Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced seven additional schools are offering Safe Passage this school year, providing more than 75,000 students at 140 schools with designated routes staffed by 1,300 safety workers.
More than 2,500 students attending Aldridge Elementary, Carver Primary, Carver Military, Phoenix Military, Randolph Elementary, CICS Lloyd Bond and CICS Larry Hawkins can now travel to and from school along the routes. With investments made by under Mayor Rahm Emanuel since 2011, the Safe Passage program has grown by 105 schools to expand its reach to serve an additional 40,000 students.
“We all share in a responsibility of ensuring that our children are able to arrive at school each and every day ready to learn,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Safe Passage is about more than just building a route to school; it is about building a route to college, career and beyond, so that once our kids get to school, they receive the world-class education they deserve.”
Last spring, CPS phased in Safe Passage at five of the seven new schools (Aldridge, Carver, Carver Military, CICS Bond and CICS Hawkins) for the final month of the school year. Over the summer, CPS officials held parent meetings to solicit feedback on the program as well as the specific safe passage routes. The District used this feedback to tailor plans to meet the needs of each of the new routes.
“Safe Passage continues to allow our students to focus on their studies and not on their safety, and we are pleased to expand this valuable program to seven new school communities,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “The safety of our students is our top priority, and we look forward to a safe year ahead.”
Throughout the summer, CPS’ Office of Safety and Security worked to provide comprehensive training to ensure all workers are equipped with relationship-building skills, de-escalation strategies and knowledge of other safety protocols that will support children throughout the year. The Office of Safety and Security also conducted a thorough review of each existing route to identify efficiencies and to ensure that staffing aligns with potential hot spots.
Since its inception in 2009, the Safe Passage Program has expanded from 35 schools in its first year to 140 schools this fall. Due to the hard work of the dedicated Safe Passage workers, who are employed by 22 community organizations, there have been no major incidents involving students on Safe Passage routes during the program’s operational hours.
The success of the program is credited to the positive engagement of Safe Passage workers with the students they serve. Safe Passage workers are from and reside in the communities in which they serve, which provides workers them with a crucial understanding of community dynamics and allows them to build on pre-existing relationships.
In addition to offering additional safety support for students traveling to and from school, Safe Passage has demonstrated other important effects in schools, including the decline of criminal incidents around schools and an increase in attendance. Safe Passage historically results in a seven percent boost in attendance at a school, which has contributed to the District attendance record of 93.2 percent.
Additional information on the Safe Passage program, including route maps for all 140 schools, is available at www.cps.edu/safepassage.
Chicago Public Schools serves 396,000 students in 660 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.