Safe and Supportive
Students learn best when they feel safe, both physically and emotionally. We must ensure that every student feels
welcomed, supported and respected in school by both peers and adults. Students also learn more when they have
the opportunity to develop social and emotional skills, such as managing frustration, building relationships
and making responsible decisions. Those skills are needed to persist with a tough math problem, collaborate on
a group project, and to set goals for college and career. Well-maintained and well-equipped buildings also support
has found that school facilities have an enormous influence on student learning, behavior and health. We must
invest equitably in school facilities across the city to support students’ well-being and academic progress.
using the CPS Climate Standards as a guide. Teams will analyze school data, identify
strengths and weaknesses, generate solutions, lead their implementation and evaluate results. Schools that develop
strong school climate practices are eligible for Supportive School Certification on their school progress report.
That might include coaching students to overcome
frustration with a challenging assignment or to collaborate effectively with peers on a project. Some schools
may also choose to adopt research-based instructional programs that explicitly teach social and emotional skills.
Students who need more assistance will be supported interventions that meet their social and emotional needs
(refer to the MTSS section for more information).
A restorative approach to discipline explores the root cause of student behavior and then guides young people to
understand how their actions affect others and to make amends. Taking time to identify the causes of misbehavior
can also lead to changes in school practice, such as better supervision.
dropping by 82 percent. The CPS Office of Safety and Security and the Office of Social and Emotional Learning
will continue providing training and coaching to ensure all schools adopt restorative approaches to discipline.
Teaching young people strategies for coping with conflict, peer pressure and other life stressors can reduce risky
behavior and engage them in school. With programs like Becoming a Man (BAM) and Working on Womanhood (WOW), the
Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative is connecting vulnerable youth from Chicago’s high-crime, high-poverty communities
with supports that will keep them on track to graduate from high school and help them avoid interaction with
the criminal justice system. Not only will we continue these successful programs, but others including a supportive
intervention program with the Chicago Police Department, a privately funded jobs and mentoring program in partnership
with the city’s Department of Family and Supports Services, and the
Saturday Morning ReachOut and Teach (SMART) program, which builds social and emotional skills and serves
as an alternative to expulsion.
CPS has 44 “Options” schools and programs to serve 8,000 youth aged 14 to 21 who have returned to school after dropping
out, were significantly behind in credits needed for graduation or who face other significant challenges, such
as incarceration. To better support these students,
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Security officers are essential to creating a positive school climate as they interact with students throughout the
day. Several years ago, CPS began training them to go beyond rule enforcement and build trusting relationships
with students. When security officers show that they care, students are more likely to seek them out with safety
or other concerns.
CPS will continue to
promote professional development for security officers to improve their interactions with students, while also
maintaining high standards for school safety.
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Children learn best in schools that are free from overcrowding, in good repair and equipped to meet their needs.
CPS is finalizing the installation of air conditioning for every classroom this spring, with a $27 million budget
to complete the Mayor’s initiative to install air conditioning in every classroom within five years. The plan
has been completed substantially ahead of time and under budget. Thanks largely to a newly instated Capital Improvement
Tax that can only be used for capital projects and not operating expenses,
Moving forward, we will continue to swiftly address any structural
issue that raises a safety concern. We will also execute a capital plan, as funding permits, which equitably
addresses overcrowding relief and deferred maintenance. As we expand programs such as STEM, IB and other specialty
programs, we will also provide capital improvements that support instruction such as new science labs, computer
labs, workshops or art studios.
We will expand a piloted model for custodial care called Integrated Facilities Management that results in cleaner
schools and gives principals more time to focus on student learning. It also helps the district to more quickly
identify and eliminate potential safety issues with older buildings. The model, which will be gradually expanded
districtwide, appoints one building manager to supervise both engineering and custodial tasks that were formerly
overseen separately. That provides principals with only one point of contact for building issues, which can be
handled more efficiently.
New educational websites and applications are enhancing classroom learning like never before. They are also placing
greater demands on existing wireless internet service in our schools, some of which are ill-equipped to support
it. With a $21 million matching grant from the Federal Communications Commission,
Outdoor play spaces with quality equipment encourage young children to move in ways that develop their balance, coordination,
and strength; as well as important social skills like conflict resolution. To ensure that all students have this
opportunity, CPS, with funding support from partners such as Space to Grow, will complete the construction of
playlots for the 20 CPS elementary school still in need of one. Additionally, through our Space to Grow program;
developed in partnership with Mayor Emanuel’s Office, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater
Chicago and the Chicago Department of Water Management; schools will receive newly designed schoolyards that
meet community needs, reduce storm water runoff and promote green spaces in urbanized areas.
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Educating the whole child means extending our reach beyond the school day. Whether it’s before school, after school
or on weekends,
These programs include everything
from arts and technology clubs to mentoring, health and fitness activities, and academic intervention. Mayor
Emanuel has expanded the ability of the Chicago Public Library to make learning and knowledge accessible to youth
around the city through out-of-school-time programs that are offered year-round. They include homework help and
tutoring, early learning opportunities, and the Rahm’s Readers program. Through Chicago City of Learning students
can to seek out in-person learning opportunities that match their interests, earn digital badges and build a
digital portfolio to showcase their achievements over time. Athletics are also a major part of our out-of-school-time
efforts, with thousands of students participating in
CPS SCORE (Sports Can Open Roads to Excellence)—a partnership between CPS, the Chicago Park District, and
private partners that gives all students in grades 5-8 the chance to join athletic teams and develop a variety
of skills. This no-cut program is CPS’ official interscholastic league for elementary sports, and nearly 9,000
students from nearly 200 schools participated in the inaugural season.
Our priority going forward is to get a more detailed picture of which out-of-school-time programming is proving most
effective for CPS students and to increase access to that programming across the district. In support of this,
we are collaborating with Thrive Chicago to engage with a wide variety of community partners to help them analyze
and recommend targeted programming to best meet students’ needs.
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