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Full stories for City News (to be online 10/11)

Dolton West Elementary District Teacher Selected for Fellowship

A Washington Elementary School Educator was recently named as one of 15 teachers from across Illinois to participate in a highly-selective, statewide education program.

Unique Morris, a multi-tiered system of supports facilitator at Washington School in Riverdale, has been named a Fellow with the Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellowship.

During the year-long fellowship, the fellows participate in a specially-designed course of study in policy and advocacy. They also develop the skills necessary to advocate for policies that will better serve Illinois students and teachers.

The Teach Plus Fellowship is an opportunity for me to learn about educational advocacy and policymaking at the school, District, and state level. Teach Plus also provides me the opportunity to be the voice of my students, parents, and colleagues on educational issues,” Morris said.

In her position at Washington Elementary School,. Morris is an instructional facilitator, focusing on reading and math instruction for students in Kindergarten through Grade 5. She has been a District 148 educator for 15 years. Before joining the staff at Washington School, she taught First Grade for six years and Third Grade for two years at the District’s Roosevelt Elementary School in Dolton. She has worked as a Multi-Tiered System of Supports Facilitator at Washington School since 2012.

She also serves on Washington School’s Leadership Team as well as on the District’s Partnership for Resilience Team. In addition, she is the Vice President of the Dolton Education Association (DEA).

“We are delighted about Mrs. Morris’ selection to serve in this dynamic Fellowship role. She is a prevalent influence on students at Washington School and this new opportunity will enable her to have a far-reaching impact on educators and students across Illinois,” District 148 Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kevin J. Nohelty. “Kudos to Mrs. Morris on achieving this well-deserved, high-level honor!”

District 148 has one early childhood center, six elementary schools, and three junior high schools. The District serves families in sections of Dolton, Riverdale, Harvey and South Holland.

NAACP Indiana To Train East Chicago Students to Test for Lead Pollution

In response to the ongoing mismanaged lead crisis in East Chicago and the Trump administration’s cuts to the EPA and environmental justice programs, NAACP Indiana, in partnership with Indiana State University and the Union of Concerned Scientists, kicks off Our Community Scientists initiative with a series of student and community lead testing training this week.

In a press release, the group said that “The Trump administration defunded EPA programs that test air and water quality in places like East Chicago. The agency also recently moved the Office of Environmental Justice internally to be closer to control of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt–a move advocates say is an attempt to ‘politicize’ the office’s work. It is becoming increasingly clear that communities like East Chicago will need to fight to protect their communities themselves. Their government cannot be trusted.”

The NAACP sponsored program, Our Community Scientists, will help community members rely less on political leaders who have failed them and more on each other. The initiative consists of free training, organized by the NAACP Indiana State Conference, and will teach community members how to conduct tests of water, soil, and air themselves. People will be able to have their dust samples (to test for air quality), soil, and water tested on site. The training will show how one community is standing up for justice and is taking steps to protect their families.

Other events include:

Community Healing Circle:

October 13, 6:00 pm, Friendship Baptist Church, 4756 Melville Ave. East, East Chicago, IN. The community can come together to discuss how displacement, erasure, and political ignorance have shaped their struggle. Free counselors will be onsite and light snacks provided. This event is open and free to all.

Community Scientists Day:

October 14, 10:00 am at First Baptist Church, 4911 McCook Avenue, East Chicago, IN. Again, in partnership with Indiana State University and the Union of Concerned Scientists, the East Chicago community can learn how to test their air, soil, and water for lead and free testing kits provided on site. Free Our Youth Scientist Backpack giveaways and T-shirts. Other exhibitors will be present and food will be provided. This event is open and free to all.


CBRE Marketing Property to Potential Buyers

As City Colleges of Chicago plans to relocate its administrative office, would-be owners of a prime downtown Chicago property have an opportunity to place a bid on its significant headquarters building in Chicago’s West Loop. The community college system recently announced today that it has officially put the building up for sale and engaged real estate firm CBRE to market it on CCC’s behalf.

“The sale of the administrative office building will enable City Colleges to invest more across our campuses, in our communities and will bring the staff closer to its students,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This represents another step forward towards ensuring City Colleges students are prepared with the tools and resources necessary to succeed in 21st-century careers.”

Among the relocation options, CCC is considering is the utilization of space available on its Kennedy-King College campus in Englewood (100 jobs will come to that area) as well as at its Dawson Technical Institute in Bronzeville. City Colleges will also seek an additional small office space for staff to remain in the central business district. The community college system aims to close on the downtown headquarters building with a new buyer by the end of its FY18 fiscal year in late spring.

The 185,000-square foot classically-styled office building located at 226 W. Jackson just east of the Willis Tower, represents an outstanding opportunity for redevelopment for office, hotel, residential or retail uses. It sits on 17,400 square feet at the Northeast corner of Jackson and Franklin and is currently zoned by the City of Chicago as “Downtown Core 16.” This flexible zoning allows mixed-use development that will continue the trend of repurposing significant older downtown buildings into modern offices, hotels or residences that has revitalized the Loop in recent years.

“By selling what is an underutilized asset, we will have greater resources to invest in our colleges, in our students, in our communities, all the while achieving a closer relationship between our staff and students,” said Chancellor Juan Salgado. “The recently announced $500 million renovation plans for the Willis Tower along with the redevelopment of the Old Chicago Main Post Office, the growing residential population downtown and the resulting increases in commercial and retail traffic makes this an ideal time to sell our well-located Loop property.”

Earlier this summer, CCC Chancellor Juan Salgado announced the intended sale of the District’s headquarters building in a move intended to right size operations and shift more resources to its colleges located in Chicago neighborhoods. Moving administrative staff to CCC campuses around the city from a building that currently records only 33% occupancy aligns with the Chancellor’s strategy to shift greater focus to the system’s seven colleges and five satellite sites while shoring up the district’s long-term financial health.

“The sale of our building is a win-win financially and strategically for the students of City Colleges,” continued Salgado. “Relocating our administrative staff will put them in greater proximity to our students, allowing us to serve them better at a time when our emphasis is on providing students with an exceptional educational and student service experience. The sale of the building will ensure CCC has the financial resources to continue serving the students of Chicago and changing the trajectory of their lives through a quality education.”

Conveniently based in the heart of the LaSalle financial district, the building offers great access to the Quincy CTA stop, Union and Ogilvie Stations, and has easy access to major expressways. The daytime business population within a one-mile is over 500,000 and the nearby residential population continues to grow.

City Colleges of Chicago has enlisted the services of CBRE, Inc. in facilitating the sale of the property. A brochure offering extensive details about the building at 226 W. Jackson – its amenities and development possibilities – is available, and interested parties may contact Martin Stern, Senior Managing Director of CBRE at 312.456.7070, martin.stern@cbre.com.

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