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Auburn Gresham Exhibits BOLD Leadership Around It's GOLD Education Strategy

On November 10, 2016, the Principals of the five Network 11 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) that make up the Auburn Gresham GOLD (#AGGOLD) school network, had an opportunity to present the community's recommended "BOLD Goals" they have collectively been working on, to the Auburn Gresham Education Task Force Steering Committee and the leadership team of it's major sponsor, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago.

GOLD School Principals with United Way PM (second from Left) and GADC Education Director (second from right)

Photo: Norma Sanders

The Five Auburn Gresham GOLD School Principals include:

  • Principal Smith, Barton Elementary School
  • Principal Narineh, Cook Elementary School
  • Principal Mason, Joplin Elementary School
  • Principal Henderson, Oglesby Elementary School
  • Principal Dockery, Westcott Elementary School

Each Principal shared their respective school mission, successes and challenges that led them to their current CPS school level. This along with their personal background, told the evolving story of their commitment to the teaching profession and support of the GOLD two-generation model supporting students as well as families. In particular, each presentation was backed by the schools indidivual data statistics and a photo representation of "school pride." Although different, throughout the presentations, each Principal exhibited their individual school, as well as the GOLD School Networks' colllective view of bold leaderhip. They all clearly offered their common, yet often unique rationale of their contribution to the BOLD goals being submitted for review. They all ended, saying they looked forward to the feedback and ultimate concurrence from the committee of the whole. The two BOLD Goals are:

BOLD Goal #1:
Neighborhood Parents Choose Neighborhood Schools
From 2008 to 2015 the number of students in our neighborhood attendance boundary decreased b7 3, 950 students. Currently 8,614 of students in the Auburn Gresham and Englewood attendance boundary attend neighborhood schools, our BOLD Goal is to increase this number by 50% over the next 5 years. We want parents to select our strong neighborhood schools for their children.

BOLD Goal #2:
80% of PK to 3rd Grade Students will read at or above grade level
Primary literacy is a major concern in our community. A large percentage of kindergarten students enter school far below grade level, starting their academic careers at a disadvantage.

These two goals where noted as really good stretch goals and extremely bold, primarily due to the very large student mobility rate, that each of the GOLD schools have to deal with daily. What the Principals' collaboration uncovered during their planning sessions, is that although families move at a high rate, many of the students over time, ultimately end up in one of their respective schools. They even noted, if the student transferred to a local charter school, there was also a very high rate of students returning back to one of their local CPS schools, at some point during the year. This was expressed across the board, as one of the major administration concerns, especially due to the impact of the ever reducing school budget. One observation is clear, the Auburn Gresham GOLD Principals have begun a very unique bond.

They are all on board and working passionately to put a model in place, so that each school teaches and leads using a common set of best practices for literacy (using the Children's Literacy Initiative model), family engagment and social emotional supports. It is clear they all want what is best for the students and families in our community to succeed. The collaboration was not shy about stating they know what best practices look like. A few of the Principals have taught in schools that already have the resources outlined in the BOLD Goal strategies. Others have children in schools in Auburn Gresham and surrounding communities that too have all the resources outlined in their strategies. It was also deduced that the Principals know collective impact outcome could be, if these strategies were in place in their schools today. It is said and agreed "children in the city of Chicago, should not be given a different (higher quality) education based on their zip code. It was felt this is the highest form of injustice and inequality." 

The review and dicussion of the BOLD goals drew out some very good questions. Especailly the one presented by Jose Rico, Senior Vice President of Community Investment, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. He shared an example of how another Neighbhorhood Network in Brighton Park, decided on a BOLD goal to have a 100% high school graduation, over the next 3 years. His question, helped the team to talk through the need to be clearer, of the "by when" portion of the BOLD goal.  It was explained by the team of principals, these BOLD goals would be over a 5 year period, with 2016 being the benchmark.  It was clarified and agreed that BOLD Goal #2 would be update to read, "80% of PK to 3rd Grade Students will read at or above grade level, over the next five (5) years." They assured Jose and Iona their United Way program manager, the final version, which is due to United Way of Metropolitan Chicago by November 28, 2016, would reflect this clarification, and be completed on time.

The strategies that came out of the agreed upon BOLD goals are pretty impressive. A detail of them can be found in the forthcoming draft document titled, Gold School Network Bold Goals Principal Presentation, November 10, 2016.

In the meantime, click on the slideshow below, capturing the morning of consensus building and collaboration in Auburn Gresham around its community driven education initiative:

Thank you United Way for allowing Auburn Gresham to participate in the United Neighborhood Network!

For more information or if you are a resident family in Auburn Gresham and want to find our more about this local education initiative, please contact us at the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, 7901 South Racine, or call 773.483.3696.

Keywords: AGGOLD, Auburn Grehsam, Barton Elementary, Chicago Public Schools, Cook Elementary, Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, Joplin Elementary, Oglesby Elementary, United Way Neighborhood Network, Westcott Elementary

Posted in Education, Auburn Gresham in the News, Community Highlights


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