During this most difficult-of-difficult years, educators and parents/caregivers representing 16 Chicago Public Schools partnered with us to build trust and connections with one another.

They participated in Connection Conversations, a family engagement program of Stand. Connection Conversations is a COVID-driven innovation of our in-person, parent-teacher home visit program. It is centered around voluntary virtual visits, supported by educator training and collaboration, which helps schools and families build trusting relationships, even when they cannot meet face-to-face. 

The results have exciting implications for supporting student success. Some highlights:

  • Participants were universally positive about their experiences.
  • They reported observing more help-seeking behaviors.
  • Educators described having more capacity to inquire about, and respond to, student needs.

Schools should not be expected to tackle learning recovery on their own. And parents and caregivers want to be equal partners in their children’s learning and development. Let’s tap into the superpower that comes with building trust.

Our thanks to the educators and families who participated in Connection Conversations and to the University of Chicago Consortium for their strategic analysis.

Libraries, arts, safe and proper learning facilities, and engaging extracurricular activities. These are a few things that most parents and teachers would say all schools should have.

I agree. I had the opportunity to share my thoughts – including the need for strong extracurricular activities – at a recent budget workshop at Corliss High School in Pullman. I was joined by other Stand parents and educators, as well as a number of other parents from across the city.

The meeting had a community feel to it. Everyone was there with ideas on how to make funding our schools work better for Chicago’s students.

A priority of mine is making sure students have access to engaging activities during and after school. These are important to give the kids something to look forward to and help keep them out of trouble. Not only that, but tutoring services would help them achieve more in the classroom.

I heard plenty of other good ideas from parents and teachers. Things like adding librarians, music, and arts classes. Others mentioned the need for fun and safe facilities like gyms for sports and PE classes.

Another strong sentiment that I shared with most everyone there was the need for funding to be equitable and spread across the city, not focused in one specific area.

There were so many strong ideas discussed at the workshop. I encourage you to read more about them in this recent Chalkbeat article. I spoke with them about my ideas, and so did a few other Stand parents – see if you can spot us!

On Wednesday, March 30, Stand for Children Illinois commissioned a poll to get a pulse for where Chicagoans stand on a potential CTU strike, given the union’s decision to engage in a one-day strike today amid the breakdown in negotiations between CTU and CPS.

The result: Chicagoans don’t want another CTU strike.

Two-thirds (67%) of Chicago voters want both CTU and CPS to reach a contract through negotiations, while less than a quarter (24%) support reaching a contract via a strike. Support for reaching a contract resolution through negotiations is widespread across all demographics, age groups, and geographic areas.

Mimi Rodman, Stand for Children Illinois Executive Director, said “When given a choice, Chicagoans are clear – they want CTU and CPS to reach a contract through negotiations and avoid another strike because our students need to be in the classroom. An overwhelming majority of this City want them back at the negotiating table; it’s time for them to listen to the public and to unite forces to pressure Springfield to do its part to help schools.”

The poll asked 832 registered voters: “Between these two options, do you think the better way to reach a contract resolution between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union is to continue discussions at the negotiating table or to strike and shut down public schools?”