Community-driven Sustainable School Transformation

KOCO has been a leader in engaging low-income and working families in working to shape public policy and calling for the reallocation of resources to sustain community-driven school transformation, the preservation and creation of affordable housing, and investment in youth. Our organization led the fight for community-driven school transformation models locally, and been in the leadership of this same effort nationally. Our organization has trained 50 local school council members who have been active in leading the fight for an elected representative school board campaign. Our organization has engaged parents, youth, and local school council members to present our plan for community-driven sustainable school transformation to the new Chief Executive Officer for the Chicago Public Schools (Barbara Byrd Bennett). Ms. Bennett has since committed to working with our leaders to revisit the decision to phase-out Dyett High School. Our leaders have also provided the leadership behind forming local and national coalitions that have won a municipal referendum measure for an elected representative school board, and a federal hearing on the impact of federal education policy on communities of color, respectively.

KOCO’s youth leaders have been working with their peers and adult allies to bring attention to the civil rights violations taking place at Dyett High School, and ultimately return investment to the school. KOCO’s youth leaders have been able to advocate for the adoption of restorative justice practices to replace the zero tolerance policies; and spearhead the adoption of innovative programming that led to the greatest increase in students attending post-secondary institutions, and the drastic decrease in suspensions and expulsions.