Elevate Chicago Coalition Launches

The group of parents walked up the steps quickly, and took their places behind the podium. They held handmade signs, wore matching blue shirts, and exuded a sense of solidarity.

They had traveled downtown from communities all over the city to introduce Elevate Chicago – a growing coalition of students, teachers, parents, families, and community organizations that believe education, specifically charter public schools, can uplift the city of Chicago by sending more students to college.

From administrators to parents to alumni, the launch event showcased many of the voices of the charter public school movement.

Constance J. Brewer, the Chief External Affairs Officer at The Noble Network of Charter School kicked off the press conference by telling the crowd that “…no matter what neighborhood you grew up in, no matter the color of your skin, no matter the country you were born in or the language you speak at home – you should have the opportunity to get a college degree.”

“We call this coalition Elevate Chicago because that’s what we’re doing every day through our work,” she said.

Lauren Escobar, a graduate of Golder College Prep High School, shared her story of the support she received from her teachers and guidance counselors on her quest to become the first member of her family to graduate from college.

“Golder provided me with a network of teachers, administrators and community members that provided the support system that my classmates and I needed to push ourselves toward academic success,” she said.

She ended her speech by reiterating that regardless of where students come from, they can achieve whatever they put their minds to.

Following Escobar’s moving story, Illinois Charter Network President Andrew Broy spoke about the need to set high expectations for Chicago’s students.

“We will serve as the base of a movement and we will make sure that every child in this city no matter where they come from has access to a great education,” Broy said. “These families represented today and the communities served are proving what’s possible.

Once Broy’s speech concluded, Lucy Weatherly, a parent whose son is enrolled at Intrinsic Charter School, recapped her decision to send her son to a charter public school.

“I must admit that I was a bit apprehensive to send my child to a new charter public school in town,” she said. “But after almost four years of college preparation and support, I can assure you that I wouldn’t change anything about my decision to send Joel to Intrinsic.”

Weatherly closed out the program by saying that she wants all students in Chicago to have the opportunities her son has had.

“I am so excited to see what’s next for Joel in college and beyond,” she said. “I am also thrilled to be a part of Elevate Chicago, and to make sure that all other parents receive the assistance they need to prepare their children for college.”

The fact of the matter is, Chicago’s public charter schools are educating the most high-need students and have the best college enrollment rates among all schools in the city. Elevate Chicago will continue to shine a light on the positive achievements among charter public schools in our city and ensure that all students have access to the quality of education that they deserve.

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