April 21, 2023

A Note From CPS Leadership

Click here to view this letter in Spanish, Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Filipino, Polish, Ukrainian, Urdu, or Vietnamese.
Video about the recently announced FY24 CPS school budgets
Dear CPS Colleagues, Families, and Supporters,

Earlier this week, we provided our principals with their initial budgets for the 2023–24 school year. These budgets, which include an increase of nearly $400 million in school-based funding over the past two years, will build on our commitments to equity and stability, and will continue our focus on helping students recover academically, socially, and emotionally from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

School Budgets at a Glance
Here are some highlights from next year’s school budgets:
  • 82 percent of schools will receive MORE funding than they did this school year.
  • Per-pupil funding (the amount of money spent on each individual student) is also going up by nearly $1,000 per child.
  • 91 percent of traditional, District-run schools will see a higher level of per-pupil funding going into next school year, especially our schools that serve large populations of Black and Latinx students.

New Investments to Drive Student Success
Next year’s school budgets include more funding to support our District’s highest-need students, including:
  • $100 million in additional funding for special education teachers and paraprofessionals.
  • $32 million for new teaching positions across the District, with additional positions going to schools rated high on the CPS Opportunity Index.
  • An increase of $15 million for bilingual instruction.
  • A $5 million increase in Equity Grants to ensure that our smaller schools can continue providing students with a high-quality education.
  • An additional 420 seats to bring free, full-day pre-k to all Chicago communities.

Doubling Down on What We Know Works
Next year’s school budgets will also fund the programs and resources that are helping our students succeed right now: 
  • $45 million to provide teacher professional development District-wide and fund additional instructional coaches at 184 schools.
  • $15 million to provide additional District-funded counselors at 131 of our highest-need schools.
  • $8 million to support our District’s athletic administration, including full-time athletic directors at more than half of our high schools.
  • $11 million to support 80 schools that are experiencing major changes in enrollment.

We will also continue funding the academic priorities that our principals and school communities have let us know are critical to their success. These include: 
  • Reasonable class sizes
  • High-quality arts education programs
  • Student devices and curricular supports 
  • Expansion of the CPS Tutor Corps and of our summer and out-of-school-time programs
  • Interventionists, nurses, social workers, and 50 advocates for students in temporary living situations (STLS) at 45 schools with high STLS enrollment. 

Thanks to the vision of our school leaders, the dedication of our educators, and the partnership of our families and community partners, CPS students have made great strides this school year. Our goal now is to build on this momentum, and the school budgets released this week are an important first step toward continuing that progress and starting the new school year strong.


Pedro Martinez
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools

Help Us Highlight Your School
One of our goals for 2023 is to highlight more of the amazing things that are happening day-to-day in our schools, along with the people who are making them happen. There is no better source for this good news than you — the members of our school communities — so we hope you will consider sharing your stories by completing this brief form.
Help us show the world that the best are with CPS! Fill out this form so that we can share your stories in this newsletter, on our District’s blog, and across our CPS social media channels.
Photos of Tiffany Watkins and her students working in Westcott's learning garden
Take Five with Tiffany Watkins: Teacher and Wellness Champion at Westcott Elementary School
Take Five is a series that highlights some of the many CPS staff members who are going above and beyond for our schools. If you know someone who is making a difference, nominate them to be featured here.
In honor of Earth Day on April 22, 2023, we are thrilled to highlight one of the many incredible CPS educators who are passionate about nature, gardens, and sustainability education. Meet Mrs. Tiffany Watkins, a pre-k teacher and Wellness Champion at Oliver S. Westcott Elementary School
Mrs. Watkins, along with other CPS educators and community partners, will be participating in the first annual Green and Growing Summit on May 8, 2023; if you’re interested in learning more about the garden education movement in Chicago, you can register here.
What is your approach for incorporating more nature and green space into the school day?
I think it’s important to change the way we think about the outdoor spaces that are available to us. We should look at what we can do to support and enhance these spaces. Every school is different; use what you have! I love that we’re able to capture what’s special about our school and the land we have access to and create spaces that are both beautiful and functional for our students. And there are so many lessons that we can connect to nature and the outdoors!
Read more of our Q&A with Mrs. Watkins here.
Headshot of AP Martiae Jenkins-Alexander
Spotlighting Our School Leaders
Assistant Principal Appreciation Week may have come to a close, but we needed more than one week to highlight our outstanding school leaders. At Kellogg Elementary School, AP Martiae Jenkins-Alexander has made major strides in amplifying student voice and ensuring that students’ interests are reflected through her school’s programming. She wants her students to see her as someone who is fair and always willing to receive student input.
AP Ethel Barker’s 29-year career with CPS has led her to become the assistant principal of Wilma Rudolph Learning Center, a school that serves diverse learners. She sees this role as a perfect fit because special education was central to her previous roles as a classroom teacher, instructional manager, and network liaison. Now, her focus is to  ensure that her students continue making progress while having as much access to the general education curriculum as possible
And we can’t let this week conclude without congratulating Kenwood Academy High School Principal Karen Calloway on being named a Golden Apple Award finalist. She first joined Kenwood as a school counseling intern back in 1997 and has served as the school’s principal for nearly five years.
Woodson ES students competing in the Afro-Jump Competition.
A Look Around the District
Five CPS schools have been listed in the top 10 of the 30 best public high schools in Illinois for 2023. Congratulations to Payton College Prep, Northside College Prep,  Whitney Young Magnet, Jones College Prep, and Lane Tech College Prep High schools!
McCutcheon Elementary recently opened its new Little Library located on the school’s campus. Community members came together for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate students’ hard work in building and decorating the library. Congratulations, McCutcheon Mustangs! 
Five CPS Network 16 high schools recently visited the IMC Chicago Charitable Foundation’s office to present a pitch on their favorite cause addressing mental health or well-being in the Chicagoland area. Teams competed for grant prizes up to $10,000 that would be donated to their selected cause. Lindblom High School took first place while two teams from Englewood STEM High School took second and third place!
Finally, we would like to highlight Woodson Elementary’s Double Dutch team for their recent success at their first-ever competition. Four students took second place in the Speed Novice category at the Afro-Jump Competition.
Important Information for Families Receiving Medicaid Benefits
We want to let families know that the federal government will be ending the COVID-19 public health emergency this spring. During the public health emergency, families receiving Medicaid were automatically re-enrolled in the program. But now that the public health emergency is ending, families will again need to renew their Medicaid benefits starting this year. 
The State of Illinois will begin mailing out renewal forms starting in May 2023. If your family currently receives Medicaid benefits, we strongly encourage you to make sure your contact information in the state’s database is up-to-date so you can receive your renewal form.
Here are the steps you need to take now:
  • Visit abe.illinois.gov.
  • Click “Manage My Case” to log in to your account.
  • Verify and update your mailing address under “Contact Us.”
OR, you can use the Report Medicaid Change of Address Form to quickly update your address.
Updating your address will ensure that you receive your renewal information on time. After that, watch your mail for your renewal form and complete the form within 30 days. If you don’t remember your login and password, or if you are currently not receiving Medicaid benefits and think you are eligible, call the Healthy CPS Hotline at 773-553-KIDS (5437) or fill out an assistance request form and a coordinator from the CPS Office of Student Health and Wellness will be happy to assist you.
Flyer for the Reverberate arts festival
Join Us at RE*VER*BER*ATE, a Multidisciplinary Arts Festival: April 27–30, 2023
The CPS Department of Arts Education invites you to attend RE·VER·BER·ATE, our free, four-day, multidisciplinary arts festival on April 27–30. At RE·VER·BER·ATE, K–12 students can participate in free, 30–60 minute workshops led by industry professionals, including the Blue Man Group, Spotify, The Design Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, Pogi Studios, and more. Join us for workshops including Activist Button Making, Songwriting, Afro-Brazilian Martial Arts, Hip-Hop Dance, and Improv. There will also be an Open Mic hosted by Social Works Chicago. Each workshop has limited seating and requires advance registration. Learn more on our website!
CPS Schools Celebrate Earth Day 
Many CPS schools spent time this week celebrating Earth Day through a variety of District and community-sponsored events. These included educational programs through the District’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, wherein Culinary students participated in food waste reduction and composting. In addition, the Food Science program teaches students how to convert raw materials into food and discover the science behind food composition. Several schools also hosted environmental cleanup events, garden planting, and marches to celebrate this global day of action.
STAR Scholars Honored for Major Postsecondary Milestone
Nearly 1,000 students from the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), most of them graduates of CPS high schools, were honored this week as STAR Scholars who are preparing to graduate from CCC having earned their Associates Degrees. The STAR Scholarship is available to any CPS student who graduates from high school with a minimum 3.0 GPA. This scholarship covers tuition and books at CCC for up to three years, and is breaking down the financial barriers to college that so many CPS students face. Part of the Roadmap — a historic partnership between CPS and CCC — the STAR Scholarship will be awarded to 779 members of the CPS Class of 2023 pending their graduation later this spring. These students represent 108 high schools from around the city, and will be the latest group of students to embark on the seamless path to and through college that is being created by the Roadmap.
CPS seniors who were awarded the Future Engineer Scholarship from Amazon
13 CPS Seniors Awarded Future Engineer Scholarship from Amazon
We are thrilled to recognize those members of the CPS Class of 2023 who have been awarded the Future Engineer Scholarship from Amazon. In addition to granting them a $40,000 scholarship, this program gives students the opportunity to complete a paid summer internship at Amazon. Congratulations to these impressive CPS scholars!
Summer Job Opportunities through One Summer Chicago 
Chicago youth can apply for summer job opportunities through One Summer Chicago now through Friday, June 2.
  • The Summer Youth Employment Program provides employment and internship opportunities for 16 to 24 year-olds, earning $15.40 an hour.
  • The Chicagobility program helps 14 and 15 year-olds explore career pathways, participate in project-based learning and field trips, and earn a $450 stipend for the summer.
To apply for these opportunities, please visit onesummerchicago.org.
Complete the District’s Parent Survey
Each year, CPS administers the My Voice, My School Parent Survey to garner feedback from parents about the schools where their children attend as well as the District as a whole. This year’s survey is now open through Sunday, April 30, and takes about five minutes to complete. It is anonymous and available in several languages. To access the survey, please click here.
Chicago Cubs Class of 2023 Ticket Offers
The Chicago Cubs are celebrating all 2023 graduates and their families with a Special Ticket Offer. The ticket offer includes a Cubs Class of 2023 jersey with your ticket to the June 15th game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field. This offer is first-come, first-served. Claim your tickets and special merchandise here.
Attention CPS 12th-Graders: Apply Now for Teach Chicago Tomorrow!
Teach Chicago Tomorrow (TCT) is a District-run program that supports CPS graduates in earning their Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 45 years. Students start by enrolling in the City Colleges of Chicago’s SEED Scholarship program, then complete their degree at one of our partner universities (Illinois State University, Roosevelt University, or Northeastern Illinois University), or at a four-year college or university of their choice. TCT offers generous financial aid, academic and career support.
CLICK HERE to submit an interest form. Applying takes less than five minutes. For questions, email Art Dennis, Recruitment Specialist for Teach Chicago Tomorrow, at ajdennis2@cps.edu.
Chicago Park District summer jobs flyer
Summer Jobs Available Through the Chicago Park District
A variety of employment opportunities are available in the parks this summer to suit all interests, schedules and experience levels. These positions offer competitive wages, opportunities to build life-skills, flexible work schedules, and pathways to careers and full-time employment. Make friends, stay active, have fun, and make a difference by working in the parks!
Positions available for ages 16+ include Lifeguard, Recreation Leader (for Day Camp), and Junior Laborer (park maintenance). Additional positions are available for ages 18+.
Click here to learn more and apply today.
Important Dates
For more upcoming events around the District, visit cps.edu/calendar.
Pre-K Application Fairs: