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Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

Three Chicago neighborhoods are taking the first steps toward potential
replication of the Harlem Children’s Zone, the highly-praised program
that provides education and social support to poor children and
families in Central Harlem.

Representatives from social service agencies in Chicago Lawn, Logan
Square and Woodlawn will travel to New York City in the coming weeks to
attend a multi-day conference and a ‘practitioner’s institute’ for
organizations that are interested in launching Promise Neighborhoods,
an initiative of the Obama Administration modeled on the Children’s
Zone.

Three Chicago neighborhoods are taking the first steps toward potential replication of the Harlem Children’s Zone, the highly-praised program that provides education and social support to poor children and families in Central Harlem.

Representatives from social service agencies in Chicago Lawn, Logan Square and Woodlawn will travel to New York City in the coming weeks to attend a multi-day conference and a ‘practitioner’s institute’ for organizations that are interested in launching Promise Neighborhoods, an initiative of the Obama Administration modeled on the Children’s Zone.

The U.S. Department of Education budget includes $10 million for one-year planning grants for Promise Neighborhoods, which President Barack Obama has said he would like to see launched in 20 cities across the country.

The three Chicago neighborhoods are part of the New Communities Program, a long-term development effort overseen by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in 16 struggling neighborhoods. LISC organized the trip and received funding for it from Atlantic Philanthropies, an international foundation that supports the Children’s Zone.

The trip will be “a chance to see how [the Children’s Zone] works, how it might fit with community-led initiatives and what replicating it would look like,” says Chris Brown, director of education programs for LISC. In Chicago last year, Atlantic Philanthropies awarded $18 million over four years to LISC for an initiative called Integrated Services in Schools, which supports academics for middle-school students through  a longer school day, enrichment programs and health services.

Representatives from New Communities agencies—the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, the Southwest Organizing Project in Chicago Lawn, and the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corporation--will make the trek to New York.

The meat of the trip will be the practitioners’ institute, a three-day, by-application-only program that gives agencies a behind-the-scenes look at how the Children’s Zone operates, including a tour and meetings with staff. The goal is to help communities identify their existing resources and needs, in order to craft a coordinated strategy for replicating the Children’s Zone locally.

While the Harlem project has had striking success stories, serving thousands of youngsters and getting them on track academically, achieving those results takes significant resources. In a Wall Street Journal article earlier this year, Children’s Zone founder Geoffrey Canada talked about the challenges of maintaining funding during the current recession.

“It’s a $65 million a year operation. That’s a huge undertaking,” Brown notes.

19 comments

Daniel F. Bassill wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

I encourage people who are planning to create "Children's Zones" to look at the maps hosted at http://mappingforjustice.blogspot.com so they can develop strategies that support the growth of a full range of youth development and mentoring and tutoring programs in these zones. The maps show how business, faith groups, hospitals and colleges in, or near, the ZONE can be identified, and encouraged to use their own resources to support the organizations within the Zone.

The leaders might also view the way concept maps can be used to create "blueprints" of the strategies they envision and which they want to share with others who commit time, dollars and resources to help the youth in the ZONE move through school and into jobs. See examples of how such maps can be communicated in the articles on our blog. http://tutormentor.blogspot.com/search/label/concept%20map

One way donors and evaluators might understand the activities and long-term goals and outcome of these ZONES would be for leaders to post maps and diagrams like these on their web sites.

At the Tutor/Mentor Conference on Nov. 19 and 20 leaders of programs within each Zone can connect with each other, and with organizations in other parts of Chicago who are operating programs that might be duplicated within each zone. The web site is http://www.tutormentorconference.org

There is lot to be learned that can lead to more effective strategies to help kids. I hope the leaders are using this information.

Bernard wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

Where's representatives from Little Village, Pilsen?

Lorraine Forte wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

Regarding your comment about Little Village/Pilsen: The agencies/neighborhoods were chosen by LISC through an RFP process.

hcz bandwagon? wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

How are the HCZ charter schools doing? I heard they continued to struggle, and that only a small percentage of Harlem kids actually get served.

John Paul Jones wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

It was wise to have delegation of groups visit New York to review first-hand the working of the Harlem Children's Zone. On July 27, DCP held an symposium on the 1919 Chicago Race Riot. One of the recommendations from that symposium call for a Harlem Children's Zone strategy in Greater Roseland. We too will be interested in the participants assessments and what is possible for Chicago. It is important to note that the Harlem Zone strategy was built on civic engagement and not direct organizing. That will mean that a Chicago community will need to prepare its residents to be more civicly engaged in community life and not the daily debates that far too often distract bodies of people from working together. This is the type of work that DCP is moving its members and churches toward. Again, great decision to visit New York.

Dianne Jones wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

I recommend before anyone goes to view the program in New York that they read Paul Tough's book about the Harlem Children's Zone.
The HCZ is not just bringing resources together; this requires very "tough" people to get near success. Canada didn't find enough success with middle school students to expand into the ninth grade.
Canada is "ruthless "in pursuing his goals. How many people are in such a situation where they can be so "ruthless"?!

La Donna Brown Miller wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

I attended the DCP symposium on the 1919 Chicago Race Riot and this project was stated that we should see how to have Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago. I feel this will be great for I have a high school student and a 1st grader who would benefit from this type of program. Especially with the gang violents in our community I feel the children need something in each community as a postive role model. I would like to take a tour of this great program. I agree great suggestion.

Linda Lenz, Catalyst publisher wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

You can hear Paul Tough, author of "Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America," speaking to a Chicago audience here: http://tinyurl.com/yckvqk2.

Tough was a featured speaker in last year's Chicago Schools Policy Luncheon Series that Catalyst sponsors with Business and Professional People for the Public Interest. Chris Brown of Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and Nancy Aardema of Logan Square Neitghborhood Associaiton, were respondents.

donreggie wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

As a southside resident, I have no idea who the Southwest Organizaing Project is and what have they accomplished to date? I believe that NY has it's own situations and duplicating it here in Chicago will be a challenge.
It looks like a targeted few to reap a lot of cash for doing what? What I know of Mr. Canada's program that it grew from one block to another block and one site to another site and all under his direction. Can this happen here under one person?

Dianne wrote 5 years 1 week ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

Unable to find out if HCZ ever expanded to 9th grade. Does anyone know.

Cassandra West wrote 5 years 4 hours ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

Linda,
The Chicago Amplified link (http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=32003#) to Tough speaking at the Policy Luncheon Series no longer works.

disgruntled wrote 5 years 4 hours ago

new sight

The new chicagonow site is not user friendly. I tried to comment several times and it rejected my attempts to sign up on several different occasions. When I access it from work, a siren goes off if I hit the right side of the screen probably because there is a facebook link. The comments are not diverse as they were when it was on the catalyst dist. 299 site. Just the same people ranting and raving about the evil board and mayor etc. Too bad.

to disgruntled wrote 5 years 4 hours ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

Good luck, Notebook, on developing further as a hallmark Chicago educational blog. Your responsible and dogged inquiry into the human and institutional aspects of Chicago public education is much appreciated. I'm rooting for you to get better and better. Go for it!

A New Day wrote 4 years 52 weeks ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

John's daily In the News is great, so is his writing. Sarah, Linda and Lorraine and the other Catalyst writers put good research and heart into their writing.

But Notebook does not have an interactive, in the moment feel to it. It lacks a personality. You need a pot stirrer who won't let his ego go beyond his abilities as a journalist .

Someone who can hold the blog together in a timely, intelligent way and serve both writers and those who comment so that the many energies of this very passionate Chicago educational community can be showcased, harnessed and learned from.

Come on, Catalyst! Move with confidence into the future!

Retired Principal wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

Alexander, your new website is not user friendly! Catalyst, you should let Alexander come back!

I agree wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

Alexander's new website is a pain to use and not worth the hassle. The quality and diversity of the posting has gone down.

Chicago teacher wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

HCZ charter schools just put out scores of 100% of their students in third grade meeting state standards. Certainly that rivals ANY school in the entire city. I personally think that any charter school that can't outperform the surrounding neighborhood school within 3 years should be closed (and out perform by at least 10%). But what HCZ is doing is beyond amazing, beyond incredible. Sign me up because I am tired of working in schools where other teachers, parents and community members don't believe that poor kids can do as good as better than wealthier kids, given the right kind of sustained support.

charles brooks wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

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Stacie Parlee wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?

I'm a south side Chicago teacher and would like to have more information on how I can become involved in the planning/start up of this project. Does anyone know who I can talk with/contact?

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