Building teacher and student leadership in Chicago schools to transform the impact of discipline on young males of color

The Foundation's Forward Promise initiative was designed to improve the health of young men and boys of color and enhance their opportunities for success in school, work, and life.This funding to Alternatives, Inc., will provide capacity building support for the expansion of the Safe Schools Consortium, a unique collaborative supporting school discipline approaches that address behavioral problems without pushing students out of school. In partnership with Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE), a citywide, multi-racial collaborative comprised of six community organizations focused on improving educational outcomes for low-income students, Alternatives, Inc., will complete the following activities during the grant period: (1) Develop a partnership with the Quest Center to train staff in research-based approaches designed to reduce disciplinary referrals of young men of color and provide technical assistance required for effective and sustainable leadership of alternative discipline practices; (2) Integrate the education reform strategies used by VOYCE to advance additional district-level reforms; (3) Develop a policy plan with Chicago Public Schools to spread the model; (4) Complete evaluation of the implementation of the restorative justice practices and impact on suspensions and expulsions. Project deliverables include the training of at least 80 percent of teaching staff at the target schools and 100 percent of school staff in charge of discipline, with changes to practices, policies and attitudes measured qualitatively; the establishment of school space for restorative interventions at the three target schools; improved student-teacher relationships and safer, college-going school climates as measured through research-based qualitative indicators; reductions in suspensions and school-based arrests; increased retention of high-need students with a focus on young men of color, particularly those who have a history of disciplinary infractions; and the development of a policy plan including a revised discipline code and district-wide staff training curriculum based on the published lessons from the Safe Schools Consortium work.

Alternatives, Inc. is a grantee of the RWJF Forward Promise Initiative.


Grant Details

Amount Awarded $500,000.00

Awarded on: 5/14/2013

Time frame: 7/1/2013 - 12/31/2015

Grant Number: 70951


Alternatives, Inc.

4730 North Sheridan Road
Chicago, 60640-5022


Judy Gall
Project Director


Emma Chung-Ming Tai
Project Director