Building Schools Our Communities Deserve Now

Building Schools Communities Deserve Now

Congratulations to the Elementary Justice Campaign for another successful Week of Action in partnership with Dignity in Schools! We held three remarkable gatherings to elevate campaign efforts led by POWER-PAC IL parents and promote this year’s theme, “Building Schools Communities Deserve Now.”

The first was a screening of the film: “Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools.” After the screening, parents led a discussion on the ways in which students of color are denied social-emotional learning services and are subject to punitive discipline because they are perceived as threats even at an early age by educators and other adults in their schools. Parents found the documentary compelling and accurate to their families’ experiences and other stories they have heard from families in their communities.

Children display their artwork during a community workshop

Next, Padres Con Poder from Elgin publicly launched five new after school arts programs in their elementary schools with a big celebration for families. This year, the Elgin team has been working on improving school climate by encouraging the U-46 school district to invest in programs that elevate student mental wellness and prioritize social and emotional development, and winning the arts programs has been huge!

Two women at a community workshop

Finally, POWER-PAC IL Chicago Westside leaders facilitated a training at Michelle Clark High on school discipline, restorative justice, and new changes to the CPS school discipline code. The bilingual workshop drew close to 40 participants from across the city. Trainers shared their knowledge of the Code of Conduct structure and how parents can ensure their families’ rights are respected. Parents also discussed how to best advocate for restorative approaches in different types of school discipline situations.

After a fruitful week of sharing information, reflection, and connecting with their communities, parent leaders are energized to continue the important work of the Elementary Justice Campaign. What a fantastic way to kick off the school year!