Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chatham faces problems with crime, aging residents = Changing dynamics have hurt neighborliness - alderman

BUMP'D!!! this post was originally posted on August 20. Saw that people were still commenting on this post.

From a Sun Times article in their homes section, published yesterday
Even good neighborhoods can face tough times.

The middle-class, South Side neighborhood of Chatham has long been considered a strong and secure neighborhood. But more recently, residents have been challenged by an aging population and a generational divide, says Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th), not to mention a tragic increase in crime in recent months.
Alderman Lyle was extensively interviewed.
Almost all of her peers have moved to other neighborhoods or suburbs, she said,
but those who have come back don't seem to have time for neighborhood events.

"Their children have homework and dance lessons and karate lessons, and we haven't been able to get that group to understand the value of CAPS [Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy]," she said.

"And we have trouble getting our young back because the seniors didn't leave, and because of the schools. If you move back here, you might have to put your child in private school. You cannot have a vibrant community without the schools."

The alderman thinks that the proliferation of magnet schools has put neighborhoods
like Chatham at a disadvantage. When she was growing up, all the children on the block went to the same school, but now they are dispersed among many schools. That means their parents don't meet at school functions.

"We have to become involved in the schools in our community," she added. When she was growing up, she could walk to school, and so could everyone else. Everyone knew one another.

"If you were somewhere else and were threatened, even the bad kids would protect you because you were from their school," she said. "Now we have children on one block who go to five different schools."
Read the rest of the article here.

What Ald. Lyle says about schools could also be applied to churches. Even though there are 80 churches within 1 mile of 79th & King, how many people actually go to them?

What do 2nd Generation Chathamites think? Why have your friends left? What have you decided to stay? What's you favorite part of the neighborhood?


  1. I pretty much agree with Ald. Lyle. However, for the record, let me state that I grew up and lived in Avalon Park until a few years ago when I moved to Chatham. But I spent as much time in Chatham (friends/relatives) as I did in Avalon Park.

    I never wanted to move to the suburbs because

    We are blessed in the sense that we have a lot of things that other wards lack...

    However, there are a lot of reasons why people of my generation I know decided not to remain in Chatham or Avalon Park:

    I know a lot of people like myself who tried to move into Chatham, but it was hard to do so, because being such a great neighborhood-- the residents (elderly) don't tend to move out. Which is not a bad thing at all-- but it forces younger, middle-class people to move elsewhere to try to secure the same type of housing/neighborhood/amenties-- which unfortunately tends to be the suburbs.

    Some friends, who had moved out to the burbs-- decided to remain where they were, and when their parents passed on-- sold the property.

    Schools is another big reason. I'm not just speaking about the quality, or even lack thereof in some cases,-- but as the Ald. stated, children can now go to school anywhere in the city. They no longer have to go to the school in their neighborhood; and some people I know just didn't want their children going to a CPS school at all-- and decided to move to the suburbs. Therefore, as the Ald. said, you don't have the same "old school", "I grew up with" closeness that was once shared...

    Another reason is cost. It is now expensive to live in Chicago with the taxes and all... What you may have been able to afford, with the amenities you wanted-- has decreased. You might get better "bang" for your dollar in the 'burbs.

    I'm a city girl through and through. I like the amenities we have in the 6th & 8th wards-- shopping, access to public transportation, parks, and YES-- relative "peace of mind" even though we've seemed to lose some of that lately, but again, compared to other wards, we do pretty well, but there' always a lot more that can be done, and that we can continue to do.

  2. This is a tough subject because there are a number of residents who are wrestling with this issue. I've been asked by friends who once lived here why I stay. One of my reasons was because of schools. My daughter is in special education and CPS was once light year ahead of most suburbs but that has changed dramatically and some have caught up and passed CPS.

    Secondly, I didn't want to do the suburban shuffle that I saw co-workers going through. They had to stop work and run down the street like crazy people because they had to catch a train. The other kept moving from suburb to suburb attemptng to move away fron the "ghetto" crowd.

    As it has been said in the past my friends and school mates from Deneen went to or were involved with our neighborhood church Salem Lutheran. Salem hosted boy and girl scouts,basketball team and summer camp and the others attended. Most do not know that astronaut Joan Higginbottan attended Salem. As I look today only a handful of those individuals live in the neighborhood or attend the church.

    Overall most of my friends and associates have moved away because hey were exposed to other neighborhoods and liked what they saw(i.e. larger yards, quiet streets, access to shopping, etc.)and while they needed to come back into the neighborhood for barber and beauty shops, restaurants, etc today they do not have to because these services have moved to the suburbs with them.

  3. I am a resident of west chesterfield near chatham and I am one of those children who
    decided to stay here and raise a family
    although, i regret doing so. This area
    was beautiful. it certainly was not totally
    crime free but now it reminds me of englewood
    and other crime infested places in the city.
    I live on what use to be a wonderful block but
    it is now filled with boarded up homes, drug dealers, drugs, vagrants, robberies, burglaries,
    panhandlers fill 95th street and assaults. There are homeowners who resides on he block who own other homes and rent them to people who
    are degenerates which is why we have so much crime on our block and in the neighborhood at large. I wish that the law would make these
    homeowners accountable for all the crime that has been bestowed upon us on this block. They
    rent out these homes and donot care about what
    these people do to the rest of us because it is not happening to them and of course, they have
    their rent money because it is section 8 or the
    money they obtained from burglarizing our homes.

    On 95th street, there are two or more homes with
    vagrants living in them because the owner or owners of these homes are not checking up on their boarded up property or they donot care who
    they rent these homes to. In the mean time, you can not even walk down 95th street without
    fear for your life that you may be caught in a
    another driveby. There was one recently involving these homes on East 95th street which
    several people got shot. We need our alderman
    to assist us in getting these homeowners and making them be responsible. Take away their
    property. We re-elect ald. Lyle time and time
    again. We need you to do something because we
    are not safe here. I donot go to the neighborhood parks or anything else in our neighborhood. If you want the people to stay,
    do something about the crime. You are correct
    when you say that the seniors are not going anywhere but they also are not assisting in the
    effort to rid west chesterfield of the crime because of fear. I do understand why, but we
    need the community and our alderman to do something. NOW

    west chesterfield resident at the moment......

  4. I understand your frustration and no this is not the quality of life no one remembers or wants. But it is residents like yourself who can help turn things around. The problem only will get worst if the our neighbors continue to sit in their homes and complain among themselves.

    First if the problem is with board up properties contact our ward supervisor Brian Gardner at 312-7474-8776. If he not available, ask that he personally return your call.

    Secondly, if you know or suspect that the property is being occupied by a Section 8 tenant. Please contact the fraud hotline at 1-800-533-0441 and report the problem. make sure to report everything(i.e. property in disrepair, public dinking, violence, fighting, noise, etc). They will not contact you but if they are section 8 tenants you will see some change. Also if you have a digital camera take pictures and send them to us and we will post them on our site. lasly email the problem addresses to

  5. thank you worlee for your response and i will
    do that and i have been speaking to my neighbors
    and telling them that this is a situation that will only get worse. we have the holidays that is approaching and darkness is earlier and although, it didnot stop degenerates who has victimized our neighborhood. i do know that
    the darkness will only aid them in their continued wrongdoing. i have already written a letter to our alderman. thanks so much. i hope she will assist us also.

  6. if the owner of the property is renting to persons who are dealing drugs, burglarizing
    homes, has over the number of occupants in
    a home and running an illegal business out
    of the home, what can we do? The persons
    who are living there socializes with a person
    who was just arrested for burglarizing several
    homes in our neighborhood and there is a picture
    of the individual standing in fron of the home.
    He may not reside there, but he is a criminal and so are the occupants who is part of this
    burglary network in our neighborhood. can the
    owner be held responsible?

  7. The email is this ald
    lyle email address or does this go to someone
    else? i included the addresses of the problem
    homes in my letter. thanks.

  8. worlee:

    What you are saying regarding cps is exactly the
    reason why most people leave certain areas and
    i am not saying that all cps schools are behind
    but alot of them are. unless of course, you get
    into the gifted, classical or magnet schools or
    you are just in a great area which some areas are better than others and you can actually attend your neighborhood school. so many of my friends who have young children move into areas like homewood, beverly, oak lawn, evergreen park and naperville just to be able to have the option of going to a good neighborhood school without going through the testing process and frustration and knowing that your child deserves to obtain a good education and all you need is to be able to
    give it without testing or without paying for it. our neighborhood schools are terrible.
    we have no resources like the other above mentioned areas, we have to test to stay in our
    neighborhood because the best schools are gifted. we are competing with all of chicago
    for a seat for our children and that is not fair. the areas that i named have wonderful schools but yet they are able to come in our neighborhood and test and take a seat that could have been available to a child who lives
    in that neighborhood. and of course, i must mention that our children have to wear a shield
    of armor to go to our schools because of the ever increasing violence. this is one of many reasons why i would pay higher taxes just to be
    protected another neighborhood. All of this
    has devasted me. My summers are usually good, but this one was so terrible. my neighbors have been victimized and so was I by the very
    people who live across from us.

  9. i would like to see a lot of improvements in these neighborhood schools. so that their
    reading and math scores will be just as great
    as these other schools. why can't we have a
    magnet school in the neighborhood or a specialty
    school that you donot have to test to get in?
    we just have standard elementary schools and nothing more. we deserve better.

  10. First let me say Thank you for participating on the blog. This type of dialogue is the only way our community will get better.

    This has been a tough summer for everyone in the 6th ward no matter what community. But I see some positive signs, CSU new president opening up the university to the community, community refocusing on our parks and som new businesses opening.

    Also, Alderman Lyle participates on our blog as her schedule permits so your comments do not go unnoticed. Also, because we have an election coming up some of the other candidates will participate. We have experts in our community in a number of fields and we are blessed that a couple in education participate on our blog.

    In closing, please continue to participate on the blog and any resource tat we know of we will definitely pass them on to you.

  11. Anonymous,
    I am not sure if you are the same person from all the comments. However, I want to encourage you pick a name you will use, so we can get to know you through the comments. It's preferred you use your full name, or at least first name or something consistent.

    A couple of questions i wanted to ask:

    Did you or any of your neighbors introduce yourselves to the new residents? That seems far more effective as preventive rather than the reactive action Worlee suggested (which SHOULD be done, but preferably trying to avoid it if possible). (I have a story about my first experiences, which i will try to write up for next month)

    Also, the people renting out the buildings ..were they not your neighbors at one point (or the children of the owners)? Didn't ou have a relationship with them? I'm not trying to accuse,just trying to get a clearer picture.

    Not all of our schools are terrible. Dixon has a 300 child waiting list, and Burnside Academy (wher emy daughter is starting) has some pretty decent scores.

    Also, if you went to the 6th ward crime meeting a while back, a constant theme that the burglars cited as a major deterrent: Nosy neighbors. The question for us -- are we nosy neighbors, or neighbors that just thumb our nose?

  12. What I suggested is nothing less than what Alderman Lyle and even your community organization GCA has suggested to members. So are they reactionary?

    Per CHA, residents under the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) have to abide by guidelines prescibed by them. You can go to the CHA site and find them if you like. No where do they say that public drinking, BBQ on front lawns, loud noise, theft, etc is acceptable.
    Attempting to speak with a "head of houshold" who is condoning unacceptable behaivor is a waste of time. If the neighbors did not introduce themselves that was the first sign there was going to be a problem. Decent people learn that you introduce yourself when you move into a new neighborhood.

    As far as schools the 300 student waiting list is the result of overcrowding. Had you attended some of Alderman Lyle other community meetings you would have heard her speak of the request she has made to the city because of the influx of Section 8 tenants. Also, all the candidates for Alderman are talking about te school problem. Yes Dixon and Burnside are doing ok but what about Deneen, Ruggles and Gilespie. What about Robeson, Hirsch, and South Shore High Schools? I'm not sending my child to any of those schools as most parents in the community refused to send their children to those schools.

    Frankly, I think you do not have any basis for your comments seeing you only have lived here for the last four years and have a love affair with Uptown.

  13. Well "west chesterfield resident at the moment......", assuming all those comments are from you I want to address your statement about why there can't be a magnet school in the community. Harlan has a magnet engineering program of course that's as close to a magnet program as one could get close to their home. Although I wouldn't mind if Harlan was turned into a magnet school on par with a Whitney Young for example.

    All the same while I wouldn't be opposed to a magnet school I want the schools in this ward (to be geographically specific) to perform better so that we may attract new residents to this part of the city. Making them into magnet or selective enrollment schools may not help.

  14. Thank you. The poor performance of the high schools in this neighborhood has become a deal breaker for families looking to move into the neighborhood.

  15. "As far as schools the 300 student waiting list is the result of overcrowding."

    Worlee, I would have to disagree with you here...

    If anyone wants their children to attend Dixon, they have to apply via an application from CPS to do so. The applications come out in the Fall, and have to be turned in by late December.

    Parents are normally notified during March/April as to whether or not their children were accepted.

    Depending on the number of openings they have-- they fill them by lottery and the number left over can be considered the "waiting list".

    It has nothing to do with Section 8 residents/overcrowding.

    Parents from other neighborhoods, Some Section 8, some middle class-- whatever-- not just Chatham, Avalon Park or South Shore apply to Dixon. It is a great school.

  16. Worlee, also let me add that while yes, the poor performance of the high schools in this area-- CVCA, South Shore (which is now comprised of "small schools", Hirsch, and Harlan could be a deal-breaker for families looking to move into the neighborhood-- this is a half-truth.

    Remember that one no longer needs to attend the school in their neighborhood as we had to back in the day.

    A parent/guardian can now apply their child to attend any school in the city-- as long as they apply and hopefully get accepted depending upon the number of openings if it's by lottery.

    With Selective Enrollment schools such as Whitney Young, Brooks and King and the Military Schools-- an exam must be taken, and if the child scores high enough and depending on how high their 7th grade standardized test scores were-- they can possibly get in-- it is dependent upon the number of openings and how high they tested. Children with the highest scores are placed higher on the list for acceptance. Bottom line.

    For instance, Whitney Young may have 150 openings for their incoming Freshman class, but 4,000 applications... which means that not everyone who applied can get in.

    What we need to focus on in regards to school choice and acceptance and STRESS to parents-- that is THEIR responsibility to make sure that their children not only do well in school, but go to school!!

    Most importantly, is we need to let parents/guardians know that they need to APPLY to schools that require an application, and to do it in a timely manner!!

    A parent/guardian can apply to as many schools as they want, which is what I always encourage parents to do.

    You will not believe how many parents/guardians apply their child to ONE school-- Young, King, Brooks, etc., and are pissed off when they don't get in.

    When a parent/guardian does NOT apply their child to a a school-- CPS MUST enroll the child in the nearest neighborhood school that has capacity. Which means that even though your child lives across the street from Hirsch-- if they are full-- they will be sent to next "nearest" school with capacity which could be the parent's worst-case scenario.

    As I mentioned in my earlier posting, the main deal-breaker for families looking to move in to Chatham is that their aren't a lot of homes for sale in this neighborhood due to the stability/age of the residents.

  17. Let me also add that a person can live in Chatham, but their children don't have to attend a neighborhood school.

    As I stated earlier in this post, the main issue I see with getting residents in Chatham is the lack of availability of housing. Chatham is relatively stable. People don't tend to move once they're in.

    As Alderman Lyle mentioned in the article, a student can attend a CPS school anywhere in the city as long as the parent/guardian APPLIES to the school, and that for schools that require testing, that their children score high on the test and on their 7th grade Standardized Test scores.

    While I have some personal issues with the whole CPS application/testing thing-- For one, I'm a proponent of neighborhood schools-- the one thing I see year after year is that more parents than not, apply their child to ONE school only. I'm not saying that Anonymous did this, but it always amazes me that parents are so "stuck" on getting their child into a particular school, and don't consider other schools, and when their child is not accepted-- throw a fit!!

    A parent/guardian can apply their child to as many schools as they want during the application/testing period. I ALWAYS encourage parents to do so and in a TIMELY manner!!

    For example, Whitney Young may have 150 openings for their incoming Freshman class, but will receive 4,000 applications.... They are going to take the students with the highest scores, with 9.0+ stanines. If your child scores in the 2.0 stanines, and barely make it through Elementary School-- why would you think your child can get into Young?

    I also encourage parents to be PARENTS and to make sure that their children are handling their business in terms of getting good grades and attending school each and every day!!

    It kills me when you have parents apply their students to a Selective Enrollment school such as King, Brooks, Payton or Young and their children barely made it through Elementary School with C&D grades, and missed 165 days of class and had 300 tardies. Why would their parent think they can get into Young??

    You wouldn't believe how many parents ask to transfer their children out of Selective Enrollment/Magnet schools after the first grade marking period, because the curriculum is to rigorous and their child can't handle it...

    What has to happen is that WE need to make more of an effort to protest the lack of Selective Enrollment/Magnet schools in our community. We do it amongst ourselves, but I HARDLY EVER see anyone from this community at the monthly Board of Ed meetings protesting or grieving the lack of quality schools in this area...

  18. With all due respect Ms. Branch I have to disagree. Dixon has gone from a scholl that was at 80-90% capacity about 3 years ago to now over crowded. There was no need to buid additional classrooms in the past but that is why they are completing the addition as we speak.

    Yes, we have "selective enrollment schools" but as you speak of there are extremely limited spaces available. On the northside if a child doesn't go to one of these schools they still have choices. Lincoln Park, Lake View and Lane Tech High Schools are high performing schools that are not "selective enrollment". In Hyde Park they have Kenwood and in Morgan Park/Beverly they have Morgn Park and CHAS. All of the school mentioned are better alternatives than what we have available for "neighborhood schools". So it appears that the only option available for parents in our ommunity is to enroll in charter schools.

  19. Thank you April for your thoughts on our school system. You must be of the opinion that we should have a selective enrollment school in this community. Would you suppose the lack of interest in what goes on at the Board of Ed is the fact that perhaps many of the residents of Chatham are seniors who no longer have children in the school system? Also do you think that the way to fix our neighborhood schools is to turn them into magnets or selective enrollments? Or better yet what can we do to improve the neighborhood schools?

  20. I'm not of the opinion that we should have a Selective Enrollment school in this community. I'm a proponent of neighborhood schools.

    I don't think it would be detrimental per se, to have one, but keep in mind that children from all over the city can compete to get in, and the ones from the neighborhood are usually locked out of the process because they don't test as well if they actually applied to get in.

    When you have a neighborhood school, children who reside in the neighborhood get "dibs" on going. Like the Ald. stated in the article, one of the reasons I believe that we've lost that "old school", neighborly, "we go back" feeling and stability is because of Selective Enrollment schools and the fact that your child can now go to any school in the city as long as they apply/test and get accepted.

    Overall, I just think that people are mentally exhausted trying to keep a roof over their heads week to week. I don't think the lack of interest has anything to do with the senior residents. We have a lot of younger residents somewhere around here, because I see loads of children walking to and from to Pirie and Dixon every day.

    I think that all CPS schools in the city should be magnet or have magnet programs. ALL of our children need a fair chance at a quality education.

    To improve our neighborhood schools is a complex question as there are so many things involved nowadays, especially with the current leadership of CPS. Teachers are being laid off. Not just incompetent ones. Principals are retiring in droves. Not just incompetent ones. People who aren't educators are now running the system. Charter Schools are the new "wave"...

    When you have these many changes in a system which trickles down to our schools, every year, all year-- it leads to instability and chaos.

    In regards to improving our schools, I can only speak from personal experience. My daughter graduated from Dixon. At Dixon, it is not only demanded, but EXPECTED that parents play a major role in not only the education of their children, but that of the school. Parent involvement is encouraged and welcomed.

    In schools that don't do as well as Dixon, there's very little parent involvement whether with the school or the students themselves. At my sister's former school, hardly any parents came on Report Card Pickup Day to obtain their child's report card. At Dixon it's about 100%.

    When parents play a large role in their child's education, the school tends to be better, simply because the school is on "watch", and parents make sure that the school is handling business and educating their children. Parents at good schools tend to be more politically active and vocal and therefore squeaky wheels tend to get oiled...

  21. While I was fortunate enough to have attended the selective enrollment schools of McDade Classical and Whitney Young, I think the current school system has gone too far in tilting the balance towards a few "super schools." In my opinion this has had a disastrous effect of Chatham and similar neighborhoods. One of the reason I was critical of public school choice as presented in "No Child Left Behind" was that the idea to let children transfer to high performing schools without a shift in funding allocations would only bring other schools down. The new overcrowding caused by the school choice and the poorly planned relocations of massive amounts of people created many neighborhoods where there was too large of a gulf between selective enrollment and neighborhood schools to make parents who could afford better to be comfortable taking a chance. That, combined with the financial reasons listed a few times above has pushed many young families to the Suburbs.

    However on the whole the neighborhood is also hurt by the prevailing theory that this is "only" a neighborhood of senior citizens. While there is and has been a strong and active senior community the reason Chatham remained strong for so many years was that people who grew up here stayed here. There was a constant stream of renewal and a forward looking nature.
    Currently, however, as society moves into a more technological and digital future, we will need a little more help from the government than in previous times, in order for Chatham to keep pace on education and small business. We must expand the digital infrastructure, we must provide broadband internet access to everyone in a way they can afford. Too much in education, information, and business has moved to increasing complicated web presences to have such a large population that is excluded to access.

    I am a large proponent in investment in middle class neighborhoods. I don't wish to make them into business districts but I do think that even the family neighborhoods of the future need some fundamental upgrades to help the 6th Ward retain its reputation as a good place for families for the next 20-30 years. I believe that we can draw in more good people to the area, and that as we have more and more energetic people demanding more, we receive more, and that influx of energy stabilizes the neighborhood better over the long term.

  22. In response to Worlee, just to clarify--

    Lane Tech IS a Selective Enrollment High School. You have to apply and test to get in.

    You also have to apply to get into Kenwood, Lake View, Chicago Ag, and Morgan Park.

    Also, if I recall correctly, Dixon was promised a new addition/capital improvement when Paul Vallas was the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. That would have been prior to the influx of Section 8 residents.

  23. Sleet,

    You have provided some very interesting and commentary. I agree with you in terms of greater and more affordable access to digital infrastructure.

    As we all know and realize, there are certain things in a community which make it viable and whole. Schools play a very large part. People relocate their families in order for their children to have an opportunity to get into better schools.

    As I mentioned earlier, I'm a proponent of neighborhood schools, and a fairly new resident of Chatham. What is your opinion in terms of improving neighborhood schools or schools as a whole in this area?

  24. Just an FYI. To see how our neighborhood schools stack up against others the tribune has a section School Report Card and if you want to know how much your child's teacher is making

  25. levois
    from west chesterfield resident at the moment
    the comments that were made are definitely from me but also from the many residents that i know
    that have children who reside in this neighborhood and harlan high school needs alot of improvement. i understand from neighbors who had their children there that this school was considered a good school but they tell me this was very long ago, not to mention the violence that is in the school and surrounds the school. Do you live around harlan high school or near it? do you have children or know of anyone who attends this school? I recently also met, by accident, the vice principal of the school and he says they are doing their best to improve the school. So there is work to be done. All i was saying was
    that our elementary and high schools should be
    just as good as the other areas such as beverly,
    evergreen park, oak lawn and others where if your child does not score high enough to get into the gifted schools that she or he may attend their neighborhood school and still obtain a great education. thank you.

  26. west chesterfield resident at the moment says
    to sleet. i agree with you 100% regarding the
    schools and the neighborhoods. our neighborhoods need so much help right now because so many residents have moved to the
    suburbs like matteson because they want the better homes and schools.

  27. to jp paulus from west chesterfield resident at the moment ( i will choose the above name)

    I do believe that worlee has a better understanding of what i am experiencing.
    I can only speak for myself with this statement
    i have been a "nosey neighbor" and we all know
    the not by socializing with but because we know
    the owner of the property. Why would we want to know or socialize with a drug dealer and persons who burglarize homes? these are the people who the owner has rented the property to.
    I do believe that the owner knows who is renting the property. We also all attend the crime meetings but the owner is also there in attendance taking notes and discusses who and what is said during these meetings. I know a teacher who use to teach at dixon elementary
    and she says that the schools needs alot of improvement. i am happy that you love the school. I will be more consistent with one name. thank you

  28. west chesterfield resident at the moment,

    well short of saying exactly where I live, I will say that I am a Harlan alumni. My knowledge of the school is from a frame of reference that's over a decade ago. I lived through some of the years where Harlan had such a troublesome reputation. Even if as Worlee has stated that Harlan has improved academically the perception of Harlan as a tough school still hasn't changed because I have ran into people who gave an anguished expression when I mention the name.

    Unfortunately I really know of no one who has gone to that school either currently or say within the past five or so years.

    What I can say is that I have posted reports of incidents around Harlan especially a shooting that took place near 95th and Michigan last year. And also of incidents via EveryBlock that takes place near Harlan's address. Although I don't know anything more than the reported offense that I see from EveryBlock. I would encourage you to check out our Blotter and seek out any reports from near or at Harlan.

    BTW, if you do want to continue to offer your thoughts about Harlan and the West Chesterfield feel free to send me an e-mail. We will always welcome your participation on this blog as well.

  29. Thanks everyone for making this one fo the most commented posts ever, with some good thoughts and issues for our reader to consider.

    i think Dixon's "overcrowding" is due to its popularity as a school. There's no way that there enough kids in the immediate area for overcorwding (especially with Pirie literally 2 blocks down the street & around the corner). i know at least 1 family (who should have gone to Deneen) who moved to the Dixon area to ensure their child's enrollment.

    As for how to fix the issue of education.. i am a bit torn.
    i don't like the idea of students being segregated..if the "smart ones" are gone, that also creates a vacuum of peer leadership that gets filled by the "riff raff".

    When i went to school, we had both special ed & gifted classes in the same building.

    But we also strongly consider the "meet or exceed grade level". While test scores aren't the only factor, they are a definite measure of a school's health.

    west chesterfield resident at the moment,

    Regarding socializing...If you know the property owner (i.e. they live/lived in the neighborhood), then talking with him will be far more effective than someone he doesn't know only talking negative to him. The same thing for the gangbanger/burglar...if you know them, it's easier to get info to stop him OR better yet, share the Gospel with him and have the Lord change his heart.

  30. First, every incident reported as happening around Harlan should not be attributed to the students at Harlan. 1 block away is the City's busiest bus terminal and students from at least 5 high schools pass through 95th & State every school day. Secondly, bad people looking to prey upon students from all across the South side hang in the vicinity of 95th & State, which is why we have 2 cameras east of State and 1 west of State.

    Harlan is improving and will continue to improve. There are new programs in the school designed to attract a more committed student. There are programs in place designed to assist the struggling student. Over 2 million dollars in infrastructure upgrades was placed into Harlan in the last year. More staff training than ever before is being undertaken at Harlan. But the work continues, and we will continue to work on making Harlan a school of choice once again.

    By the way I have family at Harlan and know residents of the Ward who have children at Harlan.


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