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May 26, 2022 5:00 PM

Community Schools: Family Engagement, Social Justice and Equity


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About This Webinar

Join the American Federation of Teachers for the third installment in their community schools professional development series on building successful relationships. 

The sustainable community schools movement was born out of Black and brown community struggle. In 2001, parents, grandparents and community activists in Chicago’s Little Village engaged in a 19-day hunger strike to protest the denial of a new high school for the children in their working class, Latinx community. They organized and worked with a community group to demand that the Chicago Board of Education fulfill its promise. Their persistence led to the building of Little Village Social Justice High School. Fourteen years later (and less than 10 miles away), dedicated parents, grandparents and organizers staged a 34-day hunger strike to stop the closure and privatization of Walter H. Dyett High School in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. Led by their community organization and with help from Little Village allies, the organizers developed a plan to save Dyett and other schools in their community. Their fight led to the reopening of the school. 

The implementation of the sustainable community schools (SCS) initiative, conceived by these struggles, was ultimately won by the Chicago Teachers Union in its 2016 bargaining contract with the Chicago Public Schools. The implementation in 20 schools began in the 2018-19 school year. Educators, administrators, students, parents and community members have since worked to bring a transformative vision of education to reality.

This webinar will identify the strategies and best practices of what makes sustainable community schools different from other community school efforts and why this model is essential to achieving racial, social and educational justice. These strategies and best practices will include an overview of the origins of the fight to create and maintain the SCS initiative, the principles that drive it, and a unique teacher-led curriculum development program. 

Audience: K-12 educators, administrators, staff, community partners and parents


Jitu Brown, National Director of the Journey for Justice Alliance, former Education Organizer of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, key strategist, and community organizer for and participant in the Dyett Hunger Strike and the subsequent SCS Initiative

Jen Johnson, Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) Chief of staff, member of Sustainable Community Schools joint task force between CTU and Chicago Public Schools (CPS), high school history teacher on leave from CPS​

Jhoanna Maldonado, Chicago Teachers Union Organizer, member of Sustainable Community Schools joint task force between CTU and Chicago Public Schools (CPS), teacher on leave from CPS​​

Dr. Monique Redeaux-Smith, Illinois Federation of Teachers Director of Union Professional Issues, member of Sustainable Community Schools joint task force between CTU and Chicago Public Schools (CPS), CTU member and teacher on leave from CPS​, Dyett hunger striker

Karen Zaccor, Founding teacher of Uplift Community High school, one of our 20 Sustainable Community Schools, Board of Directors member of Northside Action for Justice

Professional Credit

Available for one-hour of PD credit. A certificate of completion will be available for download at the end of your session that you can submit for your school's or district's approval.

Share My Lesson is now a New York State Education Department-approved provider for Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) requirements and an Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) approved Professional Development provider.


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