$32M awarded to schools across CPS in ‘largest-ever’ academic program expansion

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks Tuesday at Cuffe Academy, 8324 S. Racine Ave. | Mitchell Armentrout/Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools officials on Tuesday announced receiving a total of $32 million for new high-quality programs at 32 schools across the city, including long-neglected neighborhood schools on the South and West sides.

The investments — touted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as the district’s largest-ever academic program expansion — will give 17,000 students access to bolstered curriculum, including new International Baccalaureate programs at seven schools and STEM programs at 11 schools, according to CPS.

Fine arts programs are being added at six schools, dual language programs to four schools, world language programs at two schools and personalized learning programs at two schools.

The funding will benefit a student population that’s about 80 percent low-income, according to the district. The new programs are clustered in “IB neighborhoods” and “STEM neighborhoods.” CPS says they’ll help address gaps in parts of the city as identified in a new Annual Regional Analysis, which was also released Tuesday.

That includes the West Side’s first IB program at Michele Clark Magnet High School, the West Side’s first magnet cluster program at Collins High School, and Bronzeville’s first early college STEM program at Chicago Military Academy.

“Parents can move to a neighborhood and know that their child’s going to be educated from kindergarten to 12th grade on an IB education,” Emanuel said during a press conference at Cuffe Academy in Auburn Gresham, which received funding for a new STEM program. “They can do the same going to a STEM neighborhood.”

The funding infusion is Emanuel’s latest boost to the city’s IB network, which he has championed throughout his administration. As he seeks to burnish his legacy in his final weeks in office — and steer attention away from the 50 schools he closed during his first term — the new funding means North America’s largest IB network will increase to 62 schools serving 19,000 students.

Principals from 102 schools applied to receive the funding, which will be distributed over six years for staffing, training, learning resources and more. CPS credited the new state funding formula for improving the district’s finances to support the new programs.

Fifty-eight schools were invited to submit full proposals, and 32 were chosen “based on a thorough evaluation process that included community and parent engagement, a needs assessment, interviews with school staff, letters of support from community stakeholders, and approval by each school’s Local School Council,” according to the district.

“It really was a community driven process by school leaders engaging stakeholders throughout their school community, and it was driven by student interest and need,” CPS Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade said.

In a statement, Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey dismissed the expansions as Emanuel doling out scraps of “token funding.”

“Today’s meager funding for a handful of schools only underscores the critical financial shortfalls that hundreds of our public schools continue to confront,” Sharkey said. “The mayor’s relentless efforts to spin his distorted priorities and public education bloodletting into something positive cannot cover up this disaster.”

CPS said the 70 rejected schools “were provided clear, objective rationale, as well as areas of improvement so they can focus on strengthening structures to ensure successful program implementation in the future.”

Another application cycle will open next school year. The amount of funding available will depend on which schools apply for what programs, McDade said.

Here are the schools selected for program expansions:

Addams Elementary School (Personalized Learning)

Belmont-Cragin Elementary School (Magnet – Fine & Performing Arts)

Cameron Elementary School (Magnet Cluster – Fine & Performing Arts)

Chase Elementary School (STEAM)

Chicago Military Academy at Bronzeville (Early College STEM)

Michele Clark Magnet High School (IB – MYP)

Collins Academy High School (Magnet Cluster – Fine & Performing Arts)

Columbia Explorers Elementary School (STEM)

Cuffe Elementary School (STEM)

Earhart Elementary School (STEAM)

Eberhart Elementary School (Dual Language)

Everett Elementary School (STEM)

Evergreen Academy (STEAM)

Fairfield Elementary School (IB – MYP)

Faraday Elementary School (IB – PYP)

Goethe Elementary School (Dual Language)

Hawthorne Elementary School (Personalized Learning)

Joplin Elementary School (Magnet Cluster – World Language)

Josephine Locke Elementary School (IB – PYP)

McPherson Elementary School (Gifted & IB-PYP)

Moos Elementary School (IB – PYP)

Peck Elementary School (STEM)

Perez Elementary School (World Language Academy – Mandarin & Spanish)

Peterson Elementary School (STEAM)

Portage Park Elementary School (Magnet Cluster – Fine & Performing Arts)

Roosevelt High School (Dual Language)

Salazar Elementary School (Dual Language)

Senn High School (IB – CP)

Shoop Elementary School (STEM)

Steinmetz High School (STEAM)

Till Elementary School (Magnet Cluster – Fine & Performing Arts)

Wells High School (Magnet Cluster – Fine & Performing Arts)

Read CPS’ 2018-19 Annual Regional Analysis:

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