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Community Walk

Curtis School of Excellence Residents Megan McCall

Ashley Doucette
Jessica Johnson

Eileen Rogers
Rebecca Shaw

Significance of Geographic Location

Due to the past of Roseland, there are many single family homes surrounding Curtis instead of large apartment buildings. Being located on the South side, this largely determines the gangs as well as the demographic population of the community.

Real Estate Trends

The average home values surrounding the school is estimated to be less than $86,000. Several families rent instead of own their homes. Additionally, there are lots of spaces around Curtis where there are no homes but businesses in the gray areas.

The article in the link below communicates one residents campaign to change, beautify and restore the housing and real estate trends in the Roseland community. /razing-hell

Housing & Buildings

Surrounding the school are many closed buildings and stores. The homes down the block included many boarded up houses. The firemen stated that on many blocks in Roseland there are numerous boarded up houses. This could affect how our students live and what home problems they bring with them to school. We will have to be sensitive to living situations.

Demographic Data
Source: ocal-info/ILChicago/Roselandpeople/r_275251/

Age Distribution

Median Income

Crime Rates

Crime rates data for the past 3 months in the blocks surrounding Curtis.

Gang Territories Surrounding Curtis

Thoughts on Demographic Data

"The United States not only has the highest poverty rates for children among industrialized nations, but it also provides fewer social supports for their well being and fewer resources for them at school" (Darling-Hammond 31). Many of the students at Curtis come from poverty and are unable to receive the proper care that they need. The high crime rate in the area is also causing a high need for health as well as mental health support. Unfortunately this is few and far between in the area surrounding Curtis.

Program Resources in Roseland

Greater Chicago Envangelistic Hargrove Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center The Deborah Movement: Roseland Chapter Southside Help Center Friends First Mentoring Program YMCA Park District demoiselle2femme H.O.P.E. Center Fire Station Kids Off the Block Roseland Public Library

Benefits of Community Incorporated into School

"The key to using democratic localism as a lever for change was parents' shared interest in securing a quality education for their children. Consistent with democratic political theory, this common interest would motivate the necessary voluntary associations among parents and community residents to improve their local schools.'... of decentralized reform worried that, while schools located in neighborhoods with strong human and financial resources might well improve on their own, other schools located in more-disadvantaged, low-resource neighborhoods would be left behind."

Anthony S. Bryk;Penny Bender Sebring;Elaine Allensworth;Stuart Luppescu;John Q. Easton. Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago (Kindle Locations 1677-1678). Kindle Edition.

Public Service
At the firehouse behind the school....
The firehouse serves as a safe place for children. As teachers, it is also a resource for us if we encounter any problems.

Conversation with Firemen

The firemen shared information about the neighborhood: In the past months the neighborhood has been relatively quiet Do not take public transportation

From the back, 114th St...
Behind the school there are many empty stores and warehouses.

The school has a playground behind it by the parking lot. The community can use this playground and it provides activity for small children both in and out of school. The play space can be used for lessons outside as well. Though it is rarely utilized.

School: 115th St
The front of the school is off of a busy street. The building has two entrances: a middle school and an elementary school entrance

Students all walk to school or are dropped off by parents. Across the street is a large empty field that is filled with garbage and debris that several students walk through to get to school each morning.

Food & Grocery

In the neighborhood, there were only a couple of small corner stores. As teachers, we need to be aware of the food situation and what's available in these grocery stores to help us with understanding students' lives as well as resources for projects and homework if we assign them.

Corner Store and other small storefronts

Palmer Park
Palmer Park District offers various services to the residents of Roseland. There is a large playground with outdoor sprinklers, an awesome water park complete with slides and various other amenities. The employees stated that while there has been more than enough money allotted to offer a multitude of services, those services are not being utilized by the community residents so often, a lot of good resources go to waste.

Kids Off The Block

This is an overwhelmingly sad but crystal clear depiction of what our students will have to face living in this community. Day after day, month after month, year after year, another young person loses their life to senseless violence. Ms. Diane, founder and operator of Kids Off The Block Club (KOB), erected a curbside memorial across from the center with the names and dates of all of the young people who have lost their lives. Each child gets a brick detailing their info. Ms. Diane has run out of space and, sadly, still has more to add. Ms. Diane and KOB were recently featured on the ABC Show Secret Millionaire. Steve Kaplan, the Secret Millionaire, spent time with, volunteered with, donated largely to, and still works with this organization, trying to make a difference in the Roseland

Kids Off the Block & Curtis

After discussing this program with students and community members, I found that this program is underutilized by Curtis students.

To view more about KOB and Ms. Diane's mission follow the links below to prezi videos:

Institutional Initiatives


GEAR UP is a program that exposes students to life beyond elementary school. QUOTE DARLING HAMMOND

School SportsAcademic All Stars-A program where Title 1 tutors and

teachers come into school and assist students in areas of academic needs.

Pre-K or Head Start-Linda Darling Hammond quote Geoffrey Ballet- A program for K-4 students where a Chicago
ballet company gives lessons to students after school

Local School Council-A school board that involves a couple

of parents as representatives along with teachers and administration.

Increase Relevance of Institution

Continuation of AUSL Model allows schools to implement supports that Darling-Hammond suggests will be necessary to improve failing schools such as: recruiting well prepared teachers, organizing sustained professional development and resources, and ensuring high-quality instructional resources (Darling-Hammond, 271) Continuation of Increased Funding & Support: In Organizing Schools for Improvement, it was stated that the schools originally had an abundant amount of resources within the school and partnering outside resources. After a few years, resources faded until they were left with nothing.This is Curtiss 3rd year being turned around. The resources have decreased since the first year of turn around and now the school is becoming completely understaffed. Strong leadership increased "This observation is key to understanding the significant function served by relational trust in school improvement. Regardless of how much formal power attaches to any given role in a school community, all participants remain dependent on others to achieve desired outcomes and feel efficacious about their efforts. These structural dependencies create a sense of vulnerability for all involved."(Bryk, 1992)

Resources at the Donut Shop

At the back of the donut shop, there were numerous community resources available for parents and families for education, health, and community news. These could be shared with the school as additional resources and community partnerships.


Incorporate parent voice to make a direct connection between home and school and gain parental support of school procedures and policies

Smaller class sizes: Class sizes at Curtis hover around 25 and are supposed to increase to 35 next year. "Ferguson also found that class size, at a critical point of 18 students per teacher was a statistically significant determinant of student outcomes..."

Increasing Relevance of Instruction

A quote from Jennifer Winters describing her teaching in an urban school: "I found myself having problems with cross-cultural teaching issues, blaming my kids because the class was crazy and out of control, blaming the parents as though they didn't care about their kids" (Darling-Hammond 209). At Curtis, we try to be as culturally aware of the community we work in as possible. We are learning to become more aware of our individual identity as a teacher and to how to best relate to our students. We bring in community resources to classroom and make a genuine effort to get to know the parents and community support.

Works Cited
Bryk, A. S., Sebring, P. B., & Allensworth, E. (2010).Organizing schools for improvement, lessons from chicago. University Of Chicago Press. City-data. (2011). Retrieved from Darling-Hammond , L. (2010). The flat world and education. New York: Teachers College Press. Kids off the block.(Designer).(2003). Retrievedfrom Trulia. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.trulia. com/about Wikipedia. (2012, July 7). Roseland, chicago. Retrieved from Roseland,_Chicago

Curtis School of Excellence Community Walk