Wednesday, September 21, 2016

New Chicago Resource to aid youth, teachers, parents

Yesterday I and about 150 others attended a To&Through Project launch event at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center. This is a powerful data-driven portal intended to increase the number of Chicago Public School 9th graders who aspire to go to a 4-year college (76%) to more than the 18%  who actually do go on to earn a 4-year college degree within 10 years of starting high school.

A range of handouts were provided, including one showing key milestones included in the To&Through strategy.  As I looked at them, I felt there needed to be something added, so I did.

Scroll down on the To&Through home page and you'll see a section under the heading of "Milestones that Matter", which I fully support.

However,  I feel that without emphasizing the support needed, at the school, and during the non-school hours, that helps kids get to 9th grade with momentum to succeed, too few will invest in the programs and talent needed in every school neighborhood where too few kids are not going to college and finishing.

I wrote this article in 2007 to illustrate how the huge emphasis on what happens in the school often reduces resources available for what needs to also be happening in non-school hours.

In the same 2007 article I included this concept map to illustrate how our combined support helps kids move through school and into careers, with, or without, a traditional 4-year college degree.

In a 2014 article titled "Developing Talent: Unlocking the Passion in Employees" I referred to a white paper published by the Deloitte University Press, which describes the concept of 'worker passion'. I hope you'll read it and understand the value of this trait as well as I do.

To me the development of these habits needs to start in elementary school and be reinforced all the way through high school, and then in vocational school and/or college.

Without educators and education funders focusing on pre 9th grade and post high school, and the non-school hours, it's likely that too few resources will support these other important milestones.

My only other wish from what I saw was that there would be an abundant use of maps.  

This map is from a presentation created in the 1990s to show a school-centered strategy that I was recommending then, and still advocate for now. This PDF is out of date, but the ideas are usable.

With a map you can show high schools and feeder schools within a defined area. In this case I'm showing Doolittle Elementary school and Phillips High School, on Chicago's South Side. On the map, and in the PDF, I show non-school programs in the area. On the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator's Interactive map, you can double click on a green star, and go to the web site of the organization.

On this graphic, I'm also listing businesses in the area. In other maps I show hospitals and colleges. In the asset section of the Program Locator you can build maps showing these assets.  All of these groups could be meeting regularly to help students move through school and into jobs and careers,  using data provided by To&Through and ideas provided by many others, to constantly increase the success of young people in this map-area.

In an article posted on the MappingforJustice blog I illustrate how libraries and hospitals in areas with highly segregated public schools could take on the intermediary role of drawing stakeholders in a map-area together. 

Similar map stories could be created for every high school in the city, or in other cities. Students, working with teachers and business volunteers could be creating the maps, creating the map stories, sharing them on blogs, YouTube and Instagram, and hosting meetings where adults discuss this information and become motivated to provide the talent and dollars needed in each school neighborhood.

Much of what I've written here was not discussed yesterday, or is on the To&Through web site.  Furthermore, the Interactive Program Locator is out of date, needs updating, and I've no money or talent to do this. Thus, it's not as useful for students and community organizers as it could be.

I'm hoping that many who attended will take a look and want to talk more about these ideas.

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