$25,000 / 2015
4242 S. Cottage Grove Ave
Chicago, IL 60653
J. Brian Malone, Executive Director
This one-year $25,000 renewal grant will enable Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) to organize youth and adults in low-income, predominantly Black residents in the Mid-South neighborhoods of Chicago to improve the quality of neighborhood schools and increase high school graduation rates. KOCO parent and youth leaders have been organizing to demand the creation of an elected school board, stronger local school councils, and community driven school transformation processes. Over the last year, KOCO provided capacity-building and technical support assistance to 12 local elementary and high schools Local School Councils (LSC) in the Mid-South Chicago. KOCO has also provided leadership and expertise to build community support for Illinois state legislation proposed to resist the proliferation of charter and contract schools while strengthening traditional public schools. KOCO pressured the Chicago Board of Education to reverse its decision to shutter Dyett High School, which the Chicago Board of Education voted to close in 2011. Lastly, KOCO worked with a coalition of groups across the City to get 89% of the voters in 37 of the 50 wards to call for an elected representative school board. Over the next grant year, KOCO will continue to work locally and nationally with parents, students and community leaders to address issues of educational equity and organize youth leaders to change disciplinary policies, and strengthen the legislation empowering local school councils.