Notes from the South-Side Community Engagement Forum at Kennedy-King College

Thanks to parent Joy Clendenning for taking these notes and sharing them with us!

CPS Community Engagement Forum

Oct. 25, 2012

Kennedy-King College

Notes (not a formal report) by Joy Clendenning, Oct. 29, 2012

I did not take notes on everything and there may be things I misunderstood.

Registration/food:  there was a sign-in sheet, no checking of a list. We were given a packet and assigned a table and invited to get dinner. The packet included the agenda, worksheet #1, worksheet #2, worksheet #3,  Space Utilization Standards, CPS Performance Policy Overview, Summary of SB 630,  and a handout from FaCE called “2012-13 Resources for Families at  a Glance”.

There were about 75 people in the room; during the keypad voting up to 44 people voted – I wondered whether the other about 30 people in the room were running or observing the event.

Introduction: Phil Hampton of FaCE gave a welcome in which he stressed that this is just the beginning, just a first step, and he also apologized for people being invited so late or not being invited at all. He welcomed the Aldermen from the 20th ward and the 17th ward.

Welcome: Adrian Willis, Englewood-Gresham Network Chief gave some background about the current CPS situation – CPS is trying to implement some major new programs (such as the Common Core) and there is budget stress and part of the budget stress is from so many empty classrooms.  500,000 seats and only 400,000 students.  140 schools which are less than 50% utilized.  75 overcrowded schools.  50 facilities need major structural work.  123,000 students are in low-performing schools.


Keypad polling: The facilitator (a consultant? He was the same one who was at the Woodlawn meeting I went to in May, and the same tech people were there, and I think this is a company which is consulting with CPS and FaCE), did a keypad exercise with the group.  It gives you a sense of who is in the room.  The number that stuck out to me was 22% institutional partners – I think there was at least one AUSL person at each of about 10-12 tables. I would be interested to know: Who was there? Who was invited?

Presentation #2: Adrian Willis presented statistics about Englewood-Gresham and Lake Calumet-Rock Island networks. 

111 schools

Performance data:

18% level 1; CPS 26%

34% level 2; CPS 39%

48% level 3; CPS 35%

53 level 3 schools serving 24,000 students

Space Utilization data:

5% overcrowded; CPS 13%

24% efficient; CPS 37%

71% underutilized; CPS 50%

5 overcrowded schools and 37 schools which are less than 50% full.

In Auburn-Gresham there are AUSL schools, magnet schools, charter schools, traditional neighborhood schools, Montessori charter school, regular Montessori school, and STEM school.


Discussion #1: Each table was asked to discuss top 3 priorities for these categories:

A) Additional supports for students, teachers, and principals during the school day (eg academic programs such as IB or career education, increased security staff, access to technology)

B) Additional support for students and families beyond the school day (eg sports programs, parent education programs, health clinics).

C)    Facility improvements (eg playgrounds, green space, air conditioning

D)Other priorities not covered above.

Our group discussed for a while; our facilitator (Englewood-Gresham's FaCE manager) facilitated and an assistant entered info into a laptop.  Eventually the whole room regrouped to look at each category and vote on ideas that had been entered. My table included:  a facilitator, a data entry assistant,  a principal from a 2007 turn-around, AUSL elementary school, me, AUSL staff (something from recruiting I think), a community liaison from a hospital (maybe Hartgrove?) who also serves on the Far South and Bronzeville CACs, and someone from Metropolitan Family Services who also serves on the Far South CAC (throughout the evening, the CAC members definitely knew a lot about stuff).

Presentation #3: Adam Anderson, Officer of Portfolio, Planning and Strategy presented information about the planning process.  He commented that this is the 1ststep in a process.  That our students are not failing, we are failing our students.  That he wants to be sure we are all speaking the same language. He said he hopes we will meet early and often to discuss this – that is his promise tonight.

These may be notes from later in the evening: Adam Anderson explained that CPS is developing a 10-year vision and this is step one of developing a Master Plan for the district.  They are starting to gather our priorities.  The draft plan is due Jan. 1, 2013 and the final plan is due July 1, 2013. “These meetings are because we want to gather additional input....” Any questions that do not get answered tonight will get answered and sent out to this group (if you gave contact information on the sign-in sheet). In response to some questions, he replied that the Accountability Office gives the performance standards to the Board and the Board approves them.  It is Central office staff, Board employees, who come up with the standards.  For the Space Utilization Standards he is willing to hold community focus groups, principals' focus groups.  They want to allow for input and show they are responding to input.  They will be doing LSC surveys, summits for parents, summits for students, input/conversations with other groups – this meeting tonight is the beginning.  The data collected tonight will be used to help inform decisions as they move forward.  They know there is concern about how they use metrics.  “Over the past months we have been gathering input....through surveys and the tele-town hall.” (as far as I know this is just over the past 2-3 weeks, and another question from me is how can we give input when we don't know the planned actions – we don't know which schools...)

Exercise #1: Worksheet #2 – Read the handouts (Space Utilization Standards, CPS Performance Policy Overview,  Summary of SB 630), discussing for understanding, and make a determination if further clarification is needed.  What questions you still have that you would like to ask about the first two documents. Sorry, I do not have notes for this part.

Discussion #2:  Worksheet #3 For the next 15 minutes at your table disuss one of the 2 questions according to what is assigned: What can you add to better inform the criteria to consider when making decisions OR What can you add to better inform the transition supports to provide to students impacted by the decisions. Sorry, no notes for this part.