LITTLE BLACK PEARL (LBP), A NON-PROFIT 501(C)(3) ORGANIZATION, IS DEDICATED TO CREATING ACCESS TO ART, CULTURE AND EDUCATIONAL TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES IN THE ARTS FOR YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULTS. LBP’S MISSION IS TO PROVIDE THE HIGHEST CALIBER OF EDUCATION AND ART-PRACTICE ENGAGEMENT THAT STRENGTHENS COMMUNITIES AS IT GUIDES AND INSPIRES YOUTH TO DREAM BIG, WORK HARD, THINK CREATIVELY AND MAKE LIFE-LONG CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WORLD.
LBP’s Founder and Executive Director, Monica Haslip, is a compelling voice on behalf of children and the arts. Ms. Haslip is one of the nation’s youngest Founders of a community-based arts organization and has built a state of the art Design Center, making her one of the most respected leaders in the fields of community arts and cultural development.
Ms. Haslip has passionately advocated for real solutions to the epidemic of youth violence recognized in the City of Chicago and nationally. She was among twelve leaders honored by President Barack Obama, as part of the White House Champions of Change and the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, for their efforts toward addressing youth violence through programmatic engagement.
In 2013 Ms. Haslip expanded Little Black Pearl’s educational initiatives by opening a high school through a Chicago Public Schools contract. Little Black Pearl Art and Design Academy (LBPA) serves a capacity of 200 students (grades 9-12) with rigorous academic programming and emphasis in visual arts and technology, music, dance, graphic design and architecture. This vehicle has created an opportunity for Little Black Pearl to operate a district school, allowing a community based organization an impactful role in creating a more effective educational experience for African American youth.
By working diligently to augment academic and community challenges, Little Black Pearl offers evidential results as an innovative and educational institution. Our student population shares many of the academic and social challenges common within CPS. To overcome any culturally endemic academic failure, LBPA offers an academic plan for incoming freshmen that are off track, at-risk of dropping out, and in need of remediation. This makes LBPA the only school in CPS’s portfolio with academic supports designed to guide students on-track by the end of their ninth grade.
Two decades of work and experience with at-risk youth has informed LBPA in understanding the complexity and importance of a wrap-around approach to education. LBP Art & Design Academy serves low-income families and at-risk teens primarily from Chicago’s Southside. A percentage of LBP’s student population need remediation resources and, in some cases, is involved with the Juvenile Justice System. Our students benefit from a full range of restorative justice practices and support systems, coupled with Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) and, as a last resort, traditional discipline. For that reason, LBPA is making strides and achieving success with this population. Improvements in school and class attendance, classroom behavior, leadership development and academic performance are the results of addressing critical social gaps and promoting a critical thinking environment. For example, at the end of fall semester 2017, 20% of our court-involved students had earned an average grade of B or above.