Top of Page

Chicago Public Schools Announces $7.5 Million Investment in High-Quality Academic Programming at 7 Schools Across the City

07 May 2021

Nearly 4,000 students in the city’s highest-need neighborhoods will have access to new academic programming including International Baccalaureate (IB) and Dual Language

CPS Office of Communications

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

CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced a $7.5 million multi-year investment to expand high-quality academic programs for nearly 4,000 CPS students at seven elementary schools across the city. The investment will support staffing, training and learning resources for programs including International Baccalaureate (IB), STEAM, Fine and Performing Arts, and Dual Language over the next six years.

The new program investments are the result of the district’s annual academic program application process — an objective process designed to streamline the application and award process. Prior to developing the program award process, new programs were awarded on a rolling basis, without streamlined criteria and timelines. In order to support schools through the application process, the district held two virtual, city-wide community outreach events; targeted outreach to underrepresented regions; and provided several school workshops to help school communities determine the programs that would best meet their unique needs, complete their applications, and develop strong implementation plans.

“Early in my tenure as CEO, I decided it was important to change how we awarded programs to be more transparent, equitable and consistent. For the third consecutive year, our annual application process has achieved those goals,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “The challenges presented in the past year have made it even more important to continue investing in our neighborhood schools. We are excited for this diverse group of schools to receive additional programmatic resources, which will expand high-quality learning opportunities for thousands of students.”    

New high-quality programming will benefit a student population that is approximately 89 percent low-income and 93 percent Black and Latinx (29 percent Black and 64 percent Latinx). By prioritizing resources that address community needs, all seven schools fill programmatic gaps in their regions as outlined in the district’s Annual Regional Analysis (ARA), greatly increasing the availability of high-quality academic programming in priority areas of the city. Several of the schools selected this year — including Kilmer (IB program), Nash (Fine & Performing Arts), and West Park (STEAM) — initially submitted proposals in prior years and strengthened their applications this year.

This investment will build on existing programs and expand programming so that more CPS students than ever will have access to high-quality academic programming next school year:

  • IB: More than 20,000 students at 64 schools will have access to International Baccalaureate programs. A new program at Kilmer Elementary will be created to serve more than 400 additional students.

  • STEM/STEAM: More than 21,000 students at 46 schools will engage in modern STEM and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) programming. New programs will be established at three elementary and middle schools, each creating attendance area pipelines into high schools with Early College STEM and STEAM programming:

    • West Park Academy (STEAM) to North-Grand HS (Early College STEAM)

    • Ruggles ES (STEAM) to Englewood STEM HS (Early College STEM)

    • Hernandez MS (STEM) to Solorio HS (Early College STEM)

  • Fine & Performing Arts: More than 41,000 students at 72 schools will benefit from comprehensive arts instruction. New programs at Bright and Nash elementary schools will be created to serve nearly 500 students.

  • Dual Language: Students at 43 schools will develop literacy and fluency in two languages through Dual Language programs. A new program will be created at Nathan Davis elementary school.

Addressing Programmatic Gaps In Highest Need Communities

Following targeted outreach to networks with programmatic gaps, virtual information sessions and workshops, 21 schools expressed interest and submitted preliminary information for evaluation as part of Phase 1, which only evaluates schools based on need. Upon evaluation, ten met the criteria, and nine submitted completed applications, with seven schools receiving programmatic awards. 

After evaluating each application by using the ARA to identify programmatic need, reviewing letters of support from community stakeholders, interviewing school staff, and receiving letters of support from Local School Councils (LSCs), the district selected the following seven schools to receive a new academic program:

  • Bright Elementary - Fine & Performing Arts

  • Nathan Davis Elementary - Dual Language

  • Hernandez Middle School - STEM

  • Kilmer Elementary - IB-PYP

  • Nash Elementary - Fine & Performing Arts

  • Ruggles Elementary - STEAM

  • West Park Elementary - STEAM

“Despite the challenges around the pandemic, I am proud to expand our programmatic offerings to some of our highest needs neighborhoods,” said CPS Chief Education Officer, LaTanya D. McDade. “As a district, we are committed to investing in schools in every neighborhood to ensure that students in all parts of our great city have the support they need to become the great thinkers and leaders of tomorrow.” 

Schools that were not selected this year were provided clear feedback that identified specific areas of improvement to support them in working toward successful program implementation in the future. Further, with disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer schools submitted applications compared to prior years. Whether schools are applying for the first time or strengthening a previous application, CPS is committed to helping them throughout the next application cycle, which is scheduled to begin later this year.

Chicago Public Schools serves 341,000 students in 638 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.