One on One: Providence Englewood Parent Shares Greatest Challenge of School Option

The public conversation around schools and education in Chicago is unfairly one-sided. The reality is that education reform in Chicago has had a positive impact on a large number of students, families and communities in Chicago. We’re on a mission to share real stories, from real people who have been positively impacted by education reform.

Latoya Jones is the mom of 14-year-old Tahji Willis, who attends Providence Englewood Charter School, on the south side of Chicago. This is their story. 

Chicago Unheard: Tell us about your son.

Latoya Jones: My son’s name is Tahji Willis. He’s 14-years-old and is in 8th grade at Providence Englewood Charter School.

CU: Tell us about your family.

LJ: Well, my family consists of myself, my son, and my mother who’s living with us now.

CU: What has been the greatest challenge on your school options journey so far?

LJ: The greatest challenge is making sure he goes to a quality school and he’s safe. I really don’t like the process of the selective enrollment and that the only options would be that, or a private school.

CU: What has been the greatest triumph in your school options journey so far?

LJ: The biggest triumph is putting him in Providence Englewood Charter School, because it mirrors the education I received in the suburbs, and I know he’s going to be prepared for high school.

CU: How did you hear about Providence Englewood?

LJ: I heard about the school while working with New Schools for Chicago. I was taking parents on school tours.

CU: Why have you chosen not to send Tahji to the schools Chicago Public Schools selected for him?

LJ: Tahji went to a neighborhood school for 1st grade, and my experience with the school and the administration was horrible! He was in a combined classroom with a kindergarten class because the teacher quit. There were too many kids in the classroom and there was no concern from the principal, so I decided no more CPS schools.

CU: What advice do you have for parents in Chicago who are searching for the right school for their child?

LJ: Cast your net wide, and make sure your choice is truly what’s best for your child and not what’s convenient! If you have to travel, travel. If you have to choose private, apply for as many scholarships as possible to assist. The main goal for choosing a quality school is to make your child college ready! That’s being able to go right into college level courses and no remedial.

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