The Future of the Fields: Community Process
The Fields Community Process:
Next Steps & Recommendations
On Tuesday, October 27, our office hosted the final meeting in the Fields Schools community process. During the meeting, we reviewed the process, which was launched in December 2019, to date. We also shared the results of the final visioning survey, which are available by clicking the button below.
During the meeting, the 49th Ward office shared information from Chicago Public Schools that we received in August for school communities seeking to pursue a school action. In that meeting, we learned that CPS has created a robust process for recommending school actions. This process includes establishing a steering committee that is representative of the school community, including a student representative. The steering committee would be required to follow specific outreach and engagement procedures, including recording participants and attendance throughout.
Based on the level of engagement throughout the community process, the requirements CPS has established for recommending school actions, and the history between the two schools, our office will be making the following recommendations to CPS:
We will push again for CPS to reconsider the student-based budgeting model that is bad for our neighborhood schools;
We will ask CPS to reconsider the SQRP rating model and address the concerns around equity as it pertains to this rating system;
We will ask for additional support from CPS to create robust articulation between the two schools, including more opportunities for students at both schools to engage with each other and the administrations;
We will advocate for additional resources for Eugene Field so they can more effectively market the school to neighborhood families, especially prospective parents who are just beginning to look into schools for their children; and
We will continue to engage with the two schools with activities and actions to bring healing to the two communities.
Our office launched this process in December 2019 in response to a grassroots effort from the Unite the Fields organization. Our office took on a community process to ensure transparency and accountability in our ward's decision-making process.
What became clear throughout the process is that our community deeply cares for our students and wants to provide them with strong neighborhood schools. When seeking schools for their students, parents want continuity, stability, and cohesion. Our office will continue to work with our local school communities and CPS to advocate for the resources and services they need to be first-choice schools.
We know that this topic is extremely personal to many, so thank you for engaging with our office around it. While we plan on making these recommendations to CPS at this juncture, it doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t support other proposals or community actions in the future. We would support the formation of a steering committee that can explore potential community actions that follow CPS’s requirements. Thank you again to everyone who participated in this process over the past year.
The Fields Community Meeting October 27
Our office will host our final meeting for the Fields Schools Community Process on Tuesday, October 27, from 6-7:30 pm. People interested in attending the virtual meeting can pre-register at bit.ly/fieldszoom.
During the final meeting, our office will share the results of the last survey we asked people to complete. We will also share some of the feedback we received during the last two meetings. Finally, we will share the recommendations and feedback that we will be presenting to CPS.
The Fields Community Meeting September 29
Our office will host a meeting for the community process around the Fields schools on Tuesday, September 29, from 6-7:30 pm. To join the meeting, go to bit.ly/fieldszoom.
During our meeting on September 23, we began the process of evaluating the proposals and ideas that have been submitted through the community process to date. September 29 will be a continuation of that work. You can view the notes from the September 23 meeting by clicking here. Participants will also have the opportunity on September 29 to submit any additional ideas that were not previously identified.
We are still asking that stakeholders complete the Fields Schools Visioning Survey online (en español aquí) to share their feedback and ideas. This will help inform any final recommendations made to CPS. The survey will close on Friday, October 9, at 5 pm.
Our office will host a final meeting after the survey closes to share the results of the survey and community feedback with the Fields' communities. We will then present the information to Chicago Public Schools so we can make recommendations that will create strong and sustainable neighborhood schools in the 49th Ward.
The Fields Community Meeting September 23
In December 2019, the 49th Ward office undertook a community process to help vision and brainstorm ideas for the Fields Schools (i.e., Eugene Field and New Field). During the process, we identified strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities that these schools face. With a slight pause in the spring due to the COVID-19 crisis, the process resumed in August with an adjusted timeline.
During the process, stakeholders submitted ideas and proposals to help support these schools. During the next community meeting, we will review the ideas that were generated during the community process. Participants will also have the opportunity to submit any additional ideas that were not previously identified during the meeting. We will then present this information to Chicago Public Schools so we can make recommendations that will create strong and sustainable neighborhood schools in the 49th Ward.
To join the virtual community meeting at 6 pm on September 23, go to bit.ly/fieldszoom.
Those who are unable to attend the meeting on September 23 may still complete the Fields Schools Visioning Survey online (en español aquí) to share their feedback.
For an overview of the community process to date, please visit the 49th Ward website.
The Fields Community
On August 19, our office hosted a meeting to resume the community process around the Fields schools.
During the meeting, Principal Dobbins shared some of the matriculation work Eugene Field is partnering with New Field on to have a seamless and cohesive transition for students entering the fifth grade. We also heard from the Fields communities and Rogers Park residents regarding some of their concerns they have around our neighborhood schools, including the student-based budgeting model and the decrease of school-aged children in the neighborhood.
Our office is finalizing the date for the next community meeting, where folks will have the opportunity to bring recommendations for consideration. Please keep your eye on this space, where we will announce the next meeting date. Additionally, we will share a Google Form for folks who are unable to attend the meeting but would still like the opportunity to share an idea or recommendation.
Finally, please note that the infographics we previously shared in our newsletter inadvertently had switched out the "strengths" section for the schools. A corrected version of those SWOT analyses is available below.
The Fields Community Process Resumes August 19
The 49th Ward office is resuming the community process on the future of the Fields schools. In March, the community process was forced to take an abrupt hiatus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to thank community members who were engaged with us on this issue previously and who provided the necessary space for our office to respond to the emergency of the global pandemic. However, knowing that this community process continues to remain a priority for our parents, we are looking to pick it back up.
As a reminder, during the last meeting, our office asked participants to complete SWOT analyses of both of the schools. The results of those analyses are below:
Since having to halt the community process, our office has contacted Chicago Public Schools to discuss resuming it. During our meeting on August 19, we will discuss the revised timeline for the community process and review the engagement to date.
The next meeting will take place on Wednesday, August 19 at 6 pm via Zoom. Online preregistration is required at bit.ly/THEFIELDS.
Complete a SWOT Analysis
As we continue in the community process to vision solutions to support our Fields schools, we have asked residents to take a moment to complete a SWOT analysis for each school. This includes identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for each school. These can be internal or external factors. Please make sure to complete a SWOT analysis for each school. These analyses will help continue the process of identifying and visioning solutions to create strong, first-choice neighborhood schools.
During the second community meeting, the 49th Ward office asked stakeholders to complete a feedback form (a digital version of this was also made available). Below you will find a breakdown of the responses we received on that feedback form and some common themes that we identified. Our office ran into some issues with getting these sent home in kids' take-home packets through CPS. We are currently working with them to find ways to increase the number of respondents to help inform this process.
Attend the Community Meeting
The 49th Ward will host its third community meeting to continue the discussion on New Field and Eugene Field. During the meeting, we will go over responses to the feedback form from the previous meeting. We will also begin brainstorming and visioning ideas during the third meeting based on the feedback we've received so far.
The next meeting will take place on Monday, January 27, at 5:30 pm at Eugene Field Elementary, 7019 N. Ashland. As we continue in the community process, meetings will alternate between Eugene Field and New Field. Spanish translation and childcare services will be available during the meeting.
Submit Your Feedback
In December, the 49th Ward office hosted its second community meeting on the future of the Fields Schools. During the meeting, we outlined the process and goals we'd like to see from this community-driven dialogue.
Beginning in January, we will ask stakeholders to vision and brainstorm ideas. This will help build the foundation to identify solutions to support these two schools and the challenges they face in February and March. Beginning in April, we will present the community with proposal presentations and an opportunity to complete a survey before submitting a final report to CPS.
At the December meeting, we asked participants to complete a feedback form to begin to identify their relationship to the schools, the reasons they want to be a part of this community process, the challenges their school(s) face, and things they would like to change at their school(s). The feedback form has now closed, but we will be going over the responses during the January 27 meeting.