Getting kids to school safely is step #1

Since moving to Chicago, I’ve become accustomed to scanning the news every morning, and unfortunately, reading about shootings and stabbings throughout the Chicago area. Yes, there was violence in other cities that I’ve lived, but not even close to the same extent as Chicago. Recently, there have been numerous shooting at, or within a few blocks of, schools. Yesterday, a student was shot in the leg as he walked to school with friends (Teen shot near Gage Park High School). Some CPS students think that it’s odd to meet someone who hasn’t been shot before.

How can we expect students to perform and teachers go to work when they fear being shot walking to school? Altering the working conditions; aligning the program, assessments, and curriculum; ensuring that school leaders have autonomy to make decisions; and providing students the supports they need to learn, are all crucial pieces of turning around low-performing schools, but we must also address the crime and violence that surrounds these schools. “Fixing” a school without impacting the broader community will not produce the  results that we desire, and that we need. Communities must come together in support of turn arounds and not fight to keep the status quo.

While change may be uncertain, if we don’t make some major changes soon, the future for these students will be all too certain.

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