April 28, 2023

A Note From CPS Leadership

Click here to view this letter in Spanish, Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Filipino, Polish, Ukrainian, Urdu, or Vietnamese.
Dear CPS Colleagues, Families, and Supporters,

School will dismiss for the summer in six short weeks, and we know how excited our students are about their break from classes. I want our kids to have a great time this summer, but we all know how important it is that they have activities that will keep them curious, engaged, and above all, safe.
Along with our partners around the city, CPS is providing exciting summer opportunities for children from Pre-k through high school graduation. Here is just a glimpse of what our District has to offer:
  • Academic programs for students who need additional support
  • Enrichment opportunities for students who want to go above and beyond academically, including our Summer of Algebra program that prepares students to take more advanced Math courses in high school
  • Athletic programs for children who are passionate about sports, and enrichment activities in other exciting areas like the arts and STEM
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) camps that will give students in Grades 6 - 9 the chance to complete hands-on career-focused projects and learn from industry professionals

CPS will also offer specialized programs to give students entering transitional grades a head start on beginning the new school year strong: 
  • 253 schools (47 more than last summer) will offer Preview to Pre-k and/or Kickoff to Kindergarten programs to help our youngest learners get familiar with the daily routines of the classroom.
  • And 81 high schools will offer Freshmen Connection to support up to 6,000 students who are preparing to enter 9th-grade.
Summer programs being offered by CPS will run from June 26 - August 4. Details and registration information for all of these programs can be conveniently found in one place at cps.edu/summerprograms. Families can also contact their principals to find out what programming will be available at their specific school.

Other camps, activities, and job opportunities are available this summer through several of our city partners. Families can learn more about these options by following the links below:
I strongly believe that their participation in summer programming last year contributed significantly to our successful year of academic recovery. I also believe that staying engaged with school activities during the summer helps strengthen the connection that children have with their schools, meaning that they will return to their classrooms with excitement in the fall.

I urge all CPS families to explore the many summer opportunities that are available for students, and I thank you for your partnership as we work to finish this 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.

Some ideas to consider:
  • Teacher Appreciation Week AND Nurse’s Appreciation Week are both coming up during the week of May 8. Tell us about a teacher or school nurse who you think deserves special recognition!

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.
Photo of Theresa Dorsey
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
Meet Ms. Theresa Dorsey, a seventh and eighth grade English Language Arts (ELA) teacher at Asa Philip Randolph Elementary School. Ms. Dorsey has taught in the Englewood neighborhood for the past eight years, and she says that she knew she wanted to be a teacher since she was a child herself. 

This year, Ms. Dorsey became the ELA team lead at Randolph, so her time is currently split between teaching in the classroom and serving as an instructional coach, which she describes as being an interesting and rewarding new challenge in her career. In her work, Ms. Dorsey focuses on incorporating restorative practices in her classroom, giving students ownership over their learning, and preparing her students for the greater level of independence they are about to experience in high school.

How do you incorporate restorative practices in your classroom?
Building strong relationships with students and creating a positive classroom culture is a huge part of restorative practices — it’s important to have transparent and vulnerable conversations in the classroom, because they help students feel comfortable and safe coming to me if they need support. I definitely like to incorporate community building circles, calm classroom strategies, and morning check-ins. I always want to reinforce with my students that they are members of a community, and we work together to make goals and set expectations for the classroom. 

Are there any specific lessons that you love teaching?
I’m really big on encouraging students to have a voice in the classroom, so I love teaching anything that fosters discussion. A Philosophical Chairs lesson, Campfire reading discussions, or really anything that doesn’t have a yes or no answer is really useful in helping students think deeply, express themselves, and share their experiences and understanding of the class novels we read.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
My relationships with my students. It’s really powerful to know that what we’re doing today is going to impact the future.

What do you like to do outside of work?
I spend a lot of time with my eight-year-old son, who is also a CPS student. We love to have adventures together— explore and travel all over the city. We also love to try new recipes.

What is something people might not know about you?
My major in college was bilingual education, so I studied abroad in Ecuador and Mexico. I really wanted to be totally immersed in the Spanish language and culture before I started teaching. Then I lived abroad and taught in Honduras for a whole year. I’m also learning how to do a cartwheel!
Headshot of Lizette Arroyo
Offering Gratitude to our School Clerks and Administrative Professionals
Earlier this week, our District celebrated both School Clerk and Administrative Professionals Appreciation Day. This was an opportunity to offer well-deserved gratitude to those employees whose knowledge goes a long way toward supporting our educators and District leaders, and whose work ethic helps our schools and offices run smoothly. 

Throughout the week, we highlighted outstanding clerks like Ms. Lizette Arroyo from Lane Tech College Prep and Ms. Tiara Collum from South Shore International College Prep. We hope that these professionals enjoyed their day and felt genuinely appreciated by their CPS family! 
Schmid ES students and Real Men Read Volunteers
A Look Around the District
Check out these highlights from across the District!

Schmid Elementary recently hosted a literacy event called “Real Men Read” to foster a love for reading among its scholars. Participants from the community visited the school to read to students and take part in a brief Q&A session to build community. 

At another literacy event, a group of CPS student athletes, known as “Buddy’s Helpers,” participated in the Rush to Read incentive at Dulles Elementary. The program hopes to encourage reading at home and at school, with the idea that participating athletes are “competitors on the field, and teammates in the game of life.” 

Marine Leadership Academy recently hosted their College and Career Day, hosting over 60 representatives from corporate companies, the non-profit sector, colleges, trades, and the military. Student were able to explore many post-secondary pathways from people living and working in a diverse range of fields within the city. 

And at Peirce Elementary, the school community came together for the Celebracion de Arte, an event showcasing student-made art. Guests enjoyed a wide variety of activities, including art displays, live student performances, an Artisan Craft Market, and other activities. 
District Names New Chief Talent Officer
CPS has named Ben Felton, a former educator and longtime member of the Central Office Team, as the District’s new Chief Talent Officer. Ben began his career as a 3rd-grade teacher on Chicago’s south side before moving to the District’s TAlent Office.In his various leadership roles across this team, Ben was instrumental in launching the Teach Chicago Initiative, which is the District’s strategy for recruiting, retaining, and developing a diverse, high-quality workforce to serve the students of Chicago.
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.
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 Roadmap Panel
U.S. Department of Education Applauds Chicago Roadmap
Amy Loyd, the U.S. Department of Education’s  Assistant Secretary of Career, Technical and Adult Education, visited Chicago with her team to participate in a panel discussion on the Chicago Roadmap. This panel also included several 12th-graders from Goode STEM Academy who will be graduating this year with both a high school diploma and an Associate Degree thanks to systems put in place by the Roadmap. Here’s what one of those students had to say about the experience: