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The CGCT toolkit offers pre-service teachers, current educators, community organizers and families at home with over 120 documents aimed at making education highly engaging for all learners - while effectively building an educators' toolkit to develop key skills, engage local content, support critical thinking and facilitate student projects for change.

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We partner with schools and classrooms in the Chicago region around three particular projects: 1) the Grassroots Community Tours; 2) the integration of URUR (our first curricular unit) into various courses; and 3) the involvement of students in creating future curricula.

Specific Goals & Work

  • Join the Grassroots Community Tours program (FREE) in partnership with the Goodman Theater and Chicago Public Schools and facilitate your students' journey into creating a powerful community tour.
  • Engage our texts, Urban Renewal or Urban Removal? and the Student Learning and Action Journal. We'll help your students tap into the vast learning and action potentials. See a review of URUR here.
  • Integrate one of CGCT's critical themes into your classroom and students can help in shaping future curricula - with their own pieces reaching publication.

Collaborations Include 

Blaine Elementary School

Uplift Community High School

Beye Elementary School (Oak Park)

Drummond School

Village Leadership Academy



CGCT supports the growth of justice-centered teachers with foundations in critical praxis in preparation for developing comprehensive relevant curricula. By engaging pre-service/resident teachers and faculty with CGCT’s Grassroots Curriculum Toolkit, with our first prototype curriculum, Urban Renewal or Urban Removal?, and with community ethnography work through Grassroots Community Tours, we strengthen the resolve, skills, and intentions of incoming educators as they enter local communities and classrooms .

Specific Goals & Work

  • Provide in-class supports, including trainings, tools, modeling, and resources, for pre-service/resident teachers in local colleges of education using the Grassroots Curriculum Toolkit, 3.0, and other CGCT materials. We currently engage four educational programs (see below) where students generate dynamic curricular projects using our tools and in-class supports.
  • Coordinate two annual exchanges between all university partners where students and faculty can teach and learn from each other, present curricular achievements, and improve their respective programs
  • Help convene the 4th Annual Grassroots Education Forum at NEIU (March, 2015)
  • Facilitate a Critical Urban Teachers Support Group for the alumni of our university partners (monthly sessions


In addition to colleges of education, CGCT works with faculty and students from other disciplines and courses. In particular, we’re working with History, Urban Studies, Cultural Studies, Ethnic Studies, Urban Policy Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, Economics, Political Science, the Arts and other related departments. We’d like to engage more with Mathematics, Technology, Sciences, Health Sciences, and all other fields that can help us advance interdisciplinary understandings and curriculum development.

Collaborations Have Included

Illinois State University's Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline (ISU)

Indiana University Northwest's Urban Teacher Education Program (Gary, In.)

Northeastern Illinois University's College of Education (NEIU)

University of Chicago’s Urban Teachers Education Program (UTEP)




Community engagement is a process of respecting, caring, and nurturing relationships and rebuilding and building a world that is not yet, but is on its way.  We acknowledge that each groups' and individuals' knowledge, skills, and experiences contribute to the collective wisdom that children can greatly benefit from.  We are deeply committed to working with community organizations, groups, and members, including in the following ways:

Specific Goals & Work

  • Help foster/support connections between CGCT, local schools, and local community organizations around specific classroom learning projects. For example, CGCT is excited to support a collaboration between the Anti-Eviction Campaign and Lindblom High School by offering lesson plan and teaching guidance to  integrate Urban Renewal or Urban Removal? (URUR) into a weekly student colloquium.
  • Involve thousands of Chicago residents in the creation of future curricular works (books, teaching guides, music CDs, DVDs, artwork, and more) focused on critical real-world themes. This takes place by involving people in the book committees, blasting out 'calls for submission' across the region, and learning from peoples' stories through smaller focus groups, community discussions and forums.

Collaborations Include

Chicago Artery

Chicago Teachers Union, Quest Center

Goodman Theater

Kartemquin Films 

Kuumba Lynx