Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago Public Schools officials today unveiled a new online summer school initiative that will increase the focus on the needs of individual students.
“We all know that providing more students with individual attention is the key to their long term success,” Daley said in a news conference held at Chicago Military Academy, 3519 S. Giles Av.
“To do this we will be embracing technology and online learning more than ever before and that's transformative -- something we've never done to this extent before,” he said.
Summer school has been mandatory for students who need it since 1996. This summer, all CPS programs are expected to serve more than 95,000 students in traditional summer school classes and other summer programs.
Daley said the summer online program will transform summer school this year to benefit students at every level and from every background.
“Unless our students are prepared to be part of the modern technology world and use it to their advantage, they are less likely to succeed,” he said. “That's why I won't be satisfied -- and neither should any parent -- until every child graduates ready to compete in the world economy in the 21st century.”
The online program is split into four different tracks to provide the most individualized instruction possible.
- 7th and 8th graders who need remedial work will be enrolled in pre-algebra and composition courses that will prepare them for core high school requirements. These fully online courses will be available to students from any location. All courses will be taught online by certified instructors.
- High school students who have fallen off-track will be able to take credit recovery courses. By re-taking courses they have failed during the school year, students will have the opportunity to get back on track to graduate. These courses will be available at CPS schools offering summer school programs. All courses will be taught online by certified instructors.
- Students will have the opportunity to accelerate their learning by taking core courses online during the summer. This will ensure students meet graduation requirements and have the time in their schedule to take advanced course offerings during the school year.
- Finally, high school juniors will be able to enroll in independent study courses. These fully online courses will allow students to pursue unique learning options. Many of the courses have been built in partnership with leading Chicago cultural institutions, such as the Shedd Aquarium, the Chicago Art Institute and Broadway in Chicago.
In addition to the new online program, CPS will continue to offer many other summer initiatives – all of which have been re-designed to focus more on targeted, individualized instruction. These include:
- Freshman Connection, which helps elementary school students make the sometimes difficult transition to high school, and will serve an estimated 11,600 students at 100 locations.
- Summer Bridge, for elementary students who do not meet the minimum promotion criteria per board policy. It will serve an estimated 26,500 students in 500 schools.
- Extended School year for 4,800 special education students in 125 schools.
- 9-12 Summer School will serve an estimated 20,000 students at 82 schools.
Daley also said that the City’s “Youth Ready Chicago” program will provide 2,400 high school students with summer jobs and the “Keep Kids Learning” program will provide 2,500 3rd through 12th graders with full-day academic, social and recreation enrichment.
“Looking ahead, we will continue to reach out to students at every level to keep them learning, to keep them safe, and to get them ready to succeed in the classroom and graduate from high school,” the Mayor said.
“We need our children to learn in a technology based environment and that's what we're trying to accomplish during the regular school year and during summer school,” he said.