Violence Prevention Working Group IV: Discussion with Principal Konopasek

Violence Prevention Working Group – Session IV
Discussion with Principal Konopasek
Date: September 30, 2014
Location: Stevenson Elementary School

What do schools expect from community partners in regards to:

      • providing pre-teaching opportunities
      • engaging teachers in the lesson
      • providing extension opportunities


Essential Highlights:

      • Use simple and concise communication
      • Provide clear expectations about what you are teaching and what you want students to know
      • Treat teachers and students with respect and utilize their expertise
      • Be creative – utilize media
      • Be relevant in your pre-teaching, the lesson, and extension opportunities
      • Remember: “Happy teachers equal happy students”



During the 2013-2014 school year, CIS of Chicago violence prevention community partners gathered three different times to discuss the Elements of Effective Violence Prevention Programs. By spring, community partners had the information on paper and another year of experience in their pockets, but what they wanted was to hear directly from the schools themselves. As a result, the principal of Stevenson Elementary enthusiastically agreed to sit down with the working group and answer their questions.

Photo of Ms. K and group







Fast forward to September 30, eleven staff from a variety of violence prevention agencies gathered in the Parent Program room at Stevenson Elementary school. Stevenson is in the Ashburn community on the far southwest side of the city. The group had the privilege of sitting down with Principal Katherine Konopasek – Ms. K – and hearing her thoughts about schools’ expectations on how community partners 1) provide pre-teaching opportunities for students, 2) engage teachers in the lesson, and 3) provide extension opportunities. In the end, the group left with concrete ideas of how to better collaborate with teachers and ensure students truly grasp the concept of what they are teaching.


Highlights from the morning:

 PRE-TEACHING opportunities:

      • Consider: Why are you coming? What is the plan? What is the purpose? What should students know before you walk into the classroom?
      • Give teacher your vocabulary ahead of time.
      • Let the teacher know if there are any reading materials you would like students to reach in preparation of your program or any information you would like displayed ahead of time.



      • Let them know if your program is helping them meet social-emotional learning standards
      • Rely on their expertise.
      • Ask them: What do they think about [student’s] response? Can [teacher] help with [a specific task]?
      • Remember: Ask teachers. No Surprises!



      • Have students take “selfies” in response to your program and post them up in the classroom
      • Utilize YouTube
      • Ask if the students can get 10 points (not graded) for completing a “homework” assignment, but make it relevant. Ask students their opinion.


Materials from Event:


Participating Organizations:

Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE)
Cook County Sheriff Youth Services Department
Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH)
Imagination Theater
The Insight Project for Kids
Neopolitan Lighthouse
Rape Victim Advocates (RVA)
Safe Humane Chicago
Thousand Waves


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