In truth it is US, The Bulldog, that pleads ignorance. Not the schools.
Out of 17 schools, we were not able to attend the LSC meetings or other events at these three schools:
Like many community members and probably some parents we are left to reading the reports on the schools. We’ll present those below.
This gives a good opportunity, however, to review how we approached this process. With our template, you can make your own decisions on what is important.
Transparency– There are a number of indicators showing lack of transparency:
- LSC meetings held at inconvenient times,
- Low participation in the Chicago Consortium survey,
- Lack of community involvement in chambers of commerce, community organizations and so on,
- Outright hostility to community interest in school activities and involvement,
- Unfilled openings on the LSC.
- LSC election information put behind barriers.
These impact the amount of community support for the school. While we could examine several schools that standout in their inability to connect to the community, instead let’s point to Coonley and Bell, two schools that have done an excellent job connecting to the outside community for the mutual benefit of both.
Inclusiveness- Many of the schools in Ravenswood have a large Hispanic population. The LSC is often an English speaking group. Tension is being created when the LSC does not make determined efforts to include the Spanish speaking parents in its deliberations. Trumbull, although it has a dysfunctional LSC, has addressed this tension better than any other school we cover through the efforts of Principal Venus Shannon to translate the entire LSC proceedings into real-time Spanish.
Waters is dealing with a move from an informal format to a formalized LSC meeting. This has led to tension on the LSC. We commend them on the decision to adopt a formal structure, but believe the LSC could be more informal in accepting public input on each issue, as other public bodies do.
It is a balance and it is time consuming and it is worth the effort.
Consortium Results– The Chicago Consortium relies on the latest research to determine what it calls the five elements to success. There is a drill down possible to understand specific issues within strengths. LSCs can use this information to make broad decisions about the programs to support with their limited resources.
LSCs should use their bully pulpit to explain to teachers the need for their input and to explain how it will be used.
SIPAA- The Bulldog didn’t go into the SIPAA at each school. The SIPAA is a plan for how the school will advance and improve. Hidden in the SIPAA is a lot of good thinking about the strengths and weakness at each school.
Here, for example, a community member may discover that the school draws on several shelters for its student population. That could have an adverse affect on test scores. It also drives the programs that the school should be offering its population.
Performance Policy- The Performance Policy report is a two page review by CPS of how the school is performing on a number of metrics. The Bulldog used this report extensively in its discussion. However, as we discussed in the case of three schools, Courtenay, Chappell and Hamilton, this report has limits. It simply doesn’t well into the future in our opinion. A better source for forecasting is the Consortium report.
Limited Report- The Bulldog has only examined 14 North Side schools. The three schools on this page are not counted among those 14. Ravenswood children, even before moving, could easily be in 11 additional high schools and five additional elementary schools with LSCs in the North Attendance Area.
Another four elementary and nine high schools are charter schools and do not have LSCs.
Parents and community members who wish to help the community, can contact The Bulldog to establish coverage of these public and other, private, schools.
James Barrios (parent)
Read the LSC documents on DocumentCloud
Fidel Campos (community)
Lindsay Smith (community)
Susan Ridihalgh (community)
Read the LSC documents on DocumentCloud