144 schools prepare to feed, care for Chicago students if there is a strike. How many other Schools basically Raise the child?
At Hyde Park’s William H. Ray Elementary School, Principal Tatia Beckwith was getting ready for Monday’s arrival of schoolchildren — strike or no strike.
Beckwith’s school, at 5631 S. Kimbark, is ready to accommodate kids with no place to go in the event the city is hit with its first Chicago Public Schools teachers strike in 25 years Monday. It is one of 144 CPS schools designated as a Children First contingency sites, where parents can bring their children for part of the day if they haven’t been able to make other alternative arrangements, Beckwith said Sunday after finishing up preparations.
Parents are being encouraged to sign up at www.cps.edu/childrenfirst or by calling 311 to find out which site is their child’s designated contingency location. No child will be turned away at the sites.
“We’ll have games, puzzles, art activities, videos,” Beckwith said of what parents and students can expect during the 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. time period the sites will be open to students weekdays. “Computer labs will be available for the bigger kids. It’s not school. There won’t be any instruction. It’s just positive activities in a safe place.”
Students also will be able to get free breakfast and lunch, she said, noting that CPS Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard informed principals as contingency plans were being put in place that 85 percent of CPS children ordinarily have breakfast and lunch at school that is supplied by the district. The goal is to make sure kids will continue to get the nutrition they need in a safe place in the event of a strike, Beckwith said as she walked the halls of her school Sunday morning.
Roughly 40 staff, including Beckwith, the assistant principals, teacher aides, security guards, teacher assistants, bus aides and kitchen staff will be on hand to care for the students at Ray school if a strike takes place, she said.
Asked how the children have been reacting to the possibility of a strike, she said, they’ve been curious. MORE