Update on Uniform Policy

Thu, 11/29/2012

August 15, 2012 

Dear Students and Parents

Over the last several weeks, I have spent countless amounts of time listening to teachers, students, and parents voice their concerns and raise questions over a variety of different issues. One of those issues has been the school uniform policy. From the research that I’ve conducted, Brooks College Prep is the only selective enrollment high school in the City of Chicago that has a uniform dress code requirement. 

An equal portion of teachers, students, and parents have all expressed their discontent with the inconsistently enforced policy. Some students have expressed their desire to show their individuality with what they wear; teachers have expressed their desire to focus more of their attention on educating students, less of their attention on policing the adherence to the uniform policy, and have expressed an interest in teaching – and modeling for – students what appropriate dress should look like. There is also a large population of parents who support the ability for students to choose what they want to wear, even though the uniform requirement is less of a financial burden

Personally, I am very interested in creating a culture that supports our rhetoric and desire to develop creative and innovative students who can think critically and solve problems. I am, however, very sensitive to the economic, social, and community variables that have played into the decision to require a uniform dress code policy. It has been my experience, though, that shifts in culture do not come as a result of operating under the infinite “what ifs” or, more importantly, out of fear; rather, to change the culture of a school like Brooks, to achieve the goals that this school community is certainly primed for, we must embrace every challenge and work together to solve potential problems and address potential concerns. 

As of the Local School Council meeting on Tuesday, August 14, 2012, the LSC voted 9-3 to support an amendment to the school uniform policy. Starting September 4, 2012, the following dress code policy will be in place

  • Students may choose to wear their uniforms to school;
  • Students may choose to wear Brooks’ paraphernalia to school; 
  • Students may choose to not wear their uniforms to school;
  • Students must adhere to the new appropriate dress guidelines that will be communicated during orientation;
  • Students will be sensitive to their peers and will not ostracize, make fun of, bully, or cyber-bully their peers. Violations of these agreements will result in swift disciplinary action according to the Code of Conduct.

In closing, our goal has always been to strike a balance between the wants of “both sides”. Giving students some autonomy in areas like what they wear, gives us the leverage we need to fairly raise the expectations for things we consider paramount to their enduring success. The amendment to the school uniform policy is just one area that we are targeting that we believe will bring about a dramatic shift in culture, but like all policies, we will monitor the implementation of this amendment and review its effectiveness at the end of the year. Thank you so much for your time, your input, and your willingness to support the new trajectory of Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy

Sincerely, 

D’Andre Weaver