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CTU, community allies announce launch of sustainable community schools pilot, prepare for upcoming contract fight

CHICAGO, August 7, 2018—After nearly two years of negotiation and struggle, the Chicago Teachers Union and its community allies in the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM) have won formal Chicago Public Schools approval to launch a $10 million pilot program this fall for Sustainable Community Schools (SCS) in 20 neighborhood schools.

CTU officials and GEM partners will hold a press conference on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at CTU headquarters, 1901 W. Carroll Ave., to provide details of the pilot program. The CTU has also released a new white paper, “Sustainable Community Schools: A Path to Real Equity,” that outlines the program’s values, principals and goals.  

The CTU worked in partnership with grassroots allies and community activists to push CPS to deploy the pilot project, after winning a commitment for SCS from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his handpicked Chicago Board of Education in the 2015 contract. After struggling for almost two years to hold CPS to its commitment, CTU officials and stakeholders will talk on Wednesday about how funds will be deployed to foster key goals in the values-driven, research-proven model.

SCS seeks to increase parent and community engagement, improve school climate and address students’ socio-emotional needs. The model also includes trauma services and restorative justice practices, provides students with out-of-school programs, and helps ensure that curriculum is culturally relevant.

The schools in the SCS pilot will integrate the wisdom of community members—many of whom have fought for decades to bring this model to their neighborhood schools—to empower neighborhood schools to deeply value shared leadership and challenge racial inequities. The program will also include essential services such as trauma relief and restorative justice programming, and comes just as Chicago confronts yet another wave of summer violence.

Chicago Teachers Union