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CPS Announces Additional School-Based Personnel to Support Special Education

12 January 2018

56 School-Based Positions and Nine Citywide Positions Will Help Bolster Academic and Social-Emotional Support for Diverse Learners in High-Needs Schools

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

Friday, January 12, 2018

CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools today announced that 65 new positions are being created to provide schools with additional special education-aligned supports to supplement existing resources in city schools. The 56 school-based employees and nine citywide employees announced today will help high needs schools better serve diverse learners by bolstering paraprofessional, bilingual, and social and emotional resources.

"Our goal is to lead the nation in providing the best education to students with special needs, in all communities, and we will continue to work with principals, teachers, special education advocates and families to refine our approach,” said Acting CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “Providing supplemental resources to high needs schools to support diverse learners will help our most vulnerable students as we continue to improve the way we provide special education.”

To support high needs students and school communities, the district identified schools with large populations of students who are both English language learners and diverse learners, and schools in need of additional social and emotional learning resources. The following positions will be created to support schools throughout the city:

30 English Learner Specialists at 30 Schools: English Language Specialists are teachers who will support dually identified special education and English learner students by providing early academic interventions and academic support to supplement classroom learning.

16 Bilingual Paraprofessionals at 11 Schools: CPS has identified 11 schools with high rates of dually identified English learner and diverse learners populations that could benefit from additional classroom support from bilingual paraprofessionals.

10 Social-Emotional Specialist Positions at 10 Schools: To support schools with higher-than-average suspension rates and behavioral incidences, CPS will provide funding equivalent to an additional full-time position to support a comprehensive model of social and emotional support at each school. Services will be provided through a combination of CPS school social workers, counselors and school psychologists.

9 Behavior Support Specialists (Citywide): These paraprofessionals will assist in supporting school-based staff at schools that request additional guidance for serving their special education students. This team will assist schools throughout the city on an as-needed basis by helping to train paraprofessionals that support students in need of behavioral support and assisting teachers and classroom staff.

CPS selected these positions based on feedback from principals about the resources they need to better support high need students in special education programs. The principals of the schools that are receiving new positions were notified today, and staff will begin as early as the beginning of the second semester, which starts on Feb. 5.

CPS is budgeting $2.6 million to fund these positions for the remainder of the school year. The district intends to provide these resources next year at an annual cost of $5.2 million.

Chicago Public Schools serves 371,000 students in 646 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.

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