Logistical aspects of this partnership are currently in development. Information will be updated here as more details are formalized.
To support Oak Park families and educators who will participate in remote learning, the library is partnering with the Equity Team (E-Team) of Oak Park, Oak Park Elementary School District 97, and Dominican University to serve as a “family and tutoring command center.”
Beginning at the start of the District 97 school year, the E-Team estimates this collaborative approach will support 150 students in grades K-8, with the potential to eventually expand and support more families who request assistance.
“Our past partnerships and close relationships enabled us to quickly organize to imagine and create innovative ways to support students and families as we work to not only provide support during this crisis, but to make significant, sustainable changes to our systems,” says E-Team co-founder Frances Kraft.
Addressing an immediate community need
The E-Team, a coalition of families, educators, and community members working together to provide the resources and support Oak Park children need to be successful, and its tutors, including students from Dominican University and former Oak Park and River Forest High School graduates, will work with families identified by District 97 as in need of significant support during this time.
“We will work closely with teachers and staff to create an ongoing process for students to access targeted intervention from our tutoring corps,” Kraft says.
Most of this work will happen in a virtual environment, with E-Team tutors using dedicated space and technology at the Main Library to deliver remote tutoring and other educational support to Tier 3 District 97 students (those in the 0 to 25th percentile), as they participate in the district’s Remote Learning 2.0 plan for the first trimester.
Prioritizing health & safety
Responding to the specific need for educational support during the COVID-19 pandemic, this command center approach also prioritizes overall community health and safety.
Safety protocols already in place at the Main Library during Service Level 2 will be followed. Practices include wearing face coverings before entering the building, physical distancing, frequent cleaning of high-touch areas, and keeping visits to one hour or less. Specific Main Library study spaces will be accessible only to participants of the program during predefined days and times.
More about the E-Team & the library
The E-Team is an Illinois State Board of Education IL-EMPOWER Learning Partner. The E-Team has a partnership with District 97 that includes identification of specific students, data-sharing agreements, lines to potential funding, and access to instructional materials and schedules.
For the past 4 years, the library has worked in partnership with the E-Team to support efforts to increase equity in local education. Specifically, the library has provided the E-Team with space and technology at the Main Library to carry out their work with families and students most in need of additional support.
For example, in 2018 and 2019, the library provided space and technology for the E-Team’s 4-week innovative summer school at the Main Library. The E-Team’s Frances Kraft noted that it made sense to hold such a program at the library because the library is a neutral community space, and “a welcoming place where families can go not just to get a book, but to get support for their families.”
And from October 2017 through March 2019, the library partnered with the E-Team on the IMLS–Triton College Activating Community Opportunities initiative. In that initiative, the Main Library served similarly as a “command center” for after-school tutoring, college and workforce mentorship for young people, and support for families to navigate community resources and school systems.
“The library’s vision is to empower every voice, and we have seen firsthand how this approach changes systems and transforms individuals,” Kraft said. “When we recognize the existing strengths of our families, students, teachers, and institutions and then build on those strengths, we can all be part of the work to change inequitable systems and build a stronger community for all.”