Success in Career and Life

Success in Career and Life

From financial education to career training and college scholarships, we’re building programs that make sure every CPS student graduates with a plan for their future.

“We need to change how we think about what it means to be a high school graduate. A diploma alone isn’t enough anymore.”

Dr. Janice Jackson, Chief Executive Officer for Chicago Public Schools.

Learn. Plan. Succeed.

Graduating high school is a landmark achievement for students, and we’re making sure it’s not their last. The “Learn. Plan. Succeed.” program is designed to prepare every CPS student for success after high school. The first of its kind in the country, the program requires that all students, provide proof of their plans for continued growth after high school, whether through college, the military, a job or apprenticeship, or a gap-year program. Through “Learn. Plan. Succeed.,” CPS is helping students look beyond graduation toward fruitful careers and fulfilling lives.

Financial Education

Financial literacy is one of the most important tools we can give our students. Students who do not receive a financial education are less likely in adulthood to have checking accounts, savings, and retirement funds, and they are more likely to accrue debt and fall victim to predatory lending. By equipping our students with a foundational education in finances, we provide them the knowledge and confidence to make the right choices when faced with life-changing financial decisions as adults.

In 2012, Chicago was the first city in the country to be named a “model city” for financial education. CPS’s financial education course has been offered in more than 75 high schools across the city, serving nearly 15,000 students since 2014. Those students have shown to be more likely to have checking accounts, savings, low debt, and a retirement fund after graduating.

Discover and CME Group Foundation have supported CPS’s financial education initiative since it was first introduced. We are grateful to them and the many other generous organizations who continue to support the initiative, including the Council for Economic Education, the UIC Center for Economic Education, Ariel, the Chicago Treasurer’s Office, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Junior Achievement Chicago, and Fifth Third Bank. Thank you!

Civic Engagement

It’s our goal that all CPS students become engaged and passionate members of their communities. Students who participate in civic learning programs are more likely to vote, volunteer, and work with community groups. They also show improvements in skills like writing, public speaking, and debate. We’re using those programs to help shape the next generation of civic leaders.

The CPS Participate Civics course is currently offered by 87 teachers at 52 CPS schools, and Student Voices Committees have expanded to 75 high schools and 35 middle schools across the district. Those programs, among others, prepare students with the knowledge and skills to become effective leaders in their communities.

The following organizations have been invaluable partners in bringing our civic engagement programs to life: the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, UChicago, the Black Youth Project, the Constitutional Rights Foundation, Facing History and Ourselves, Mikva Challenge, Chicago Votes, Boeing Charitable Giving, the Spencer Foundation, and the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) at the University of California, Riverside. Thank you!

Civics SpotlightCalumet Is My Back Yard (CIMBY)

Our students in the Calumet region live in a rich and unique ecosystem, but many of them don’t have a way to regularly engage with the outdoors. The CIMBY program offers environmental stewardship experiences for CPS students in Calumet, providing a fun and educational way for students to get outside and learn about their local environment. Through place-based, hands-on field experiences, students can connect with their science education in a more personal and meaningful way, seeing firsthand how what they learn in the classroom affects their neighborhoods.

CIMBY currently serves more than 800 high school students, who have contributed more than 5,000 volunteer hours to restoring and protecting the natural areas of the bi-state Calumet region.

The CIMBY program is supported by the following partners: the Dunes Learning Center, the Field Museum, Prince Charitable Trusts, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Forest Preserves of Cook County, and Chicago Park District. Thank you!

CS4All

Today’s workforce requires a new set of skills, and CPS is making sure all of our students graduate with the tools to succeed. In 2016, CPS became the largest school district to implement a Computer Science (CS) graduation requirement. This ambitious initiative equips every high school student with the foundational CS skills they need to keep all doors open to them in an increasingly digital world.

Since 2016, approximately 75 percent of CPS schools have implemented one or more CS classes. 47 percent of students in the class of 2020 and 65 percent of students in the class of 2021 have completed or are currently enrolled in an approved CS course.

The CS4All initiative is supported by the following partners: the CME Group Foundation, Google.org Charitable Giving Fund of Tides Foundation, The Learning Partnership, DePaul University, Loyola University, UChicago, IIT, Robert Morris, UIC, UMass Boston; Exploring Computer Science (ECS), Project GUTS, Bootstrap, CS Principals, Code.org, Microsoft, IL Technology Foundation, NCWIT, and STARS Alliance. Thank you!

CS4All

Today’s workforce requires a new set of skills, and CPS is making sure all of our students graduate with the tools to succeed. In 2016, CPS became the largest school district to implement a Computer Science (CS) graduation requirement. This ambitious initiative equips every high school student with the foundational CS skills they need to keep all doors open to them in an increasingly digital world.

Since 2016, approximately 75 percent of CPS schools have implemented one or more CS classes. 47 percent of students in the class of 2020 and 65 percent of students in the class of 2021 have completed or are currently enrolled in an approved CS course.

The CS4All initiative is supported by the following partners: the CME Group Foundation, Google, The Learning Partnership, DePaul University, Loyola University, UChicago, IIT, Robert Morris, UIC, UMass Boston; Exploring Computer Science (ECS), Project GUTS, Bootstrap, CS Principals, Code.org, Microsoft, IL Technology Foundation, NCWIT, and STARS Alliance. Thank you!

“Our economy is rapidly shifting, and both educators and business leaders are increasingly recognizing the computer science (CS) a ‘new basic’ skill necessary for economic opportunity and social mobility.”

White House Blog (Smith, 2016)

Early College Credit

College may seem far away, but CPS students can start earning college credits before they graduate high school. Advanced Placement (AP) courses, International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, and Dual-Credit or Dual-Enrollment classes allow CPS students to earn college credits for free while engaging with advanced course materials.

In 2017 and 2018, CPS was named College Board AP District of the Year. Not only is CPS the largest school district to ever receive the honor, it is also the first district to earn the title two years in a row. In the 2017/2018 school year, 43.4 percent of graduating seniors earned early college and career credentials, and in 2018/2019, CPS is on track to hit 50 percent.

We are grateful to the City Colleges of Chicago and Equal Opportunity Schools for being invaluable partners in this initiative.

“Everytime we raise the bar for Chicago’s students, they succeed and exceed our greatest expectations. We have a responsibility to set our students up for continued success so that high school is a milestone and not a destination. These efforts are a natural outgrowth of years of successful and record-breaking academic progress and will help to ensure that students have the tools they need to succeed after high school.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Early College STEM Schools

CPS’s Early College STEM Schools provide students with the skills to create, build and engineer in the 21st century. By 2019, Illinois will offer a total of 319,820 STEM jobs, up from 266,900 in 2008. 93 percent of those jobs will require postsecondary education and training.

At Early College STEM Schools, college partners provide a rigorous education in science, technology, engineering, and math, and professional partners like Microsoft and Cisco Systems provide job shadowing, internships, and site visits to show students how their in-class education are applied outside of school.

CPS currently operates eight Early College STEM Schools. Each offers work-based experiential learning, access to labs and maker’s spaces, and early college credit, all designed to prepare CPS students for lucrative STEM careers.

Early College STEM School partners include City Colleges of Chicago, Salesforce, DePaul University, Motorola Solutions Foundation, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Verizon, Rush University Medical Center, Creating IT Futures Foundation, and Lumity. Thank you!

Career and Technical Education (CTE)

CPS is preparing students for careers in high-growth industries through Career and Technical Education programs. CTE programs use both classroom and field experiences to introduce students to one of the following 12 industries:

  • Agriculture & Horticulture
  • Business
  • Construction & Architecture
  • Culinary & Hospitality
  • Education & Training
  • Health Science
  • Information Technology
  • Media & Communication Arts
  • Law & Public Safety
  • Manufacturing & Pre-Engineering
  • Personal Care Services
  • Transportation

CTE’s work-based learning opportunities allow students to get a head-start on their careers, applying their in-class education in professional settings through job-shadowing, site visits, and paid summer internships. With those experiences, students can earn industry-recognized certifications while developing applicable skills and positive work habits.

CTE industry partners include, Fifth Third Bank, Advocate Trinity Hospital, Lurie Children’s Hospital,  Boys & Girls Club, Chicago Commons, Chicago Park District, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Yacht Club, Cook County Treasurer, Elevate Energy, Gerber Collision and Glass, Globetrotters Engineering Corporation, HMPRG, Illinois College of Optometry, Illinois Restaurant Association, Little People Day Care and Kindergarten, Mercy Hospital, Mount Sinai Health System, Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, Pearl’s Place Restaurant, Presence Saint Francis Hospital, Presence Saint Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, Rush University Medical Center, South Shore Hospital, SodexoMAGIC, Aramark, JPMorgan Chase, Michael Reese Health Trust, PepsiCo and Peoples Gas. Thank you!

“CTE allows us to provide very unique programming that students can’t get anywhere else.”

Peter Auffant, Principal of Mather High School, which offers a pre-law CTE program

CTE Spotlight: Chicago Builds

Until 2016, if a student wanted to learn a trade, they had to attend a specialized trade school, often far away from their neighborhood. That changed when labor unions, construction firms, and various other construction-industry partners joined CPS to launch Chicago Builds, a school-based trade program that offers two years of training in the fundamentals of construction. Through Chicago Builds, students gain access to internships, specialized career-pathway courses, entrance-exam prep for apprenticeships, industry-recognized certifications, and a post-secondary plan for career success.

Chicago Builds partners include McCormick Place, Peoples Gas, General Construction Firms, Regional Council of Carpenters, IBEW Local 134, IUOE Local 150, Laborers’ District Council, Pipefitters’ Local 597 and CISCO. Thank you!

“CPS is committed to strengthening our high schools citywide with programming that will prepare our students for the careers of the future. Our students have gained so much from work with teachers, the community, and representatives from the trades to infuse our schools with new curricula that will prepare them for the 21st-century workforce.”

Dr. Janice Jackson, Chief Education Officer for Chicago Public Schools

CTE Spotlight: Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences

The only school of its kind in the Midwest, the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences offers early college education in agricultural sciences and business for urban students. Students can choose from pathways including Animal Science, Horticulture, Food Science and Technology, Agricultural Mechanics and Technology, Agricultural Finance and Economics, and Biotechnology in Agriculture.

The Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences is supported and guided by the Agricultural Council, whose 75 members represent local businesses, community organizations, politicians, colleges, and universities, all of whom have a vested interest in protecting and promoting the Greater Chicago Area’s food and agriculture groups.

CHSAS’s industry partners include Archer Daniels, CNH International, Eli’s Cheesecake, Cook County Farm Bureau, 19th Ward, and University of Illinois. Thank you!

Scholarships

CPS is dedicated to preparing every student for success in college, but many families are unprepared for the costs, and that can put college out of reach for many low-income students. Scholarships help offset those costs and make college possible for students from all income levels.

CPS students have been earning more scholarship dollars every year. In 2018, seniors earned more than $1.3 billion in scholarship offers. That’s $90 million more than in 2016. In 2010, the college enrollment rate of CPS students was 53.7 percent. Today, we’ve reached a new record of 64.6 percent enrollment. That’s a more than 10-percent improvement in less than a decade.

College enrollment among CPS students is on the rise, but so is the cost of tuition, and persistent income-based gaps in enrollment must be addressed. No student should be denied a college education solely because they can’t afford it.

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