Loyola University School Partners initiative of the School of Education works with nine extraordinarily diverse neighborhood public schools on Chicago’s Northeast side. Our schools (87% low-SES) and their communities are characterized by a high number of immigrants and refugees who speak more than 60 languages and call our neighborhoods home. Our initiative serves over 1,400 K-12 students through out-of-school learning opportunities and more than 4,000 students through teaching and learning, post-secondary initiatives, and civic engagement during school. Loyola University’s mission of social justice in action drives our work to improve the economic, social, educational, and political opportunities populations for and with students, families, schools, and communities.
Research and Evaluation
Loyola is two years into our relationship with six public schools through the Chicago Public Schools’ Community Schools Initiative (CSI). We are being evaluated mostly by student and family participation in CSI programs by the school system. In addition to these general measures, we are self-evaluating our OST programming based on the following three measures: connection to school, skill development, and social emotional learning. We are also conducting a research study on two of our community schools sites to examine how CSI stakeholders are experiencing community schools programs. We are at the stage of development at our CSI sites where we have strong programs in place. Our goal is to build on these successes by generating strategies that develop parent leadership, student voice, community contextualization, and integrated services for students.
Loyola’s School of Education faculty supports Sullivan High School’s English Language Learner (ELL) Department in re-examining and re-working curriculum for immigrant and refugee students. Working with ELL teachers, Loyola faculty developed a clear outline of units and activities that is linguistically developmental across all ELL classrooms and created a scope and sequence that aligned to Common Core State Standards, the SAT, constitution test requirements. The collaboration between Loyola faculty and Sullivan teachers resulted in new ELL curriculum templates for Sullivan’s teachers and has provided additional curriculum design strategies targeting the needs of English Language Learners.