Domonique Battle has served with City Year Chicago for 8 years; 1 year as a corps member (2002 - 2003), and 7 serving on staff. During her corps year, Domonique served at Marquette Elementary (now Marquette School of Excellence). Throughout these 8 years, she has served as a; corps member, Program (now 'Impact') Manager, Senior Manager, Impact Director, Chief of Staff, Managing Director of Human Potential and Operations, and interim-Executive Director.
Who are you? Where are you from?
“I was born and raised in Chicago. I'm a product of CPS, K-12. I grew up on the Southside right off the lake, and I am a lover of my city. I am someone who likes to help, and add value in whatever way I can. I think that I have been doing that formally, through my work with City Year, and then informally, in different circles in my personal life.”
What are some of the most impactful changes that you’ve seen City Year Chicago undergo during your time here?
“For the work that we do, I think the most impactful changes I’ve seen or been a part of is the all-in effort in regards to serving students in the school.
When I came back [to join City Year Chicago as a staff member], we were in our last year of partnering with the University of Chicago UEI, doing the STEP program. That was the program that I had when I was a corps member, so I did that service as a corps member, and I came in as a staff member and managed that service for a year.
We ended the UEI work after my first year on staff, and moved into more of a holistic approach; being more embedded in the schools and helping students with the work they were doing at the time, versus the super-focus on literacy – which is important – but it was a shift to be better partners to the District.
The second biggest change was when we shifted our calendar to have our corps come in earlier in the year, so that they could be with teachers during their Professional Development week at the start of the year.
When I served, we used to start in schools in October, so we’ve now made a shift to start our corps in the school before the students came, so that they at least had a couple of days to be adults in the building with adults [school staff and administration], and forge those relationships before you throw students into the mix.
In addition to that calendar change and having the corps present during the Professional Development Week, we also extended how long we were in the schools. So, without snow days interrupting the flow, we would be there to get students through finals.
What advice would you give if you could sit down with yourself before your corps year?
“That’s a difficult question because I wouldn’t change a thing with my corps year – I’m still in touch with so many people from my year, so I did effectively take advantage of that City Year network. I think some words of wisdom I would share with myself about being on staff might be; “change takes time, be patient.”
I’m really excited to have been a part of the change that I wanted to see on staff.”
What does it mean to you to continue serving Chicago?
“I am very proud and honored and glad that I have been able to do this work, and do it here. Being a product of this system, I know how important the relationships are that corps members get to have with students. No matter how challenging, City Year just brings something different into a student’s life, and the way in which we look to collaborate and support teachers and administrators – they need that support. And to know that I’m a part of this is huge.”
If you had a super power or ability, what would it be?
“I think that whole thought process of ‘I wish I could be a fly on the wall’ is interesting, so I think I’d like to be invisible.”