The Alternative Schools Network envisions a global community where every individual has access to equal educational and employment opportunities.
Working in partnership with community-based organizations & schools, the Alternative Schools Network will re-engage a diverse community of learners to actualize their true academic potential & personal goals by promoting educational innovation, workforce opportunities & civic participation for future leadership and service.
Every May for the past 16 years, between 800 and 900 students from the majority of ASN’s member high schools cross gang lines, territories and neighborhoods to converge at the Chicago Sheraton downtown for a celebratory Prom Night. While bringing together youth from so many rival areas can frequently create opposition, no violence or gang issues have occurred.
Illinois ranks 24th in the nation in teen unemployment. High Unemployment Rates Potentially Escalates Teen Violence in Chicago Streets. The report, The Summer Jobs Outlook for Teens in the U.S., conducted by the Center for Labor Markets and Policy at Drexel University projects that nationwide the teen summer employment rate will be 29.8 percent this summer. NATIONWIDE TEEN EMPLOYMENT DROPS BY 20 POINTS SINCE 1999-2000 PICTURE EVEN BLEAKER FOR BLACK AND HISPANIC YOUTHS
In Chicago, nearly 40,000 youth between the ages of 15 and 20 and approximately 97,000 youth ages 16 to 24 are high school dropouts. These teens and young adults often find their personal circumstances too insurmountable to overcome on their own in order to stay in school.
Yet without a high school diploma, the implications for these youth, and the community as a whole, are severe:
The Alternative Schools Network (ASN) believes that every youth is entitled to not only education, but the support services they need to help them succeed in obtaining their high school diploma and transitioning to the workforce.
In 1973, a group of alternative high school representatives established Alternative Schools Network as a vehicle for resource development, joint programming, and advocacy on behalf of inner-city youth who had dropped out of high school and low-skilled adults.
Today, ASN is a membership-based organization composed of 43 not-for-profit, independent, and self-governing alternative schools, as well as youth and adult education organizations. Through our partnership with these community-based and community-run programs and organizations, we create effective and innovative programs to re-engage more than 3,500 Chicago underserved and marginalized groups each year in successful education, employment and support services.
ASN serves as a conduit for the work of its member schools and community-based programs, connecting the mission, goals, strategies and outcomes to create a unified community of active participants in programming. Through this role, ASN is able to link the voices of its partner communities to marshal resources and expertise that will improve the outcomes for its target populations.
The ASN’s staff’s work centers around three strategic areas of focus:
Our goal is to ensure that youth and young adults receive engaging and positive academic and wraparound programs and experiences, both during and after school, in order to: