Centering Youth

CPS's 1st Youth Equity Leadership Summit
Youth are at the center of the work that we do in CPS, and to ensure that the youth perspective was at the forefront of our launch as the new Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (OEIB), the first event we sponsored was the Youth Equity Leadership Summit to explore: What does equity sound like, look like, and feel like?, specifically from the perspectives of our youth.

Overview of Work

In June, OEIB invited scholars from different affinity and cultural-based groups at CRLS to participate in small group listening sessions to share with us what a summit centering equity around their needs would look like. After the completion of the focus groups, we invited the youth leaders to design and facilitate the summit. Starting in July, we met with over 20 youth on a weekly basis and provided facilitator training to support them in the planning of the summit.

During CPS’s 1st Youth Equity Leadership Summit, over 120 participants gathered via Zoom. The summit featured a welcome from the Superintendent, CRLS alumni guest speakers and panelists, a student musical performance, and 4 workshops designed by and led by youth centered around the theme of “What does equity sound like, look like, and feel like in CPS?”

The event was entirely student-led and facilitated. Students facilitated both the main room, the small workshops, and the panel discussions. Facilitators were professional, poised, thoughtful, and respectful, which provided a space for participants to be engaged, vulnerable, and truthful. Participants talked about both personal and institutional experiences, and the impact that these experiences have had on their academic learning and social-emotional wellbeing. Most importantly, they shared suggestions as how to improve equity in CPS.

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