Back to School

The first day of school is complete for some 400,000 Chicago Public Schools students. CPS and the mayor's office say they plan to build on what they see as last year's successes. Brandis Friedman breaks down the city's plans.

  • Safe Passage Routes Expansion

On Thursday, Aug. 28, Gov. Pat Quinn announced a $10 million investment in expanding the efforts of the Safe Passage program for Chicago Public Schools. The expansion would add 27 schools to the route list that is currently serving 93 schools for more than 65,000 students. The money would create 600 more jobs for Safe-Passage workers for the 27 new route areas.

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In a statement released by the governor’s office, Quinn’s investment was part of the state’s effort to make CPS communities safer.

“Our first priority as a state must be the education and well-being of our children. As we kick-off a new school year, all students should be focused on their studies - not on their safety - as they walk to and from school. The Safe Passage program has proven to be a successful way to improve attendance, increase safety and boost learning in our classrooms. With this state investment, we can reach even more schools and help ensure safe passage for more students.”

-Gov. Pat Quinn

View a map of the 27 new Safe Passage schools:


  • Classroom Air Conditioning Expansion

CPS completed the first phase of air conditioning installations in time for the first day of classes. Fifty seven schools received the installations on time and under budget according to CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. Subsequently, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced expansion of Phase 1 would queue 29 schools next to receive classroom air conditioners. The investment would bring a total of 154 schools cooling systems in a two-year span. Phase 1 will cost about $20 million a year and is funded through the CPS capital budget. In a statement released by CPS, Byrd-Bennett believes this investment will ensure a more productive and comfortable learning environment.

CPS CEO Barbara Byd-Bennett

“Bringing air conditioning to all of our classrooms is important for our students to do the work they need to succeed. With this investment, the quality of our learning environments will mirror the quality of our instruction.”

-CPS CEO Barbara Byd-Bennett

View a list of the 29 additional schools that will receive air conditioning by the end of October.

Phillip D Armour Elementary School

Ernst Prussing Elementary School

Albert R Sabin Elementary Magnet School

Carl von Linne Elementary School

Henry H Nash Elementary School

John Greenleaf Whittier Elementary School

Washington High School

Mark Sheridan Elementary Math & Science Academy

Sauganash Elementary School

Rowe Elementary School

Charles P Caldwell Academy of Math & Science ES

Alexander Hamilton Elementary School

Edgebrook Elementary School

Joshua D Kershaw Elementary School

William E B Dubois Elementary School

Joseph Jungman Elementary School

James Hedges Elementary School

Orville T Bright Elementary School

Brighton Park Elementary School

Richard J Oglesby Elementary School

Franklin Elementary Fine Arts Center

Wolfgang A Mozart Elementary School

Alcott High School for the Humanities

Frank W Reilly Elementary School

Foster Park Elementary School

DeWitt Clinton Elementary School

Cesar E Chavez Multicultural Academic Center ES

Anna R. Langford Community Academy

Daniel Webster Elementary School



  • Free Breakfast and Lunch

CPS’s latest expansion the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) will provide free meals for all CPS students for the first time. Starting today, all Chicago Public Schools will provide free breakfast and lunch for their students regardless of their economic eligibility. The CEP is part of the federally funded Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The service offers free breakfast and lunch to students in qualifying high-need school districts. For the first time since the program’s launch, all CPS schools under the School Food Authority (SFA) will be participating in CEP. Charter schools can apply to the Illinois State Board of Education to be approved to participate in CEP.

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