EDUCATION & YOUTH

STRATEGIES & PROJECTS

Education & Youth Goal

Improve the lives of youth and families through expanded educational opportunities, arts and culture, higher education, job opportunities and safety.

STRATEGY 1

 

Address overcrowding in our CPS elementary schools

Overcrowding in our elementary schools threatens to undo the positive school culture
and achievement our schools’ staff, faculty, students and families have built. Long-term
plans for addressing this issue should be made in conjunction with the community. Our parents and local groups will work with CPS to redraw school boundary lines to better distribute students in the area and advocate for and be involved with plans to build a new neighborhood elementary school to alleviate overcrowding.

In addition, a new parent-led coalition on Education/Youth will guarantee community input and involvement when CPS and local schools undertake changes and improvements. We will work to institutionalize the role of parents in the schools, helping to embed parent mentors in all our local schools and building increase parent engagement in the schools with strong Local School Councils (LSCs).

STRATEGY 2

 

Expand youth programming and foster youth leadership

We can and will address the current gap between what the young people in our community need to reach their potential and what is available by creating new opportunities for youth activity, expanding existing youth programming in and outside of school, and strengthening local partnerships. A Belmont Cragin Youth Leadership Program will allow youth to shape the future of our community, address safety concerns, and grow as civic leaders. We will form a Belmont Cragin Arts Collective in conjunction with local arts and youth organizations and create community art projects in public spaces. Our parks and open spaces will be improved, including renovation of the Cragin Park fieldhouse, a new field at Steinmetz High School, and forming a Park Advisory Council for Riis Park.

A new Belmont Cragin neighborhood Community Center will be a safe and supportive community space for youth and families, a flexible site that can house a wide range of programs, including tutoring, recreational activities, sports, health care, and adult workforce training. We will also support the expansion of after-school activities in our local schools and with organizations such as Girls in the Game, BuildOn, and Hoops in the Hood. We can increase summer employment opportunities by partnering with local businesses to provide our youth with paid internships or part-time/temporary jobs (see Businesses and Jobs Strategy 3).

STRATEGY 3

 

Improve the performance and perception of our neighborhood high schools

Our neighborhood high schools are resources that have served our community for generations. As strong proponents of our neighborhood public schools, we are committed to supporting our high schools and ensuring they have the capabilities to o er our students a quality education. We resolve to help these high schools improve rather than opening new charter high schools that further deplete their resources.

We will partner with the City Colleges of Chicago and local institutions to create a college readiness program for high school youth to increase their graduation and college acceptance rates. A new intergenerational mentorship program will allow youth to interact with working professionals and seniors in the community for academic and career advice and support.

To increase enrollment, we will help strengthen the schools’ marketing and recruitment efforts, including promoting achievements and having honest conversations with local residents and youth. We will expand culinary and vocational programming at Prosser High School and establish a community school model at another high  school, with expanded out-of-school programs and supports for students and opportunities for parents and other residents to pursue career enhancing classes and workshops specific to their needs.

STRATEGY 4

 

Increase education and training programs and resources for parents

Education is not only for youth. Our community needs increased access to ESL classes, GED classes, educational workshops, and technical training/bridge programs for adults, which we will achieve by building partnerships between local community organizations, churches and schools and o ering seminars and workshops in local, convenient and trusted locations. We will build on the parent mentor programs in the community and add parent university programming, as well.

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