I regret to inform you that the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) have failed to reach an agreement on a new contract for teachers. As a result, the CTU has announced they will strike beginning today and most CPS schools will be closed until further notice.
However, charter schools, including the Chicago Math and Science Academy and the new UNO School at the former St. Scholastica site, are not affected by the strike and will adhere to their normal class schedules.
CPS has developed a contingency plan, opening “Children First” sites to students in 144 schools throughout the City. The Children First site for 49th Ward elementary students is Gale Community Academy, 1631 W. Jonquil (between Ashland and Marshfield). The Children First site for 49th Ward high school students is Amundsen High School, 5110 N. Damen.
Each school location will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to any students who attend these Children First Sites. No yellow bus service will be provided.
The sites will staffed by teachers’ aides, paraprofessionals (e.g. speech pathologists), the schools’ food service workers, existing school employees, redeployed CPS staff and non-profit organizations at a ratio of 1:25.
Though instruction will not be provided, students will participate in positive activities to keep them engaged, including independent reading and writing, arts and journaling, sports activities, and computer-based programming.
CPS is encouraging each student to register at http://www.cps.edu/. To complete registration, you will need the student ID number, contact information and parent contact information. You may also register your child by calling 311.
Loyola Park, 1230 W. Greenleaf (at the Lake), will be open to CPS students ages 6-12, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The park will offer the Park District’s “Play at the Park” program, a supervised recreational camp program that the park provided this past summer. Parents must register their children in person at the park and provide their children with a sack lunch.
The Rogers Park Library, 6907 N. Clark (at Farwell), will be open to students during the entire day. The library will be staffed with its usual employees and volunteers. Students can access books, magazines and online learning activities to mitigate learning loss. High school seniors will be prioritized for computer use to take advantage of online courses.
Students need not register at the library, but children under the age of 7 must be accompanied by an adult. Children will be allowed to eat healthy snacks in the libraries, but they will have to bring their own.
Finally, Mision Christiana Elim Church, 1615 W. Morse (at Ashland), will offer its “Safe Haven, Safe Summer” program to provide CPS students with structured activities from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The church clergy and volunteers will offer assistance with college applications, arts and crafts, and social and emotional learning programs. Parents must register their children in person at the church. Breakfast and lunch will be provided by Catholic Charities.
I am hopeful the parties will resolve their differences in short order, but in the meantime I am committed to making this difficult event as manageable as possible for parents and their children. I will keep you updated.