May 26, 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,

Memorial Day weekend is often considered the kickoff to summer. But it is also an important opportunity to honor our country’s fallen heroes. I’m proud to say that students from 38 CPS schools that offer JROTC programming will be participating in several Memorial Day activities, including tomorrow’s wreath laying ceremony at Daley Plaza and Chicago’s annual Memorial Day Parade. 

The forecast for this weekend looks beautiful, so I know that students citywide will want to get out and enjoy the nice weather. To make sure they stay safe while they do, community-based organizations from across the city are partnering with CPS to host a variety of free events for children and families throughout the weekend. Activities will include live music, sports, games, crafts, and much more. Click here for all the details.

We are grateful to our partners — including The Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, Good Kids Mad City, Southside Together Organizing for Power, New Life Centers, Palenque LSNA, Northside Action for Justice, Rincon Family Services, One Northside, Beyond the Ball, and BUILD — for working with us to provide students with spaces where they can have fun and stay safe this holiday weekend.
Four students in front of a balloon arch reading
CPS Grads Getting a Head Start on College
This week, we joined with our partners at the City Colleges of Chicago to celebrate those students from the Class of 2023 who are getting a head start on their college education. More than 5,000 of these soon-to-be graduates earned college credit during high school through our District’s dual-credit, dual-enrollment programs. Over 600 earned 15 or more college credits, and more than 50 will actually graduate from high school having already earned their Associate Degree.
Four students in front of a backdrop reading
In total, the Class of 2023 has earned more than 39,000 college credits through their completion of City College courses, which will result in a college savings of more than 5.8 million dollars. Check out some highlights from the ceremony celebrating their success.

I am incredibly proud of our Class of 2023 graduates, not just for what they’ve achieved, but for what they’ve overcome. This was a class that spent part of their freshman year and most if not all of their sophomore year away from their classrooms. The pandemic threw them a major curve ball, but they did not let it define them or keep them from achieving their goals. They have proven that they can be resilient in the face of immense challenges, which bodes very well for their success in the future. 

Congratulations to the CPS Class of 2023! We can’t wait to see what you do next!


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.
Headshot of Armando Rodriguez
Take Five with Armando Rodriguez: Deputy Chief of College and Career Success
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 Armando Rodriguez, Deputy Chief of College and Career Success. Born in Chicago and raised in Mexico, Armando returned to the U.S. after earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Armando then took English as a Second Language classes through City Colleges of Chicago (which he now partners with in his current role) and began his career in the private sector. After realizing education was his true passion, Armando has spent the last 26 years serving CPS students as a bilingual teacher, instructional coach, principal, and now as a District leader. 

What is most fulfilling about your work? 
I love seeing our students succeed. On my first day in my current role, I had a special full-circle moment when I ran into one of my former students who graduated from high school with her associate’s degree in three and a half years. She was hired full-time at CPS after completing an internship in high school, and then I saw her on the escalator at Central Office! It was a humbling moment and a great reminder of why I do what I do. I also love visiting schools and collaborating with administrators, teachers, students, and parents.

Read more of our Q&A with Deputy Rodriguez here.
Three students smiling for a photo in the school playground
Student Spotlights
We’re so proud of our eighth-grade students who are graduating as part of the CPS Class of 2023! At Sadlowski Elementary School, soon-to-be graduates Diane, Alicia, and Valeria have been at the school since it opened when they were in second grade. They have developed a strong sense of community and belonging at the school and are sad to say goodbye. Yet, at the same time, they are also hopeful and excited about what is to come next.

Za’Kori, an eighth-grade student at Manierre Elementary School, also deserves a big congratulations! His experience at Manierre has been defined by natural ability to leave a positive impact on his classmates and teachers, as well as the leadership qualities he possesses. He is excited to continue pursuing his interest in science in high school, and his ultimate goal is to develop his own robotics company.

Cecilia and Isaac, two future graduates from Pilsen Academy, reflect on their time as leaders in their school community. As members of Pilsen’s Student Voice Committee, and other student organizations, they’ve both used their voice and Latinx roots to promote equity and positive change. Both students look forward to attending Benito Juarez Community Academy, where they will be a part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, and the Career and Technical Education Culinary Arts program respectively.

Over at Marquette Elementary School, Saharia has learned the importance of leaning on her support system and building strong relationships with her teachers. Throughout her elementary school journey, she has grown more confident and sure of herself, and now she is looking forward to pursuing her dream of cosmetology with the skills she’ll learn at Simeon Career Academy.
Photos from the Pride assembly at Chicago Academy High School
A Look Around the District
Eberhart Elementary students in the Aztec Dance after-school program recently showcased their performance at Mother’s Day and Spring Assembly events!

At Carnegie Elementary, guest speaker, Marquis J Hill, was invited to speak with students in grades 4–6. Their conversation focused on topics such as self-love, self-expression, and teacher appreciation.

Poe Elementary hosted its first annual Art Exhibition featuring more than 1, 000 pieces of art and performances from the school choir and dance team. Additionally, guests enjoyed drawing demonstrations, a wide variety of art activities, and virtual reality gallery tours.

At National Teachers Academy, students K–8 researched past and present topics on social justice, such as youth homelessness, equity, or afrofuturism. Students showcased their findings through dance, song, acting, and more at an assembly.

Finally, Chicago Academy High School hosted their second annual Pride Assembly as a way to celebrate the identities of students who identify as LGBTQIA+ and allies. The event incorporated a panel, captivating performances such as vogue, Gart (Gay Art), poetry, and presentations on historical events, ongoing struggles, and affirmations from community members.
Important Information for Families Receiving Medicaid Benefits
We want to let families know that the federal government has now ended the COVID-19 public health emergency. During the public health emergency, families receiving Medicaid were automatically re-enrolled in the program. But now that the public health emergency has ended, families will again need to renew their Medicaid benefits starting this year.

The State of Illinois will begin mailing out renewal forms beginning this month. 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
  • 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.
Reminder to Explore CPS’ Summer Programs
CPS is currently preparing for its summer programming, which runs from June 26 through August 4. Programs include:
  • 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.
  • Transition programs such as Preview to Pre-K, Kick-Off to Kindergarten, and Freshman Connection.
Details and registration information for all of these programs can be conveniently found in one place at This website will be updated as details are finalized, so please check it regularly. Families can also contact their principals to find out what programming will be available at their specific school.

Summer programs and other opportunities, including job opportunities, will also be offered through the District’s partner organizations such as One Summer Chicago,