 55% of CPS), having a longer school day- 30% more as at Woodlawn High, with overlapping day and late staff, with after school programs directly connected to the curriculum, and finally having the right organization as well as the right program.

Developing a coherent leadership and program is a must, but so is a stable set of teachers and pupils. The zone is starting right now to 1) create a professional culture among staff; teacher recruitment and support and incentives to stay; improved working conditions and resources for teachers including a climate of respect rather than top-down or repression (said to be the traditional model in CPS, at least in the past); ongoing development; ways to get teachers to buy into doing more as well as to be engaged. They are working with CPS to have a "thin contract" so persistently low performing teachers can be replaced -- but the quickie method of "clean out the teachers" and or "yank the principal" is bad.

Having the right principals is essential (having LSCs did raise the principal standard at least some). A problem is stereotyping such as parents wanting males as models, when the male candidate(s) may not be the best or preferring a nice or plaint principal. Principal pool and training is now uneven and not always focused to what is needed, although some incl. a UC division are working with CPS to fix this. Austin and Atlanta think ten years ahead on what they need in principals and how to have them in place by then. Said: CPS NEEDS A HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN- including parents, principals, teachers and others including HOW TO TEACH AND HOW TO MATCH. Hoped is that Woodlawn can develop and implement a model.

Likewise, LSCs and their training are uneven and training (expert groups dropped it) needs to be focused less on budgets and paperwork and more on principal evaluation and selection, SIPAA improvement plan, and asking the right questions-- and for both principals and LSCs to work together better rather than be adversarial.

Ways and events to get the parents to "stay where they are." A program to go door to door. Counseling before any move is made. Lawyers to help with landlords, rent help, expungement, marital law/counseling and other legal help: Piper is already lined up pro bono. Getting parents to demand the best of principals, staff, student body rather than yanking the kids, showing parents how frequent moves hurt the kids.

Control the pipeline from pregnancy through college, starting major improvements with preschool and working up so students are not hopelessly behind by 3rd/4th grade (motto: "better kids by the 4th grade" vs collective failure and despair), then tackling the major problem time that starts in the grade or two after and through middle school age and the freshman year. The local high school is a problem that has to be tackled now.

Tutoring is a key-- recruitment and funneling into the schools is underway now. Not just "tutors"- Goal is to have a "school or reading buddy" for every child, with continuity. (This is starting with 5 schools, then will go to nine.) A name given as managing this is a C? Gray.
Having lots of aides, including as many parents as possible, was considered a good strategy.

Good afterschool programs including stress on knowing technology and using it well helps, but the heart of a good school is good, caring teachers. Being looked at is rigorous math and science immersion in the 2nd and 3rd grades, like Austin, Atlanta have and which research shows has promise, leads to big improvement in reading, and hooks the kids. Even latter, having advanced classes that normally aren't until at least jr. high, such as algebra at Reavis-- the kids proudly carry those books on top so peers and adults can se that's what WE study--what Blacks and Latinos supposedly can't, won't or aren't smart enough to do. And start career-thinking, choosing, exposure as early as kindergarten. (The Booth and other business schools and corporate partners need to come in.) Develop debate and research teams early. These things can be made to work in our larger classrooms.

More ideas were garnered from World Sport Chicago, which has a pilot program with the U of C Crime Lab and Youth Guidance to teach youth self-governance (with parental involvement) and use sports as a way to guide and focus youth (also MAGIC, Special Programs),
(Joe Strickland),
Fran Bell at YMCA,
UC Office of Special Programs,
Logan Square Neighborhood Association's program-
said to work better than Harlem's on some things especially parent development and training and incorporating platoons of parent and citizen aides in the classroom (school as part of the neighborhood), doing attendance better than any truant system, calm in the halls, getting names and addresses of students and families needing help the most including mothers-at-risk) ,
Voices for Chicago School Reform-Catalyst.

Remember that the challenge, including lack of leadership, goes far beyond the schools-- it's in the community. There are few programs to bring along the leadership, including in community organizations, which often don't know how to act as BOARDS. Umbrellas that could help in schools spend too much time turf-minding (incl. among components), micromanaging, doing real policy and strategic planning, having all the members engaged. "Conflict is not the purpose." Woodlawn Promise has as one purpose to address these and encourage focus on the whole neighborhood and urban failure, with organizations addressing what WP cannot do even with schools as service centers-- health (incl. asthma absence from school, medically incompliant kids who take too long to get into class in the fall), safety, causes of drop-out. Related is the problem of the high school the 9 promise schools feed into. (More programs there won't help.)

Some conclusions reported to the plenary from the other table (Harold Pollack's of SSA) at the Dec. 17 conclave:

The challenge is to grow a person with well-rounded assets and communities with the same. There are many family members including fathers who are or have been incarcerated-- how are these reconnected and meantime students given replacement for what's missing while dad is away? How are families helped in ways besides money? Lots are trying-- how can organizations be connected more deeply into the community? How can U of c students be entice to be more engaged in youth safety and development? How can more of the faith-groups be gotten "off their butts" and collaborating? It's important to bring youth into the planning-- of their programs and the community, making them "part of it."


PowerPoint outline of the Woodlawn Children's Promise Zone, Aug. 2009

Ten-Year Vision

The Woodlawn Schools: Carnegie, Dulles, Fermi, fiske, Sexton, Till, Wadsworth, Woodlawn, Dumas

The Woodlawn School

The Woodlawn Children's Promise Zone

Specific elements fo WCPZ

Harlem Children's Zone

Harlem Children's Zone Sample Programs

Federal Promise Neighborhood Program

University of Chicago Charters

CPS/NKO High school Graduation Rates

[graph, showing NKO rate about 90% and increasing v. CPS c. 55%]

College Enrollment Rates for HS Graduates

[graph, showing CPS in college 2011 and 2012 classes at about 50% of 12th graders (nat'l average %68%), or $28.5% of present 8th graders, v. NKO 8th graders at 86% then 95%. (African American CPS rates were comparable to citywide or just a little under. UC Charter High will graduate its first class in 2010.)]

Yearly Growth: Literacy for K-3 Students at Donoghue

[Pie chart: Less than 1 year of growth- 29%, 1 year- 26%, More than 1 year-45%

Chicago Consortium: Schools are Organizations First

Priorities for the 2009-10 Year?

Stay Where You Are Campaign

From Handout at May 20 2010 panel at the Harris School

(See new contacts at top of page.)

Who We Are

The Woodlawn Children's Promise Zone is a comprehensive, community-based effort to support children, youth and families in Woodlawn. through partnerships with neighborhood schools and community stakeholders, WCPZ seeks to improve the quality of life for children academically, emotionally, socially and physically.

Our goal is to partner with parents and community members on how best to support a child from birth into young adulthood, ensuring holistic development and supporting the path towards college, citizenship and career opportunities.

WCPZ currently works with 9 elementary schools and one high school [negotiations are under way to bring in Hyde Park High School, which would make the group all the schools of Woodlawn]:

Carnegie, Dulles, Dumas, Fermi, Fiske, Sexton, Till, Wadsworth, University of Chicago Charter School Woodlawn Campus, Woodlawn Community School.

What We Do

WCPZ's priority strategies include:

  • Community-wide early intervention in youth development, with emphasis on birth to age 5
  • Literacy tutoring programs in early grades
  • Focus on parent leadership opportunities in Woodlawn schools
  • Coherent, comprehensive and interconnected social services for youth and families
  • Improved academic performance of Woodlawn schools, with a focus on college completion
  • Robust learning opportunities during the summer and before, during and after school
  • Access to high-quality health care
  • Reduction of youth exposure to and/or participation in violence and risky behaviors

How You Can Get Involved

Family and community engagement is critical to the success of the WCPZ, and critical to the academic success of our students!

Here are just a few ways to get involved:

  • Volunteering as a literacy tutor
  • Serving on a WCPZ working committee
  • Participating a a program aide or instructor for Summer University 2010
  • Joining parent and community organizing efforts in the Woodlawn Community

Elaborations at the panel

Short summations: giving kids and families what they would like to have and need.

Conveyor belt birth through college; holistic life approach. (Most kids are NOT getting preschool)

Community participation, investment, accountability, bottom up decision making and permanent planning (a key is block clubs)

Distributed problem-solving; educators and supports as professionals-- continuous problem solvers; Open schools/open practice; work toward community school status for all of them. (Note, both school-building and turnaround are "strong stories"- Sam Dyson.)

Attendance and mobility are keys-- if not in school or moving or family in crisis-- what are the blocks and how can they be solved?

Plan and fund for long-term sustainability (the 2 federal cycles only cover 10 percent). Also plan for scaling up and sharing with other communities.


March 26, 2011 update.

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. (As Ryan Walach reported in the March 31 Weekly News, "Thomas Trotter, the new principal at Hyde Park High School, eagerly emphasized in his presentation the role of the South Side public school as not only a place to educate local kids, but also, and perhaps more crucially, a consistent safe-zone for young people who live in gang turf. In this way, making school a more attractive avenue for students can reduce crime, which is one of the chief antagonists responsible for Chicago's notorious educational achievement gap.")

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.