Bringing together the strengths of the university and community in order to understand and address gaps in the system that perpetuate the prison pipeline. We engage in specific, long term, collaborative projects with our community partners we are both disrupting the pipeline and giving youth reason to hope while preparing them for productive adulthood. Through coursework, scholarships, fellowships and mentoring, we incorporate Roosevelt University students into the projects so that they gain experience, skills and insights needed to be leaders and agents of social change.
Ending School Push Out through Restorative Justice in CPS
Zero tolerance policies, intended to reduce school violence and behavior problems in schools are not working across CPS and have resulted in: increased punitive culture throughout the system, excessive suspensions and expulsions, reduced instruction time and academic achievement, ignoring the needs of LD/ED youth, increased dropout rates, youth arrests and exposure to violence and ultimately, the disproportionate risk of African American and Latino youth funneled into prison.
Restorative Justice is strategy that promotes safety in school and healing over punishment by increasing youth’s social emotional capacity and sense of efficacy. The MISJT, and Roosevelt University faculty and students began working at Morrill Elementary school in August 2012, where we are committed to working with their Faculty, Administration and community partners to implement Restorative practices to transform the culture from one that is punitive to restorative.
Juvenile Justice System
Diversion: Identifying Youth with Disabilities
We are working with the Diversion unit of the Cook County Juvenile Court, advocate attorneys and parent advocates to identify youth with disabilities and get them the appropriate services they need in the educational system in order to stop recidivism and give the youth real opportunity.
Literacy tutoring, Juvenile Probation
We are working with the Educational Advocacy unit in Probation at the Cook County Juvenile Court to implement an effective literacy tutoring program in Fall 2012. Through specific training and transformational learning, Roosevelt University students will serve as literacy tutors.
Scholar Activist Fellowships
MISJT is offering a limited number of scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students at Roosevelt University who are interested in working with organizations on research related projects that will help them achieve their social justice goals. The research and data that Scholar Activists Fellows collect will help our community partners on a number of levels, such as:
- obtain grants and necessary funding that will allow these programs to continue
- use data for learning and accountability
- validate their work in the community
- provide information on practices and enhancement of services
- develop effective activism campaigns
- identify the most effective strategies to improve outcomes for youth and/or adults who are at risk of being channeled to prison verses college or productive adulthood
This program, created in the 2011-2012 academic year is designed to help our students gain skills while learning the importance of community engagement. In our first year seven professors engaged in community-based research with eleven Roosevelt University students in the craft of social justice research. To date we have worked with eight community-based social justice organizations:
- Chicago AREA Project
- Grand Boulevard Federation
- Community Organizing and Family Issues
- Equip for Equality
- The Grassroots Collaborative
- Chicago Teachers Union
- Community Renewal Society
- Young Men's Educational Network
Hopmayer Scholar Activist training workshop
This workshop is designed to teach RU faculty and students how to engage in a form of activism that is steeped in scholarly research.
MISJT has collaborated with The Grassroots Collaborative (GC) to design the fall 2012 Scholar Activist Workshop. The GC is a leader in Chicago and more broadly in Illinois, for a brand of activism that educates and empowers community members to organize for policy and cultural change positively affecting the lives of members in the neighborhoods they serve. The GC director, Amisha Patel, will facilitate the Workshop.
The workshop will be open to all Roosevelt students and will be mandatory for students who are awarded with the MISJT Scholar Activist Fellowship. In collaboration with GC we have created a plan to place students in internships following the workshop as a way to ensure that the students apply and develop skills and insights learned in the workshop while sharing their skills with various organizations. The Hopmayer Scholar Activist Training workshop internship placements will include seven different GC organizations:
- Action Now, American Friends Service Committee
- Enlace Chicago
- Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation
- Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
- Chicago Teachers Union
- Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation