September 11, 2012
On the second day of the Children First plan, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) continued to see immense support from community and faith leaders, neighbors, non-profit organizations and City departments and sister agencies to ensure Chicago’s students have access to safe and engaging alternative options for those in need during the school day.
And today, to support Chicago parents and children, CPS announced that it will extend the hours of Children First school sites to be six full hours, starting on Thursday, should the Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) choose to continue to strike. Currently, the 147 Children First sites are open for half-days (8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.); as of Thursday, CPS will extend the hours to be open from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., making it a more supportive option for CPS parents.
“While we are committed to working with the CTU to find a solution that is fair for our teachers and puts our kids back in class where they belong, we will also continue to respond to the needs of students and parents,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “Putting our students first is our priority and we want to thank Chicagoans for helping ensure they are getting the help they need and deserve.”
Children First school sites have capacity for 150,000 students, or nearly 40 percent of the students impacted by the CTU’s choice to strike.
In total, approximately 25,800 students took part in safe and engaging programming offered through or in partnership with the Children First Plan today. This is an increase of 7,800 yesterday’s turnout.
- Over 13,500 students signed up for Children First school sites;
- Almost 5,000 students at non-profit organizations like Boys & Girls Club of Chicago, YMCA and Salvation Army sites across the city;
- More than 1,500 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;
- Over 3,100 at Chicago Park District sites; and
- More than 2,700 students at Chicago Public Libraries.
CPS has also partnered with sister agencies and partner organizations, resulting in more than 200 additional locations as options for students.
Importantly, parents should know that full-day opportunities for their children are being provided by the following organizations:
- CPS Children First sites (150,000)
- Chicago Park District camp programs (10,000 additional students)
- Safe Haven sites (at least 2,400 additional students)
- Other non-profit partners (at least 5,000 additional students)
Hundreds of programs and thousands of opportunities can be found at www.cps.edu/childrenfirst. CPS students are also being provided free rides by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).
At Children First school sites, children are participating in multiple activities to keep them safe and engaged, such as reading, drawing, recreation, journaling and online learning in computer facilities at schools.
For high school students, CPS will provide opportunities to read, plan for career and college programs, and there is special online coursework available for seniors so they can keep up with learning and preparing for college and the future. Specific online coursework is available for CPS seniors, so that they do not fall off-track for college, in credit recovery, Advanced Placement (AP) or non-credit bearing General Elective classes. Seniors should register for online courses at www.cps.edu/cpsseniorsonline.
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. People who are interested in volunteering at Children First sites can find more information and sign-up at www.chicagocares.org/studentsupport.
Today, 100 City Year Corps Members on 14 teams were redeployed from CPS sites where they are going to begin their year of service at 11 parks and three libraries to lend volunteer support for students.
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.