June 1, 2010
Chicago Public Schools officials today issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the next phase of the District’s Safe Passage program, part of its comprehensive anti-violence initiative.
Vendors eventually selected through the RFP process will expand the School Community Watch that is being implemented in 13 CPS high school communities. This RFP focuses on nine additional high school communities on the west and south sides of the city.
The RFP can be downloaded from the District’s web site.
In response to violence that impacts 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.
School Community Watch is designed to provide community members with opportunities to become involved with safe passage for students traveling to and from school, said Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman.
“This RFP furthers our effort to build a network of providers who can function collectively as a School Community Watch,” Huberman said. “Our strategy continues to focus on improving safe passage around the school community, and the RFP invites community organizations who have a stake in the quality of life of their neighborhoods to serve as additional eyes and ears on the streets.”
This RFP will seek vendors for the following high school communities: East Garfield Park; Bronzeville; Gage Park/Brighton Park; Little Village; Washington Park; Garfield Park; South Shore/South Chicago; North Lawndale; and Austin.
The earlier RFP focused on the South Chicago, West Town, Pullman, Near West, Roseland, Chatham, West Englewood, Hyde Park, Washington Heights, Morgan Park, Englewood, New City, Douglass/Bronzeville communities.
The communities have been identified 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.
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 program is implemented, providers will participate in data-based sessions specifically designed to evaluate the progress and success of their programs.
Chicago Public Schools serves 417,855 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.