February 18, 2010
Chicago Public Schools officials today issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the District’s Safe Passage Program. The Safe Passage RFP is one of the next steps in CPS’ comprehensive anti-violence initiative and can be downloaded by visiting our Current contract opportunities section.
Release and posting of the Safe Passage RFP follows closely a similar RFP that was released Feb. 4 seeking mentorship and advocacy services for up to 3,000 at-risk high school students. Download the mentorship RFP by visiting our Current contract opportunities section.
In response to violence that has impacted the safety and security, academic performance and behavior of CPS students, the District has undertaken an ambitious initiative with two ultimate goals: reduce the likelihood that at-risk CPS students will engage in, or become victims of, violence; and create a safe, secure and supportive environment for CPS students to improve attendance and excel academically.
The Safe Passage Program is designed to provide the community with opportunities to be involved with the safe passage for students traveling to and from school. The RFP will seek “innovative and influential strategies that fully address the issues facing student safety,” said Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman.
“We are looking to create a network of providers who can function collectively as a School Community Watch,” Huberman said. “This strategy is aimed at improving the safe passage around the school community, and invites community organizations who have a stake in the quality of life of their neighborhood blocks and school routes to serve as additional eyes and ears on the streets.”
Huberman said successful providers will also be expected to provide trained employees to de-escalate conflicts that may arise and a system for engaging consistently absent students in an ongoing effort to improve their attendance.
"Ultimately, we believe that increasing student safety while traveling to and from school grounds will also serve to increase attendance, decrease aggressive behavior and gang violence, and increase the engagement of students in their education,” Huberman said.
Creation of a School Community Watch through the Safe Passage program will be implemented at 12 CPS neighborhood high schools based on an analysis of various safety and security data.
School officials developed the list by reviewing such factors as the number of violent incidents during arrival and dismissal times, the prevalence of various gangs and the number of aggravated batteries with a firearm within the school’s police district.
The proposed high schools are: Bowen campus, Clemente, Corliss, Crane, Fenger, Harlan, Harper, Hyde Park, Julian, Morgan Park, Robeson and Tilden.
Huberman said CPS recognizes that forming an effective School Community Watch means working with community- and faith-based organizations, parent associations or groups, intervention programs, security companies and restorative justice practitioners. “Each community has unique challenges and resources,” he said. “This program will require the flexibility and effort of all participants, and we encourage the involvement and application by organizations of all sizes.”
Applicants must meet a number of criteria, including:
- Having a minimum of three years of experience with safety initiatives for high-risk youth.
- Providing at least three examples of previous safety initiatives directed for high-risk youth.
- Having expertise with conflict resolution and de-escalation with high school students.
- Having a demonstrated familiarity with or prior experience in the proposed high school’s surrounding community.
Applicants will also be asked to include details of their strategy for creating Safe Passage.
Recommendations for contracts will then be presented to the Chicago Board of Education for approval. Once the Safe Passage program is implemented, providers will participate in data-based sessions specifically designed to evaluate the progress and success of their programs.
CPS in the news
View Safe passage news coverage about the Chicago Public Schools.
Chicago Public Schools serves 417,855 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.