By Isi Frank Ativie
Community workshops invite residents’ input
Every child has at least two impressions on how they view the idea of going to school. Some children enjoy rising up every morning to attend school; others aren’t enthusiastic about performing this daily routine. But within the last three months, the Chicago Public Schools district has shut down all schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since March 17, every educational institutional activity in this city has been postponed for the 2019-20 academic year. All private K-12 and public schools are currently in temporary closure due to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s order. Recent CPS graduates were left with no option but to hold virtual graduation ceremonies in their own homes.
However, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Pritzker are planning to resume classes for the CPS district this coming fall semester on September 8. This has been the original start date for all Chicago public schools since this past February.
The Crusader staff was unable to secure a requested interview with any of the CPS board members, including office administrators from City Hall. However, CPS Chief Executive Officer Janice K. Jackson released a statement on the school district’s website last Friday.
According to Jackson, “Chicago Public Schools (CPS) wants every learning environment to be as strong as it can be. Your voice is critical to making this happen, so I hope you will consider participating in one of the virtual community workshops that are coming up this summer. This is your chance to provide feedback that will help us continue strengthening neighborhood schools.”
Jackson’s statement continued, “Our conversations will be guided by the information presented in the most recent Annual Regional Analysis (ARA), which explores enrollment patterns and program offerings for schools in every region of our city.”
It was additionally noted in the statement that, “You can access the most up-to-date ARA information in eight different languages at ara.cps.edu. You can RSVP to attend a workshop using the links below. I hope you will strongly consider lending your voice to this critically-important conversation. You are the most important partners we have, and we need your support as we strive to achieve our vision of a high-quality education for every child from every community in Chicago.”
The Children First Fund raised up to $150,000 for this year’s high school graduates and their transitions to enroll in college.
“Our seniors have graduated, and for those heading to college,” Jackson said, “We want to ensure that financial barriers aren’t getting in their way. Something like textbook fees or a bus ticket to campus shouldn’t prevent our students from realizing their dream of attending college, which is why CFF donors, including anchor funders PepsiCo and Fifth-Third Bank, are stepping up to help.”
Jackson also mentioned that CPS playgrounds are currently closed for children because of strict guidance from the Chicago Park District. “As Chicago cautiously begins to reopen parts of our city,” Jackson noted, “We want to emphasize that all CPS playgrounds will remain closed in alignment with Park District guidance. We are looking forward to the day when our communities can use our playgrounds again, but these gathering spaces pose a risk for COVID-19 transmission and it is critically important that we do our part to keep ourselves and our communities healthy.”
The CPS district is making full attempts at supporting reliable educational programs for their Black students in this city. The Chicago African-American community is relying on educational resources that CPS has structured for their Black youth. There’s nothing more essential for the Black community than to educate and instill knowledge in our children.