I am pleased to have the opportunity to tell readers of the NLU blog a little bit about my work. As a community psychologist, I am interested in strengthening partnerships between schools, families and communities. In particular, I am interested in strengthening the connections between K-12 education, post-secondary education and training, and employment in low-income communities. I am collaborating with the Chicago Public Schools Department of Family and Community Engagement to support the activities of the Community Action Council in Bronzeville.
According to CPS, “The mission of Community Action Councils is to serve as a vehicle of empowerment for parents and community members who want to impact change and improve their local schools. The goals of the Community Action Councils are to:
- Inform parents and community members about the status of the schools in their respective neighborhoods
- Proactively engage community stakeholders in developing strategies to improve schools through regular CAC meetings and community dialogue
- Connect schools, students and families to various community resources
- Devise a strategic plan to improve schools in the community
- Develop a community vision for a “cradle-to-college/career pipeline”
As you may know, Bronzeville is a primarily African-American community located on the near South Side of Chicago between Douglas and Grand Blvd., bordered by the lake and the Dan Ryan Expressway. Most students in this area come from low-income families. I am working currently with the Bronzeville CAC to support their resource development, professional development and evaluation efforts.
In addition, regarding the last goal mentioned above, we are working on creating a program that supports students in their efforts to move from high school to post-secondary education. This program would provide opportunities for students to visit colleges, learn about college applications and financial aid, and offer support for students as they prepare their applications to post-secondary educational institutions — including colleges as well as training and technical schools. Eventually we envision building links between schools, colleges and businesses to improve the system of connections between education and careers.