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CPS, CTU: 20 schools sharing $10 million in extra services for kids, families

Sun-Times file photo

Twenty elementary and high schools will share a $10 million community schools investment to pilot extra services for students and families, Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union announced Tuesday.

Though the program came about by a collaboration between CPS and the CTU memorialized in the teachers contract, schools officials named the schools late Tuesday after the CTU announced their own news conference Wednesday morning.

Each school participating in the Sustainable Community Schools Initiative has a dedicated community partner, such as Metropolitan Family Services and the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, to add the extra services for kids and their families, including health services, support for homeless families and recreational activities.

The program, scheduled to start in October, is intended to support open-enrollment schools in primarily low income communities, where at least four of five students are considered low-income, schools that “serve as an anchor in neighborhoods on the South and West sides of Chicago,” as union officials wrote on the CTU website.

Many are in neighborhoods that had schools shuttered during the mass 2013 school closings.

The CTU has long advocated for more money for schools in neighborhoods that continue to lose students amid district-wide enrollment drops, and said the model “recognizes that transformative services for students are not a temporary, one-shot arrangement, but rather represent and embody sustainable changes to the way we think about educating the whole child—with family and community partner involvement at the core.”

CEO Janice Jackson said in her press release that, “By bringing together community members and educators under the shared mission of strengthening the supports our students and families need to thrive, the Sustainable Community Schools Initiative has the power to transform communities and create new opportunities for our students.”

She made no mention of its inclusion in the current teachers contract signed minutes before a strike deadline in September 2016. It was among several unusual provisions written into the four-year labor agreement. That contract expires in June 2019, within months of the election which sees Mayor Rahm Emanuel fending off a crowded field of challengers.

CPS School Community Partner

Beidler Elementary/Blocks Together

Brighton Park Elementary/Brighton Park Neighborhood Council

Cameron Elementary/Blocks Together

DePriest Elementary/Family Focus

Drake Elementary/Kenwood Oakland Community Organization

Dyett High School/Kenwood Oakland Community Organization

Farragut High School/Enlace Chicago

Fenger High School/Youth Guidance

Fort Dearborn Elementary/Family Focus

Kelly High School Brighton/Park Neighborhood Council

McCormick Elementary/Enlace Chicago

Metcalfe Elementary/Metropolitan Family Services

Morrill Elementary/Southwest Organizing Project

Richards High School/Youth Guidance

Schurz High School/Logan Square Neighborhood Association

Spencer Elementary/Youth Guidance

Steinmetz High School/Northwest Side Housing Center

Stevenson Elementary/Metropolitan Family Services

Uplift High School/Kuumba Lynx

Yates Elementary/Puerto Rican Cultural Center