CPS officials plan to expand summer programs

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Chicago Public Schools officials unveiled at Wednesday’s school board meeting expansive plans to get more students doing something productive over the summer.

Chicago Public Schools officials unveiled at Wednesday’s school board meeting expansive plans to get more students doing something productive over the summer. 
Called UpGrade, the plan aims to bring more students into classrooms, libraries and other places of learning over the summer months.
 “We want summer to become a space and time for students and teachers to innovate,” said Paige Ponder, an official in the CPS Office of Student Support and Engagement, at the meeting.
The district is projected to have a $700 million budget shortfall. District officials would not say how much UpGrade will cost or how the district will pay for the entire program, though at least part of the program’s funding will come from federal stimulus money. 
UpGrade will involve a spectrum of activities ranging from smaller, specialized programs like the Chicago Summer Debate Institute to district-wide initiatives like Freshman Connection, in which all rising 9th graders will have the opportunity to take classes with their soon-to-be teachers. They also will pair up with older mentors to ease the transition to high school.  
Summer Upgrade will try to stave off the “summer slide,” in which students regress academically, with programs like the K-2 Summer of Reading.  Teachers will be encouraged to use the summer classes as a space to experiment with new teaching methods, said Ponder.
The Board also passed all of the school consolidations recommended by CPS officials. They are:  the consolidation of Andersen Elementary into LaSalle II, Avondale into Logandale, Carpenter into Talcott, Schneider into Jahn and the four small schools at the Bowen campus into New Millenium High School.