CPS Announce Opportunity Schools Expansion

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

By: Ashmar Mandou

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) on Tuesday announced the addition of ten new high schools to the CPS Opportunity Schools program for the 2019-20 school year, bringing the total number of Opportunity Schools to 62. “With equity at the forefront of the district’s vision for the future, ensuring principals have equitable access to qualified, passionate teachers is critical to continue building upon the district’s significant academic progress,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “The Opportunity Schools program is an investment in schools and teachers’ continued development by providing them with mentorship and unique professional development opportunities to lay the foundation for a successful career.”

Nearly 500 teachers have been placed in Opportunity Schools to date, and the expansion announced will ensure many more teachers are connected with the CPS schools who need their support the most. By investing in educators through an individualized matching process that provides mentorship and professional support throughout their first year of teaching, the program has been successful in increasing the retention rates for early career teachers by 19.1 percent and reducing teacher vacancy rates at the schools by 9.1 percent. “The Opportunity Schools program has empowered me and provided me with support and training so I can give the best possible educational experience to my students,” said Marlon Henriquez, a Bilingual Education Kindergarten teacher at Pilsen Academy. “The mentoring I received through the program has helped me become a valued member of the Pilsen Academy community while giving me the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of my students.”

The Opportunity Schools program was launched by the CPS Talent Office to ensure schools have equitable access to highly-qualified educators by identifying and supporting schools experiencing higher levels of vacancies and turnover than the district average. Since the program’s inception, Opportunity Schools vacancy rates have decreased from 6.6 percent in the 2016-17 school year to 6 percent at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, representing a 9.1 percent decrease. The 10 high schools joining the Opportunity Schools program for the 2019-20 school year are Air Force Academy High School; Chicago Vocational Career Academy High School; Michele Clark Magnet High School; George H. Corliss High School; Edwin G. Foreman College and Career Academy; Gage Park High School; Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy; Greater Lawndale High School for Social Justice; Kelvyn Park High School; and Multicultural Academy of Scholarship. To learn more about Teach Chicago, please visit www.cps.edu/teach.

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