Letter from Brizard to parents of schoolchildren
Dear CPS Parent, Guardian or Caregiver:
On September 4, more than 250,000 students will join more than 140,000 others who started their school year and embarked on a full school day in August.
Because of the full day, all students are getting more time in critical subjects like math, reading and science while also enjoying enrichment such as music, art, physical education, and recess, many of them for the first time. Chicago Public School (CPS) students are now getting the quality education they have long deserved.
The impact that the Full School Day is having on our kids is just beginning. That’s why my colleagues and I are working diligently to avoid the potential that your children will be removed from the classroom should Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) leadership decide to strike.
Many of you have read stories over the last week about the possibility of a strike by the CTU. Just yesterday, CTU leadership took another step towards going on strike, issuing a 10-day strike notice to CPS.
A strike would create significant disruption to the lives of both our students and you, their parents and caregivers. Fall varsity sports including Football and Soccer would be cancelled. More than 400,000 daily lunches and breakfasts would not be served. Seniors applying to college would see delays in the sending of transcripts, ACT scores and teacher recommendations. Important time would be lost for more than 20,000 juniors who would miss ACT practice tests. All our students would be set back in their learning.
Students can’t afford to be removed from their classroom at a time when they’re starting to make progress with the Full School Day. Now is the time to keep them in the classroom. My team and I are committed to staying at the negotiating table – every hour of every day if needed – until we reach a fair resolution that keeps our students in class where they belong.
We will take every step possible to limit the disruption a strike would have on kids and your families. Today CPS unveiled the “Children First” plan designed to provide your kids with critical services they may need in the event of a strike.
While this plan is merely a precaution, we must be prepared—although we have every hope and expectation that we will not have to implement it. In the coming days we will keep you updated with information about how you can register to send your children to select sites in your neighborhood should CTU leadership choose to strike. The services that we are preparing to offer are listed on the reverse side of this letter.
Thank you for all you do on behalf of our students and schools and for supporting our efforts to ensure your children remain in the classroom where they belong.
Chicago Public Schools ïCEO
Overview of CPS’ ‘Children First’ Plan
In the event CTU leadership chooses to strike, CPS will collaborate with our partners at the City, including the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Fire and Police Departments and the Office of Emergency Management in providing children a safe environment and positive activities they need and deserve.
In the event that the Union chooses to strike, CPS and its partners will provide children with the following essential services:
◆ Keeping approximately 145 schools sites open. Sites are selected based on the size and location of the building, with preference given to those with strong leadership, air conditioning, a gym, cafeteria, computer labs, and in close proximity to public transportation.
◆ These sites will be staffed with Central Office personnel and other non-CTU employees as well as non-profit and community organizations who respond to our request for proposals (RFP) to help staff schools and provide engaging programming for children.
◆ Providing daily meals, including breakfast and lunch.
◆ Extending 70-80 Chicago Park District summer camps, and welcoming students at 79 Chicago Public Libraries.
◆ Working with the Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago Police and Fire Departments to ensure safety and provide additional services.
Continue to check our website, www.cps.edu/childrenfirst or call our hotline at 773-553-1000 for the latest news and updates.