September 10, 2012
Today, community members, faith leaders, parents, neighbors, the non-profit sector and City leaders came together to support Chicago’s students to provide safe and engaging alternative options for those in need during the school day. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) would like to thank everyone involved for their support in implementing the Children First plan when the Chicago Teachers Union chose to strike last night.
“The people of Chicago can be proud of the support that has poured in for our students from every corner of the city,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “We will continue to provide safe and engaging programming for students who do not have alternative options, but this is not a substitute for school and our students belong in class. We remain committed to working with the teachers union to find a solution that is fair for our teachers and gets our kids back in class.”
There are 147 Children First sites available to serve as a safety net for families who are not able to access alternatives for childcare; CPS opened three additional Children First sites based on feedback from parents and communities today: Harper High School in Englewood; Caldwell Elementary School in Stony Island Park; and Hirsch High School in Grand Crossing.
CPS continues to encourage all parents to identify alternative options for their children. Parents should be aware that there are many full-day program opportunities still available at the Chicago Park District, Safe Haven sites and other non-profit organization partners.
Programs and additional opportunities offered by partners to support families and children can be found at www.cps.edu/childrenfirst.
In total, approximately 18,000 CPS students took part in safe and engaging programming offered through or in partnership with the Children First Plan today:
- Almost 11,000 students signed up at Children First school sites;
- 2,000 students at Boys & Girls Club of Chicago, YMCA and Salvation Army sites across the city;
- 1,440 children at 59 faith-based organizations across the city continuing Safe Haven programming that had been successful in serving children in their communities over the summer;
- 800 at additional non-profit organization partners;
- 1,900 at Chicago Park District sites; and
- 2,150 students at Chicago Public Libraries.
CPS continues to be prepared to provide both breakfast and lunch for students at Children First sites. The Greater Chicago Food Depository has provided thousands of healthy snacks for students as part of this effort.
In order for CPS seniors to not fall off-track for college, seniors will be eligible to continue their studies via online coursework in credit recovery, Advanced Placement (AP) or non-credit bearing General Elective classes. Seniors should register for online courses atwww.cps.edu/cpsseniorsonline.
Chicago Public Libraries' 78 locations will maintain their operating hours and offer a safe environment for students where they can access books, magazines and online learning opportunities.
Tomorrow, approximately 100 City Year Corps Members on 13 teams will be redeployed from CPS sites where they are going to begin their year of service at 10 parks and three libraries to lend volunteer support for students.
Additionally, CPS has partnered with the non-profit organization Chicago Cares to coordinate volunteers to help provide support at parks and libraries to support any additional activity at those sites. If you are
interested in volunteering, please find more information and sign-up at www.chicagocares.org/studentsupport.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) began offering free rides to CPS students between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. today, intended to accommodate students traveling to and from the 147 Children First site locations, as well as those traveling to other alternative options such as parks and libraries. The free rides hours match the hours CPS students normally receive reduced-fare rides and will continue until CPS classes resume their normal schedule.
CPS will continue communicating with parents via email, letters, calls, text messages and other communication tools to ensure all stakeholders remain updated as negotiations continue. CPS also is encouraging parents to pay close attention to the news media for timely updates.
Chicago Public Schools serves 402,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.