PUTTING OUR Strategies TOGETHER
REVITALIZE THE WEST SIDE
WHY THE WEST SIDE?
Kids First Chicago's vision is that all public school children have access to a high-quality education which will set them on a path to life success. We believe that an education environment where students, schools, and communities thrive is the key to a world-class Chicago. We also believe that we can’t close our city’s deep racial wealth gaps without addressing educational attainment gaps.
Our West Side Work aims to improve the quality of schools through transparent, accessible data, long-term relationship building, and direct technical support to community members.
The West Side is home to 73 public schools and 38,281 PK-12 CPS students who are 87% low-income. The West Side serves as a microcosm for larger issues facing the district:
More than 1 in 4 students in the West Side region attend “failing” public schools.
At the elementary school level, there are nearly 10,000 available Level 1/1+ seats.
More than 50% of high-schoolers travel an average of 3.6 miles to access quality schools.
The region lacks programmatic diversity.
The student population is declining; there are already 28,841 more seats than students.
OUR WEST SIDE WORK TO DATE:
Kids First Chicago is fortunate to be active members of a number of community convenings and action councils on the West Side. To name a few:
Austin Quality of Life Planning Council (Strategy Lead for Education Priorities)
West Side United (Steering Committee)
Attendees of Austin, North Lawndale, and West Humboldt Park Community Action Councils
Attendees of the Westside Collaborative Meetings and various PACs and LSCs citywide
In the coming months, Kids First Chicago seeks to:
Build upon current and past planning efforts to ensure continuity and cohesion, drawing resources from among many partner organizations and groups;
Explore multi-pronged, cross-sector solutions that will improve the overall health of the West Side region and outcomes for its residents;
Support incremental, block-by-block change that continually attracts new investments and culminates in measurable and visible improvement.
The result will be a community-driven regional school strategy that both provides foundational support for educational improvements and contributes to more robust opportunities beyond education that may include job training, employment, youth engagement, healthcare, and more.