Chicago Teachers Union leadership has chosen to end the strike. All Chicago Public Schools will re-open on Wednesday, September 19, and all CPS students are expected to be back in the classroom. Continue to check back at cps.edu for more information.
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is preparing to implement its "Children First" plan to help parents and families most in need if the leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) choose to strike, coordinating safe and engaging environments for students whose families cannot access alternative options.
We are strongly encouraging all parents to first explore other options for their children. We know that a strike will put a strain on many families, and no one will be hurt more by a strike than our students.
For families that are not able to access alternative options for their children, the "Children First" plan is a safety net to provide a safe environment, food, and engaging activities:
- 147 "Children First" site locations will be open to students with limited hours in the event the leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) chooses to strike
- Parents can sign-up their child at a Children First site using their student identification (ID) number through the sign-up tool at www.cps.edu/childrenfirst.
- Parents without access to the internet can call 311 to sign-up their child.
- Parents are encouraged to sign up ahead of time to ensure staff at the site is best prepared.
Please Note: A student identification (ID) number is required to sign up. The student ID number can be located on all CPS progress reports and report cards or by visiting the Manage Students page in the CPS Parent Portal. Parents of high school students can also find their student's ID number on their child's identification card. If parents are unable to find their child's ID number they can also obtain it from their principal.
To support these primary sites, CPS is working in close partnership with City Sister Agencies — including the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Chicago Fire and Police Departments and the Office of Emergency Management — as well as faith-based organizations, non-profits and other stakeholders to ensure students receive the support they need in the event that the leadership of the CTU chooses to strike and until the leadership of the CTU chooses to provide instruction in the classroom.
We ask that parents and the public remain patient and come together to support these efforts to keep our students engaged in safe and productive activities in the event that CTU leadership chooses to strike. And we are encouraging all parents to first explore alternative options for their children in the event the leadership of the CTU decides to strike.
Children First sites can provide parents and students who are most in need of services and do not have other available options for daily meals and childcare with a safe and engaging places to spend the day.
- Each site will provide students in need with daily breakfast and lunch, a safe environment and positive activities to keep them engaged.
- Sites will be open to children from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each weekday.
Daily breakfast and lunch will be provided to all children at Children First sites free of cost.
Instruction cannot be provided to students. Students at Children First sites will participate in positive activities to keep them engaged, including independent reading and writing, arts, journaling, sports activities and computer-based programming, among others.
Children First sites will be staffed by principals, assistant principals, Central Office staff and non-CTU employees, as well as staff from vendors who submitted a request for proposals (RFP) to help staff schools and provide programming. The staff-to-student ratio will be approximately 1 to 25. The RFP selection process is being finalized.
A comprehensive safety plan will be put into place at each Children First site by the CPS Office of Safety and Security (OSS.) Based on the safety needs of each site, OSS will allocate the appropriate level of security staff to ensure a safe and calm environment for children who need this care. OSS is also working with City Sister Agencies, including the Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago Police and Fire Departments, to ensure the safety of students and families as they travel to and from Children First sites.
CPS has issued a letter to the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) seeking a waiver that would allow student athletes to continue participating in their sport in the event of a CTU strike. Under current IHSA rules, varsity practices and games would be cancelled during a strike – that would impact 11,000 students currently playing varsity sports this fall, and could compromise their pursuit of college scholarship opportunities.
CPS has also partnered with the non-profit organization Chicago Cares to coordinate volunteers to help provide support at parks and library sites to address any additional activity at those sites. Chicagoans who are interested in volunteering time can sign up and find more information at http://www.chicagocares.org/studentsupport.
- Non-CPS Children First Sites, which also will be providing critical services for our children
In an effort to support students and families of CPS, 59 faith based organizations will provide Safe Haven sites in the event CTU leadership chooses to strike. Registration is free and available on a first come first serve basis. Space is limited. For additional information please call 773.553.2500.