FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sunday, September 4, 2016
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced the addition of two new Safe Passage routes to continue the District’s efforts to ensure that students travel safely to and from school. The additional routes at Dyett School of the Arts and Al Raby High School will increase the participating Safe Passage schools from 140 to 142, deploying more than 1,300 Safe Passage personnel, from 22 community-based organizations, to support more than 75,000 students on a daily basis this school year.
With the support of Mayor Emanuel, CPS continues to invest in the Safe Passage program because of its track record of providing students with the confidence that they can travel to and from school safely.
“As our children and families around the city prepare to return to school, we want parents to remind parents of the District’s comprehensive safety plan for day one and every day throughout the school year,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We have expanded the successful Safe Passage program again this year, and are committed to ensuring the support they need so they can focus on their studies.”
At the direction of Mayor Emanuel, city agencies, including Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department, Office of Emergency Management & Communication, the Chicago Department of Transportation, Department of Streets and Sanitation, Department of Water Management, and the Department of Fleet and Facility Management will lend additional support to the Safe Passage program on the first day of school.
“It’s our goal to ensure that every child in the city of Chicago can get to the classroom safely on day one of the school year,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “With added routes this year and continued support by our Safe Passage partners, safety won’t be a barrier to student learning.”
The Safe Passage program began in 2009 with 35 participating schools, including Dyett High School. With the reopening of the new Dyett School of the Arts, the District will relaunch the program to ensure a successful reopening for students traveling from new communities to the school this year. Al Raby was identified as candidate for the Safe Program based on feedback from the school community. Both Dyett and Al Raby have been added to the program through increased efficiencies identified through improvements and changes in need across the existing school routes.
CPS’ Office of Safety and Security works with the school community to incorporate feedback on an ongoing basis to ensure that routes are the most effective for students. This information allows the District to strategically position workers in “hot spots” to deter any potential criminal activity from taking place in that area. The program has been demonstrated to improve attendance at schools served and to improve safety of surrounding communities served with a noted decline of crime in the area by 25 percent.
The success of the program is credited to the Safe Passage workers’ ability to understand community dynamics and to leverage relationships they have within the school community. The District’s Safety and Security team also trains workers on how to manage different scenarios using an array of de-escalation and conflict resolution strategies. The workers are also versed on safety protocols to ensure that potential situations are handled strategically and cautiously.
Additional information on the Safe Passage program, including route maps for all 142 schools, is available at www.cps.edu/safepassage.
Chicago Public Schools serves 396,000 students in 660 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.