STRATEGY AREA 1
GIVE PARENTS THE MIC.
No one knows a child better than the people who look after them every day. Make those people an integral part of the conversation—not an afterthought. We provide parents with information and tools to navigate and to demand high-quality schools for their kids.
In 2015, New Schools for Chicago determined that in order to fully support parents in their quest for great schools and build a coalition of engaged parents, we needed to create both a set of resources that parents could rely on in navigating to quality, as well as the infrastructure and platform to help them effectively advocate for their children.
To serve these goals, New Schools for Chicago created Kids First Chicago—a comprehensive community and family engagement program and information warehouse on Chicago’s K-12 public schools.
As the online campaign hub, the Kids First Chicago website aims to make school quality information more transparent, available, and easy to understand. It provides a school search tool—recently enhanced with new features and the latest-available school quality information—that allows students and parents to explore schools in their neighborhoods and across the district. Further, once families have identified high-quality schools, the site provides information around enrollment eligibility. The website also includes downloadable resources and “train-the-trainer” enrollment tools for community- and school-based partners.
We take a three-pronged approach to building parent champions through Kids First Chicago: (1) help parents identify and navigate to quality schools; (2) use parent feedback to shape policies that address barriers to attending high-quality schools; and (3) provide infrastructure to parent champions amplifying their voices through earned and paid media.