This talk was given at a School Board meeting by Cathey Ryder.
I am Cathey Ryder , a retired educator and have lived in HB since 1985.
For many years, the benefits of neighborhood schools has been studied.
Generation All in Chicago, started in 2017, is a citywide initiative to unite Chicagoans in revitalizing neighborhood public schools so all students experience high quality learning opportunities both in and outside the classroom with the support of the wider community. They have partnered with several research programs across the nation .
Here are some of their findings:
What makes successful and dynamic communities? Contrary to what you may think, the answer is actually quite simple. Education. More specifically, quality public education- that is open to all of the community’s members.
1.) Strong schools attract families and businesses boosting the local economy and driving population growth.
Strong neighborhood schools attract families looking for an affordable, top-quality education for their children. With the increased enrollment in these schools and the subsequent population increase in the neighborhood, businesses soon follow.
2.) Families build more and better relationships with other families in their community, building neighborhood cohesion and trust.
Families become interwoven through their strong neighborhood public schools. As the students begin to develop life-long relationships through their neighborhood schools, the parents will also develop strong relationships. The relationships developed in school will create stronger family ties within the neighborhood, ultimately leading to an environment of communal cohesion and trust.
3.) When students attend a school near their home, families can more easily connect with teachers and contribute as school volunteers and leaders.
This is due to the school’s accessibility. The closer a student lives to their school, the more access the parents have to the resources at that school. With increased access to the schools, parents will become more involved. Studies have shown that parent involvement in their children’s education has been proven to yield higher grades and test scores, enroll in higher-level programs, pass their classes and earn credits, attend school regularly, and have better social skills among many other benefits.
4.) More and more, schools are functioning like community centers, offering opportunities that build the health and wellbeing of residents nearby.
Strong neighborhood schools attract positive attention from all over the community. They serve as the centers of their community by hosting community-directed events. Neighborhood public schools have the potential to be the centers of their community, to be the driving force of a prosperous community. The key to a successful community starts with top-quality public education.
I urge the school board to figure out how to keep the neighborhood schools open……