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Mayor Richard M. Daley, opened the first day of the 2008-09 school year by ringing the ceremonial bell at a new school building – the Sir Miles Davis Academy, 6740 S. Paulina Av., which is the first school building to open through the “Modern Schools Across Chicago” partnership between the City and the Chicago Public Schools.
“The first day of school is an opportunity to recommit ourselves to provide a quality education to every child, in every school in Chicago so that they graduate prepared to achieve their dreams in life,” the Mayor said in a news conference held with school officials at Miles Davis, which will offer the school district’s first children’s engineering program.
“But, we’re not only investing in our children by providing new and modern facilities. We’re also providing them with new education options across the city. Today, we are opening 34 new options – not new buildings – but schools that provide new and cutting-edge programs that help parents find the right fit for their child,” Daley said.
These include innovative charter schools, new magnet-school programs with a technology focus, replications of very successful schools, and turnaround schools that are opening with new leadership, a new culture of high expectations, and a renewed commitment to excellence, he said.
And the Mayor outlined several other initiatives that will go into effect with the new school year.
“These are the kinds of programs that are needed to ground our students in the basics of learning, to turn around underperforming schools and to bring greater accountability throughout the system,” Daley said.
- Offering 90 additional schools with extra support through the CPS’ groundbreaking Reading Initiative, which has been instrumental in increasing test scores at elementary schools over the last six years.
- Expanding the teaching of mathematics to elementary school students by offering algebra to nearly 2000 more students in the eighth grade, which provides them with a head-start on advanced high school work.
- Starting new writing standards for 8th grade promotions.
- Implementing a more thorough accountability measure in elementary schools. They will now be using a value-added system to assess the true impact that a school is having on the student’s learning—going far beyond the simple test-score analysis we’ve used in the past.
- Adding 18 more schools to the High School Transformation initiative, which ensures a strong, college-focused curriculum at all of our high schools, including low performing schools.
- Expanding Chinese, Arabic and Russian language programs to serve 1,000 more students, giving them a head start in their ability to compete in the global economy.
- Expanding the CPS Freshman Connection program next summer. It was launched this summer and brought more than 15,000 ninth-graders into their new schools in July to give them an early start on high school success.
- Installing security cameras at 25 more schools.
- And, opening 35 more community schools. These schools serve as neighborhood anchors for our families—staying open well into the evening and on weekends to provide services and programs for the children and adults.
Davis is a consolidation of two nearby schools — the old Miles Davis Academy and Vernon Johns Middle Academy — and will be open to children from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. As part of the school’s engineering program, children in all grades will work together on grade-appropriate engineering design challenges that require them to define problems, and research, design, construct, test, analyze and communicate solutions.
“We’re very excited about this wonderful new building and the unique learning opportunities that will be available to these students here every day,” said CPS Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan.<