CHICAGO — As Chicago Public Schools cement the list of underutilized schools slated to close, the district has announced a plan to safely transition students to their new schools starting in the fall.
In general, the district will expand its Safe Passage program by partnering with additional community- and faith-based organizations, the district said in a release issued Thursday.
The program will place additional parent and community volunteers along key routes.
Each school gaining new students will have an extra security officer, and conduct training for security personnel. Some security personnel at schools slated for closure will accompany students to their new schools to maintain relationships, the district said.
CPS will also review the technology and security needs of each school taking on new students. Security cameras, alarm systems and entry screening equipment will be installed as needed, the district said.
Schools taking in new students will hold orientation and student-family integration events over the summer. The schools will hold interventions and create student support groups to help students build their conflict resolution skills, the release said.
The plan is designed to ensure student safety as the children travel to and from school, and while they attend classes. The district worked with the Chicago Police Department, using feedback collected in community meetings, to craft the plan.
Each school that will accept new students will have a safety plan tailored to its specific needs, the district said. The district said it will continue to solicit feedback to adjust security plans after CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett introduces the consolidation plans to the Chicago Board of Education.
“We have had many partners already step forward to say they want to be a part of the solution,” Byrd-Bennett said. “These partners know their neighborhoods and have their ear to the ground, which is key. Their involvement and expertise will be critical as we all have a role to play in ensuring that our communities and our students are safe.”
CPS will make a final determination on which schools to close March 31. Last month it announced 129 schools were among those being considered for closure.
In January, the district said no high schools would be closed, citing fears conflicts could arise by mixing students from different neighborhoods.