CPS Chief Receives Adult Ally Award 

Mikva Challenge honors Jadine Chou for her commitment to student safety

May 27, 2015

Recognizing the work she has done to keep Chicago’s children safe, the Mikva Challenge recently presented Jadine Chou, Chief of Safety and Security at CPS, with its Adult Ally Award.

The first honor of its kind, the award was unveiled at Mikva’s annual Youth Change-Maker event on May 19.

“We are so grateful for the work that you do to give voice to and model leadership for the youth of Chicago,” said Brian Brady, Executive Director for the Mikva Challenge, in an e-mail announcing the award. “This award honors an adult ally who has championed youth voice and youth participation in solving civic problems and been an unsung hero in helping Chicago’s youth.”

Jadine joined CPS after a successful career with the Chicago Housing Authority. Under her leadership, this agency saw a 50 percent reduction in overall crime within its residential properties – a result that dramatically improved the quality of life for youth living in those areas.
Seeing her success positively impact young people is what inspired Jadine to begin working in Chicago’s schools. With her unreasonable impatience for the status quo, she is known for creating action plans that solve problems, and is at her best when the solution to a problem involves listening to the input of those stakeholders who are most affected, particularly CPS students.

“When I first joined CPS, it was the young people of Mikva Challenge who reminded me of the importance of bringing youth voice into our work,” said Jadine when she accepted her award. We must seek out their perspectives and include them in our thinking and our process.”

Throughout her time at CPS, Jadine has done exactly that, gathering input from hundreds of students and using those views to transform how the District approaches school security.

“We know that safety is not just about enforcement. It’s about building relationships and creating a nurturing, welcoming environment for young people of every neighborhood,” she said. “It is these relationships that break down barriers between young people and adults and move all of the adults to treasure and care for our children as they would members of their own families.”

Jadine’s mission for CPS security remains the same today as it did when she joined the District in 2011 – to change the way people think about school safety. She believes in a proactive, preventative approach and welcomes the opportunity to work directly with students, as she believes that their intelligence and perspective add much value to our overall goal of keeping schools safe.

“Now more than ever, the world is experiencing unprecedented challenges,” she said. “There is much work yet to be done, but I am inspired by our young people and am privileged and humbled to continue this journey of making lives better and safer for all of Chicago’s youth.”

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