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Programs for at-risk students in Chicago, including matching with jobs, mentors, and counseling

There's funding for programs to mentor and get students off the streets into more supportive environments.
Excerpts from the Wall Street Journal:

"In response to the violence, Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools Ron Huberman last month announced a safety and security strategy that will target nearly 10,000 high-school students identified as at risk of becoming shooting victims. The project will connect some of them with mentors and part-time jobs in hopes of keeping the teens off the streets. The $30 million annual cost of the program will be paid for by federal stimulus grants.

The most at-risk students have poor academic performance, miss more days of school and are more likely to be homeless and in special-education programs than other students, according to the report.

The analysis found that about 80% of the shootings involved students at 38 of 89 high schools in the district.

The 200 students assessed as being in the "ultra high risk" category were deemed to have greater than a 20% chance of being shot over the next two years. An additional 1,000 students had between a 7.5% and 20% chance of being shot, and an additional 8,500 had a 1% to 7.5% chance of being shot.

The program aims to provide at-risk students with jobs, mentors, counseling services and to replicate the less-tense atmosphere of schools with less violence, Mr. Huberman said. The plan also aims to station police and school security personnel along certain streets to provide students safe passage to school. Those passages are not in place yet."


Violent Deaths Shock Chicago Into Action
Officials Move to Identify at-Risk Children, Implement Programs to Make Classrooms, Neighborhoods Safer

* Comments (114)

By DOUGLAS BELKIN
WSJ October 7, 2009

The videotaped beating death of a 16-year-old boy who wandered into a street brawl is focusing attention once again on how dangerous it is to be a teenager in Chicago.

The city is instituting a program to monitor and help the thousands of students it considers at risk of violence. The high murder rate has marred the city's image, and some have speculated that it played a role in Chicago's loss in its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Chicago brawl

An image from a video of the Sept. 24 attack on Chicago's South Side that left Derrion Albert dead. Four teenage boys have been arrested.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder are expected to meet with local elected officials, students and parents Wednesday in Chicago. The trip signals that President Barack Obama's administration may be taking a more active role in seeking solutions to a violence problem that has left 45 students dead in the past 12 months.

Derrion Albert, 16 years old, was beaten to death seven blocks from his school last month. A recording of the attack was posted online and widely viewed. Police have arrested four teenage boys in connection with the incident.

Between September 2008 and September 2009, 398 Chicago students were shot, said Monique Bond, a spokesman for the district. So far this school year, four students have been slain.

In response to the violence, Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools Ron Huberman last month announced a safety and security strategy that will target nearly 10,000 high-school students identified as at risk of becoming shooting victims. The project will connect some of them with mentors and part-time jobs in hopes of keeping the teens off the streets. The $30 million annual cost of the program will be paid for by federal stimulus grants.

"This is costing a tremendous amount of money, but for this group of students we believe are at substantial risk of being shot, we don't have a choice," Mr. Huberman said.

The high murder rate was an embarrassment to the city as it pursued a bid to host the Olympics. A satirical campaign for an Olympic mascot of a chalk outline of a dead body -- such as those found at crime scenes -- earned widespread local attention in the run-up to the International Olympic Committee's vote for a host city. The Rev. Jesse Jackson speculated that the wide circulation of the beating video could have influenced the decision to drop Chicago in the first round of voting last week.

Mr. Huberman, a former police officer who was named CEO seven months ago, said the security plan was created by analyzing profiles of all the students shot over the past five years.

The most at-risk students have poor academic performance, miss more days of school and are more likely to be homeless and in special-education programs than other students, according to the report.

The analysis found that about 80% of the shootings involved students at 38 of 89 high schools in the district.

The 200 students assessed as being in the "ultra high risk" category were deemed to have greater than a 20% chance of being shot over the next two years. An additional 1,000 students had between a 7.5% and 20% chance of being shot, and an additional 8,500 had a 1% to 7.5% chance of being shot.

The program aims to provide at-risk students with jobs, mentors, counseling services and to replicate the less-tense atmosphere of schools with less violence, Mr. Huberman said. The plan also aims to station police and school security personnel along certain streets to provide students safe passage to school. Those passages are not in place yet.

Mr. Albert was heading home from school when he walked into a fight between two groups of students; one from the Altgeld Gardens section of the city -- where Mr. Obama was once a community organizer -- and the other group made up of students from the neighborhoods closer to the school.

The shaky video of his slaying shows a swarm of teenage boys in a melee that suddenly zeros in on Mr. Albert as he is hit on the head from behind with a long, wooden railroad tie. Mr. Albert falls to the ground, stands up and is punched by a second boy. He falls again, and when he rises a third boy hits him on the head with another plank.

On Tuesday a pile of stuffed animals and flowers memorialized the spot where the teen fell.

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Comment by Daniel Bassill on October 10, 2009 at 12:22pm
Thanks for posting this. The map below shows more of the articles written in the Chicago papers last week about this issue. Few of them pointed readers to places where they could donate time and talent. Thus, we need to create that media ourselves. You can find this map and links to the stories on my blog.

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