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    Welcome to Shields Community School
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    Orozco students with Sen. Munoz

Budgets are choices.  It's time for politicians to choose Illinois
children, families, and communities.

Illinois doesn't have to make the deep cuts proposed in the Governor's budget - we have a choice! Instead of painful cuts to vital programs for our children, families and communities, lawmakers and the Governor must choose revenue.

Act NOW! Tell lawmakers to choose to stand up for Illinois families and communities and prevent cuts by choosing new revenue to close the budget hole.
May 13th is #ChooseRevenue Day of Action.  Here's how you can participate throughout the month of May.

1. Call your lawmaker toll free 1-844-311-CUTS (1-844-311-2887) and tell them to choose new revenue to prevent cuts to children, families, and communities.
2. Use this link to email your lawmaker and Governor simply by entering your zip code.
3. Use these sample tweets and Facebook posts on social media. Be sure to use the hashtags #chooserevenue, #nocuts, and #twill and to follow RBC on Twitter @RespBudgetIL.
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Thanks for Joining Us in Springfield!

Many thanks to the 130+ participants who joined us (in person or virtually) in Springfield on April 29 for our Community Schools & Afterschool Programs Advocacy Day hosted in partnership with the ACT Now Coalition.  Program staff, parents, and students from Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Champaign-Ford ROE, Elev8 Chicago / Mikva Challenge, Family Focus, ICOY, Illinois Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs, MFS, Project Success of Vermillion CountyThe Jackson Initiative, YMCA, and Youth with a Positive Direction collectively met with 74 elected officials. 

Participants carried the messages that afterschool and community schools are essential and spoke out against cuts to Teen REACH programs which keep kids safe and engaged, improve academic outcomes and support working families.  To illustrate the impact of the Good Friday cuts, BPNC delivered letters from students effected by the suspension of Teen REACH to Gov. Rauner. 

Good Friday Cuts Reversed
The efforts of a wide range of stakeholders impacted by the Good Friday cuts were ultimately successful as the Governor announced on April 30 that he was reversing the cuts.  Though this is a critical victory for us and the youth and families we serve, the fight continues as efforts over the next month shift towards FY16 budget negotiations. 

Your Voices Still Need to be Heard
It is important that we continue educating our elected officials about the importance of community schools and afterschool programs.  As the focus shifts towards the FY16 budget, urge them to avoid budget cuts and instead seek responsible revenue generating solutions that ensure adequate investments in our children, families, and communities.

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Wisconsin Stakeholders Visit Chicago to Learn about Community Schools

On April 24 a bus load of 75 parents, teachers, funders and elected officials from Wisconsin arrived at Shields Middle School, in Chicago's Brighton Park neighborhood.  They were there to learn about community schools and see for themselves how community school partnerships like the one between Shields and Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC) address the holistic needs of the children and families they serve.  The site visit, co-hosted by the Federation and CPS' Community Schools Initiative, was designed to provide a wide range of stakeholders with an understanding of the key functions of a community school and strategies for supporting community school implementation in their own communities.  Participants included representatives from  from United Way of Racine County, United Way of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Teachers Union, Madison School District, and Wisconsin Jobs Now. 

Mr. Auffant, principal, demonstrates "a day in the life" of a Shields community school student
After the BPNC community school team members gave a snapshot of their roles, principal Peter Auffant brought the impact on families to life.  Demonstrating "a day in the life" of a Shields student and his/her family, Mr. Auffant walked down the line of team members, starting with the parent patrol and moving through the different supports that are offered at Shields as a result of their partnership with BPNC.  His illustration of how families are supported at Shields served to highlight the way in which community schools leverage the expertise of a diverse group of stakeholders in service of a common goal.  
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Participate in National Community School Directory

The Coalition for Community Schools has created an on-line directory that will include all types of community schools and will serve as a networking tool to connect you with others building community schools in your city, state, and across the country.  This directory will offer critical information to guide our collective advocacy efforts and strengthen our local and national community school movements. 

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Recap: Community Schools 101

On February 9th nearly 50 community school professionals gathered to learn strategies for laying a solid community school foundation that supports long-term success and sustainability.

If you were able to join us, please don't forget to complete this brief evaluation. Your feedback helps us continually refine and improve our workshops.
Those who were unable to attend can read more below to find some of the tools and resources that were shared.

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Federation for Community Schools • 33 West Grand • Suite 300 • Chicago • IL 60654 • 312.836.0854