CPS Extends Safe Passage Program to 140 New Schools
Lee Edwards | 7/1/2015, 2:09 p.m.
The Chicago Board of Education (CBOE) approved the expansion of its student safety initiative, Safe Passage, to a record high 140 schools beginning this fall.
The CBOE will issue Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) in an effort to contract out to 22 community organizations whose qualified members would be hired as additional Safe Passage staff.
According to CPS Chief Safety and Security Officer Jadine Chou, the RFP’s will to be evaluated by independent firms hired by CPS
Launched in 2009, Safe Passage hires community residents to safeguard the walking routes for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students traveling to and from school.
Chou recommended expanding the Safe Passage program including the hiring of an additional 1,300 community members.
“Safe Passage workers build relationships with students and communities bringing them all together to help identify mutual conflicts that separate the community so that we can all feel safe,” said Chou. “We've heard over and over and over again that because we are hiring in the community residents now they feel that they have a stake in [safe passageways so] that when they go home and on the weekend they are constantly checking in on our children."
The Safe Passage program will be extended to seven additional CPS schools this year.
“These workers play a critical role to ensure students get to and from school safely,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Safe passage is about more than just building a route to school; it is about building a route to college, career and beyond, so that once our kids get to school, they get the world-class education they deserve.”
The Safe Passage increased student attendance, and contributed to a CPS District attendance record of 93.2 percent last school year, according to the CBOE and CPS.
“The safety and security of our students is our top priority,” said Jesse Ruiz, Acting CEO of CPS. “Through collaboration with community groups the Safe Passage Program supports students by being an extra set of eyes and ears to proactively identify and report safety risks.”
CPS will announce the new schools to be included in the Safe Passage program this summer.
In an effort to receive feedback and input on the best walking routes for students, CPS will hold parent meetings for all schools enrolled in the Safe Passage program.
Chicago Public Schools serves 396,000 students in 664 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.
To learn more about Safe Passage visit http://cps.edu/Programs/wellness/SafetyandSecurity/SafePassage/Pages/Safepassage.aspx.
To learn more about the Chicago Board of Education visit http://www.cpsboe.org/home.