Chicago Public Schools today marked the traditional first day of classes by opening the first 30 of a projected 80 “College and Career Academies” that represent a comprehensive re-structuring of the CPS Career and Technical Education programs.
“This opening represents a new era in career education at CPS and a big step forward in our plan to coordinate the resources of the city's job training programs, the public schools and the City Colleges to have the greatest impact on training and retraining our workers for the jobs of the future,” Daley said after the traditional first-day bell-ringing ceremony, held this year Wells Community Academy High School, 936 N. Ashland Av., one of 12 CPS high schools that will house academies this year.
“In today's economy, it is essential that we graduate students with the skills they need to go directly into a good job and a long term career,” the Mayor said.
The “College and Career Academies” initiative was announced in January and reorganizes 250 non-standardized career programs into 80 academies in 35 high schools over seven years.
For the first time, through the academies, career education will be open to students citywide through an application process.
The academies this year will offer programs in construction, architecture, culinary arts, hospitality, pre-engineering, auto technology and auto body repair, business and finance, medical and health careers, cosmetology, information technology, child care and childhood education, law and public safety, logistics, and broadcast technology.
“For years, we've offered career and technical education in the school system, but we needed to strengthen and improve it. This is an exciting day for all Chicago, because we’re doing just that,” Daley said.
This year, some 1,500 students will be enrolled in ninth grade at the 30 new college and career academies. Altogether, some 23,000 students will attend CPS career and technical education programs throughout Chicago.
At Wells -- where the career education programs include law and public safety, logistics and teaching -- some 250 students are expected to enroll in the academies this year, up from 183 students who took courses under the old career and technical education programs last year, CPS officials said.
The Mayor said that the new academies will focus resources and teaching staff. There will be more courses, more teachers and a rigorous curriculum based on industry standards and demands – all aimed at preparing students to fill the jobs of the future and to keep Chicago competitive in the global economy.
Daley said the Career Academies build on other steps the City has recently announced to keep the progress going at CPS.
For example, two weeks ago Daley and school officials announced a pilot program starting in November that adds 90 minutes of online reading and math learning time to the school day at five elementary schools. Another ten schools will be added when the second semester begins
The program – called “Additional Learning Opportunities” -- will add 255 hours of learning time a year for 5,500 students.
Daley also said that to take the schools to the next level and graduate students who are prepared for the jobs of the future, students, teachers and principals must be given all the tools they need to achieve the highest possible levels.
“There’s no better tool than an up-to-date school building that provides a safe and modern environment for learning. This school year, we are opening five new school buildings as part of the Modern Schools Across Chicago program,” he said.
Eleven new schools have been opened in the last two years under this program, which is funded entirely with city money.Since 1996, the City has invested more than $5.5 billion in school capital improvements across the city.
“When you open a new school, you give students and staff a fresh start, greater hope and of course, an improved learning environment. You provide a new anchor for the community,” the Mayor said.
“Years ago we understood the necessity of turning around a public school system that had failed students and taxpayers for decades. Our schools aren't yet where they need to be. But all of us put our children first, our schools can become the best in America,” he said.
College and Career Academies now operating are:
- Fenger High School, 11220 S. Wallace Av. – construction, culinary and hospitality
- Harlan High School, 9652 S. Michigan Av. – pre-engineering, information technology
- Harper High School, 6526 S. Wood St. – construction, culinary and hospitality
- Schurz High School, 3601 N. Milwaukee Av.– auto technology, business and finance
- Sullivan High School, 6631 N. Bosworth Av. – medical and health careers
- Washington High School, 3535 E. 114th St., culinary, information technology
- Crane High School, 2245 W. Jackson Blvd. – auto technology, information technology, medical and health careers
- Dunbar High School, 3000 S. King Dr. – auto technology and auto body repair, construction and architecture, cosmetology, culinary and hospitality, medical and health careers
- Manley High School, 2935 W. Polk St. – culinary and hospitality, medical assistance
- Orr Academy High School, 730 N. Pulaski Rd. – child care and childhood education, information technology
- Wells Academy High School, 936 N. Ashland Av. – law and public safety, logistics, teaching
- Westinghouse High School, 3223 W. Franklin Blvd. – broadcast technology, business, information technology, medical and health careers
New Buildings part of the Modern Schools Across Chicago opening Fall 2010:
- Azuela — 4707 W. Marquette Blvd. — PK-8
- Calmeca — 3456 W. 38th St. — PK-8
- Lorca — 3231 N. Springfield Av. — PK-8
- Solorio — 5400 S. St. Louis Av. — 9-12
- West Ridge — 6700 N. Whipple St. — PK-8