The Education Committee kicked off the new school year Monday evening, the first meeting led by Dasia Skinner, a VISTA serving as CCH’s new education and youth organizer. The gathering featured new faces and familiar ones, bringing together 19 people who want to better the lives of homeless students.
Comprised of homeless and recently homeless Chicago students and parents, CCH staff, and volunteers, the group discussed whether to train Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers on the best methods to assist homeless students. Homelessness is often a silent problem at schools, with students and parents quiet on the subject and teachers unsure of the most effective ways to help.
“If teachers can talk to students and get them to be more open,” said CPS student Kiahni Chew, “they can get them help… and let them know about resources and programs, before it’s too late.”
After discussing obstacles experienced at their own schools and brainstorming solutions, the committee voted to approach the CPS administration with a proposal for a pilot teacher training program.
Also, the committee plans to continue its campus outreach, informing homeless students and parents of their right to obtain free CTA cards, uniforms and tutoring services, which help minimize the obstacles faced by homeless students.
“These resources give students a fair chance at getting an education,” said Kaleyah Wesley, a freshman whose family lived in a North Side shelter for two years.
The Education Committee adjourned with a clear plan of action and positive energy for the new school year.
– Jim Lacy, Education Committee member