September 13, 2012
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced today that they are expanding online courses available for CPS students to help them stay current in their studies and continue to learn if the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) chooses to continue their strike and remain out of the classroom. Students can register online at www.cps.edu/childrenfirst.
On Tuesday night, Mayor Emanuel spoke with CPS parents about the difficulties they are facing due to the strike, and one concern parents raised was the possibility of students falling behind in coursework and the interruption in ISAT preparation. The expanded opportunity for coursework stems directly from that conversation.
Starting Friday, online coursework is available in credit recovery, Advanced Placement (AP) and General Elective classes for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. Should the CTU continue to choose to strike, online coursework in a variety of subjects will be available starting Monday for students in grades 3 through 12. Students can register online here starting Friday at 3:00 p.m.
“This is another way we can keep our students engaged while we work with the CTU to achieve a fair contract that gets our kids back in school,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “From safe places with engaging activities for families who do not have alternative options as the CTU continues to choose to strike, to these online courses, we continue to respond to parent concerns and work to support our students.”
Some examples of courses that are available include: AP Calculus, AP Computer Science, algebra, geometry, biology, American history, Spanish, college & career preparation, media literacy and creative writing.
Students who enroll in online coursework for CPS course credit (credit recovery and AP classes) can work on these classes from any computer outside of a CPS school, as dictated by State law. Students who enroll in online coursework that is not for CPS course credit (the General Elective classes) can work on these classes from a computer anywhere.
There are many locations available to students through the CPS Children First plan where students can use computers to take for-credit classes, including 78 libraries and hundreds of community centers located in neighborhoods across the city. A full list of Children First plan sites is available here.
Additionally, Chicago parents who are seeking full-day opportunities for their children can access them at more than 450 locations across the city, through partnerships CPS has formed with City departments, City sister agencies and nonprofit organizations:
- 147 CPS Children First school sites;
- 84 Chicago Park District camp programs;
- 78 Chicago Public Library locations;
- 59 Safe Haven sites;
- More than 100 nonprofit partners.
Programs and additional opportunities offered by partners to support families and children can be found at www.cps.edu/childrenfirst. In total, approximately 30,800 CPS students took part in safe and engaging programming offered through or in partnership with the Children First plan today:
- 18,000 students signed up at Children First school sites;
- 4,400 students at nonprofit organizations such as Boys & Girls Club of Chicago, YMCA and Salvation Army sites across the city;
- 1,500 children at 59 faith-based Safe Haven sites;
- 4,400 at Chicago Park District sites; and
- 2,500 students at Chicago Public Libraries.
Children First sites have capacity for 150,000 students, or nearly 40 percent of the students impacted by the CTU’s choice to strike, and CPS ensures children are participating in multiple activities to keep them safe and engaged at each site.
CPS continues to provide both breakfast and lunch for students at Children First sites. The Greater Chicago Food Depository has provided thousands of healthy snacks for students as part of this effort. CPS has also partnered with the nonprofit organization Chicago Cares to coordinate volunteers to help provide support at parks and libraries to support any additional activity at those sites. And 100 City Year Corps members on 14 teams have been redeployed from CPS sites where they are going to begin their year of service to 11 parks and three libraries to lend volunteer support for students.
People who are interested in volunteering at Children First sites can find more information and sign-up at www.chicagocares.org/studentsupport.
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.