Dimon gift supports School of Social Service Administration's work in urban education
The University of Chicago News Office
May 31, 2005 Press Contact: William Harms
(773) 702-8356

Dimon gift supports School of Social Service Administration's work in urban education

The School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago has announced a $1 million gift from Judith and James Dimon, civic leaders and long-time advocates of urban school reform, to support the training of graduate students who plan to work in community schools and those social workers who already are working in community school settings.

“We are thrilled to support the crucial work that the School of Social Service Administration and its graduates do to improve the public school system,” said Ms. Dimon, a member of the school’s Visiting Committee. “Chicago is the kind of city where urban school reform can succeed because we have support from the Chicago Public Schools, the city's civic and educational leaders such as the University of Chicago.”

Community schools within the Chicago Public Schools system engage professionals who bring together students, teachers, parents, and other community resources for the express purpose of overcoming the barriers to learning many urban children face. For example, community schools often offer programs and services during and after school to improve learning and strengthen families.

SSA’s Community Schools Program was launched eighteen months ago with a grant from Bank One/Chase. The BankOne /Chase Program for Leadership in Community Schools is designed to meet the growing need for professionals who can work effectively at the highest level of school administration to identify and secure helping resources for public school students. These resources include such things as: school-nonprofit partnerships, promotion of school-wide change through organizational methods and; data-driven decision making regarding how educational achievement is affected by behavioral, social and environmental f actors that children, families and communities encounter.

The announcement was made at a meeting of the SSA Visiting Committee meeting at which graduates of the School participated in a forum entitled, "Working at the Intersection of Social Work and Education." SSA Associate Professor Melissa Roderick, the first cohort of Community School Fellows, and SSA graduates talked about their experiences.

Pointing to what is possible in community schools, Paul Fagen, who received an M.A from SSA in 1998, and the class advisor at North Lawndale College Prep Charter High School who has served as counselor for four consecutive years with the high school’s first graduating class, noted a graduation rate to 91%, compared with 47% for all CPS schools, and 87% of his North Lawndale graduating class will be going on to either 2- or 4-year colleges.

University President Don Randel applauded the work of the SSA graduates. "The connections our students make with children, who often have limited support systems, can be the difference between their staying on the right path or getting lost.”

Judith Dimon is a recognized leader in New York City and Chicago for her dedication to promote the community schools movement. James Dimon is a trustee of the University of Chicago. A portion of the Dimon’s gift will also support the President’s Fund at the University.

SSA’s Community Schools program is an important part of the University of Chicago’s multi-pronged effort to improve public education. The Dimon’s gift to SSA also contributes to the Chicago Initiative, the University of Chicago’s $2 billion capital campaign, of which over $1.25 billion has been raised to date. The Chicago Initiative is the largest fundraising effort by far in the University's history and among one of the largest ever undertaken by a U.S. university. Once complete, the campaign will significantly enhance the University's ability to provide need-blind undergraduate admissions and graduate student aid; increase funding for faculty positions; expand cornerstone programs in the College, and extend support for research in the sciences and community programs.


Last modified at 12:34 PM CST on Friday, June 03, 2005.

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