CPS Office of Communications 773-553-1620
Mayor Richard M. Daley, Chicago Public School officials and community members today celebrated the opening of the new Dr. Jorge Prieto Math & Science Academy, 2231 N. Central Av.
The Prieto School is one of five new public schools which have opened this month under the “Modern Schools Across Chicago” program, which is paid for by city funds only.
The school contains more than 106,000 square feet and includes, among other features, a computer lab, a science lab, a music classroom, an art classroom and a state-of-the-art computer network.
It was designed to achieve Silver certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design schools’ rating system, and includes a green roof covering 25 percent of the building.
The new school will help alleviate overcrowding at nearby elementary schools and will offer a variety of after school programs including a Science Club, a Book Club and a Garden Club.
“Neighborhood schools represent the core of our school system. They far outnumber any other category of schools that are offered and the vast majority of our students attend them,” the Mayor said.
“Our goal is to make every neighborhood school a high quality school that a parent wants to send their child to because it offers our students a great opportunity for a solid education,” he said.
In a news conference held at the school, the Mayor also outlined the many after school programs offered this fall for students and announced the expansion of the Community Schools program to include nine new CPS schools.
“Keeping our children involved in positive alternatives and activities both during school vacations and after school plays a critical role in keeping them safe and secure and learning in the classroom,” Daley said.
“I want to make it clear to every parent that we are doing all we can to keep our students safe — both at school and after classes are over,” he said.
The Mayor outlined after school programs available this fall:
- The CPS Office of Extended Learning will provide after school activities to more than 150,000 students in the 2009-2010 school year. Among them, the After School All-Stars program will provide structured academic, independent learning and recreational activities to 35,000 students in 270 schools.
- For students attending the 140 CPS year-round — or “Track E” — schools, for the first time Chicago Park District is offering camps at 30 parks during the school breaks to help keep students occupied with positive activities. The first one begins September 28.
These camps include a variety of games, arts and crafts, swimming and other sports, movies and dancing for six hours a day.
- More than 50,000 students in 345 schools will receive Supplemental Educational Services known as SES tutoring. SES provides additional academic instruction in reading and math to ensure the academic progress of students in underperforming schools as stipulated under No Child Left Behind.
- CPS has been awarded more than $17 million in grants to maintain and expand its Community Schools Initiative to 158 schools, the largest such program in the nation. The two grants from the Illinois State Board of Education will allow CPS to provide participating schools with the resources to implement academic instruction, cultural enrichment, social and emotional support, and adult programming at schools during afternoon, evening and weekend hours.
The grants, part of the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program, will be spread over five years and will allow the number of Community Schools in CPS to grow to 158.
The first of the two grants, for $6.27 million, will expand programming to nine high schools that will be new to the Community Schools Initiative. These include Fenger, Raby, Robeson, Spry Community Links, Tilden, Uplift and Phillips high schools, along with the School of Technology and School of Leadership at South Shore.
The second of the grants is for around $11 million and will continue programming at 22 existing 21st Century CCLC schools: Armstrong, Bethune, William Brown, Burroughs, Chavez, Crane, Greeley, Harper, Johnson, Kohn, Libby, Mayo, Sabin, School of the Arts and School of Entrepreneurship (South Shore), Sherman, Smyth, Sumner, Whistler, Whittier, Williams and Yale. This grant will also provide programming at three new schools: Fulton, Howe and Whitney.
“In a tight budget year, these grants are critically important and will allow us to continue and expand significant school-based programs that create closer links between our district, students, parents and the community,” said CPS Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman.
“The CPS Community Schools Initiative aims to make our schools the center of their communities. Through this initiative, our schools become a place where all, young and old alike, feel welcome to come and learn new skills or improve skills they already have, to avail themselves of needed services or to simply engage in a program for personal or professional growth,” he said
For students, the CCLC grants support creation of community learning centers that provide academic and enrichment opportunities during non-school hours.
- CPS also offers after school sports programs to 70,000 students citywide at 350 elementary schools and 125 high schools. Elementary schools choose from 19 interscholastic sports activities, and high schools choose from 32 interscholastic sports programs at freshman, sophomore and varsity levels.
- Outside partners are also working with CPS to provide after school programs with an academic focus. City Year, DePaul University Tutors and Working In the Schools, will offer homework assistance, literacy and mentoring for 1,500 students elementary and high school students.
- After School Matters aims to fill 25,000 program slots this school year, partnering with 57 schools and more than 100 community-based organizations. These also include apprenticeships and internships, and the fall programs begin October 5.
- The City’s Department of Family and Support Services has partnered with more than 200 delegate agencies at locations around the city — such as Boys and Girls’ Clubs and the YMCA — to provide a wide range of services, including academic, arts and culture and sports.
“I urge our city’s parents to enroll their children in these many positive alternatives and activities to keep them safe and constructively occupied after school,” Daley said.
“Every person and institution in Chicago shares the responsibility for protecting our children. We’re in this fight against gangs, guns and drugs together. We can’t be with our children every minute to keep them out of harm’s way, but we can create positive activities that give them an alternative to hanging out in the streets,” he said.
Information about all available opportunities can be found online at the City’s after school program locator, www.afterschoolchicago.org.