June 18, 2021

A Note From CPS Leadership

Dear CPS Colleagues, Families, and Supporters, 

Next week will mark the end of a truly unprecedented school year. The challenges were immense, but what we will remember most is how our school communities persevered. Our educators and families stepped up in huge ways for their students, and our young people did a masterful job adapting to new expectations and evolving learning environments. We have always been proud to lead your school district, and that was never more true than during this past year. Thank you for all you did to make the most of this year; we will always be grateful for your partnership and commitment. 

As we emerge from the pandemic, our focus must be on healing. CPS took an important step in that direction this week with the launch of Moving Forward Together — a new initiative that will invest more than $525 million in the resources and supports our school communities need to accelerate learning and provide students with the social and emotional skills needed to heal from this past year. Each school will have the flexibility to decide how to best utilize these additional resources, and funds will be distributed using a holistic School Investment Index to ensure that students who need more will get more. 

This plan will allow CPS to begin managing the challenges left behind by the pandemic while planning for a successful new school year. Leading this effort will be Dr. José M. Torres, who will begin serving as the district’s Interim CEO on July 1, 2021. Dr. Torres will remain in this role as the search for the district’s next CEO continues. 

A veteran educator with decades of leadership experience, Dr. Torres served as a Regional Superintendent for CPS between 2006 and 2008. He previously served as President of the Illinois Math and Science Academy and as Superintendent of the Elgin School District (U-46). Dr. Torres has also held several leadership positions in other school districts around the country and has been recognized nationally for his achievements and leadership in educational equity.

We are also pleased to announce that Dr. Maurice Swinney, our current Chief Equity Officer, will now be serving as the district’s Interim Chief Education Officer.  And Lindy McGuire, who previously served as Deputy Chief Operating Officer, is our new Interim Chief Operating Officer. With these excellent, experienced leaders in place, we know our district will continue on its positive trajectory.  

We appreciate your support during this time of transition and feel confident that our district is heading into a productive summer that will be the foundation for a strong start to the 2021-22 school year.


Sincerely,

Janice K. Jackson, EdD          LaTanya D. McDade, EdD
Chief Executive Officer          Chief Education Officer
Chicago Public Schools          Chicago Public Schools

Around the District

Virtual Academy to Serve Eligible Students in Fall 2021
The vast majority of CPS students will return to school five days a week this fall. However, we anticipate that a small percentage of children will need to continue learning remotely due to verified medical needs. To ensure these students receive the high-quality education they deserve, CPS is launching a Virtual Academy to provide a central model of instruction. 

To be eligible for the Virtual Academy, students must meet specific medical criteria that is documented by a healthcare provider.

The window to enroll in the CPS Virtual Academy is June 18 - July 23. Families whose children meet the medical criteria for the Virtual Academy can provide the COVID-19 Health Eligibility Form to a licensed medical provider, who must submit the form via virtualenrollment@cps.edu, or fax it to (773) 553-6563, Attn: Virtual Enrollment.
All applications will be approved through the Office of Student Health & Wellness. 
Reflecting on Juneteenth
Tomorrow is Juneteenth - the day each year when we reflect on and celebrate the emancipation of Black slaves in this country. Earlier this week, the City of Chicago, State of Illinois, and federal government all took the significant step of declaring Juneteenth a holiday. This was an important moment of recognition, and a reminder that we must all do our part to advance equity and combat racism in all of its forms. Beginning next year, CPS too plans to recognize Juneteenth as a district holiday. For additional information and resources to support discussions with your children, please see the resource packet curated by our Department of Social Science and Civic Engagement.  
Final Chance to Complete the Fall 2021 Survey
The deadline to complete the Fall 2021 Survey is today — Friday, June 18. We are eager to welcome students back to school five days a week next fall and need feedback from our families to help shape what the new school year will look like. Please make your voice heard by completing both of these anonymous surveys today.
Child Tax Credit Awareness Day
Monday, June 21 is Child Tax Credit Awareness Day! Eligible families can receive up to $3,600 per child, per year through the American Rescue Plan. This includes families who have not yet or are not required to file their taxes. Learn more at ChildTaxCredit.gov
Rediscover Summer with My CHI. My Future.
As Chicago begins moving past the pandemic, connecting and uplifting our youth will be more important than ever. My CHI. My Future. is the perfect place for students to reconnect to opportunities and Rediscover Summer. The MCMF website provides access to thousands of engaging programs, events, and resources being held both in-person and virtually. Youth and families can search for these programs using a map, keyword, or interest area. The My CHI. My Future. website is updated daily with new quality opportunities, and is the perfect place for our youth to reconnect and rediscover their passions. 
Reminder: Registration Now Open for CPS Summer Sports Camps

We are excited to announce the launch of the CPS 2021 Summer Sports Skills Camps! This is a no-cost opportunity for elementary and high school students to have fun with friends while developing their athletic skills. These CPS-sponsored camps will run from June 28 through August 6 at 17 sites around the city, including schools and parks. To ensure a safe and fun experience for all, the camps will adhere to all health and safety protocols established by the ‘Summer Contact Days’ Guidelines

The deadline to register for camps is Wednesday, June 23. For all sports other than wrestling, follow this registration link. Students interested in the wrestling skills camp being hosted by Beat the Streets can register here.

Note: The registration process will ask families to “Complete Payment”. There is no cost for the district’s sports skills camps, but this link must be clicked to complete registration. 

Please reach out  to the Office of Sports Administration at sportsad@cps.edu with any questions or concerns.

A Look Inside Our Schools


The end of the school year is almost here, and we’re continuing to celebrate incredible 2021 graduates like Jessica French, a senior at Farragut Career Academy who is headed to Malcolm X College to pursue a degree in nursing.

Even though Jessica’s senior year wasn’t always easy, she continued to push herself academically and even participated in a dual credit African American Studies class. She believes one of the most important things her time at Farragut has taught her has been to reach out for help when she needs it. 

Graduating seniors David and Kamoy both believe their time at Harper High School has helped them start to forge a path toward a successful career. David flourished in the school’s culinary arts classes—part of Harper’s career and technical education program—and is now headed to the U.S. Army to work as a food service specialist. Kamoy is keeping his academic momentum going (he’s Harper’s valedictorian this year!) by enrolling at the Dawson Technical Institute. 

Across the city, our eighth-grade students are also preparing for new adventures in the fall, which often means leaving behind teachers and staff who they have grown extremely close to. At Mahalia Jackson Elementary School, eighth-grader Sadie has known her counselor, Ms. Ross, since kindergarten, and the two of them have developed an amazing friendship. Sadie believes that mentors like Ms. Ross are a big reason she felt comfortable stepping outside her comfort zone and trying new things. She hopes to become a family nurse practitioner one day because of her love of helping others. 

Important Dates

  • June 18: Deadline for Responses to Fall 2021 Survey
  • June 19: Juneteenth
  • June 22: End of Quarter 4
  • June 23: June Board of Education meeting
  • July 5: CPS schools and offices closed in observance of Independence Day
View the parent and student guide for the 2021-2022 School Year with additional important dates and deadlines!

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