CPS Summer Bridge Program Thrives at Fiske Elementary School
Lee Edwards | 7/8/2015, 12:19 p.m.
Chicago Public School’s (CPS) Summer Bridge program this year is housed at Fiske Elementary School, 6020 S. Langley Ave.
Fiske Principal Cynthia Miller merged her vision of using technology as a key educational tool and “very strategic” budgeting to produce two full computer labs at Fiske. One lab is equipped with 34 new Apple desktop computers while the other is decked out with 32 new PC computers and several Apple iPads.
Fiske’s Summer Bridge site provides over 300 students with daily access to computers and iPads.
According to the Summer Bridge website, the program consists of intensive instruction in reading and mathematics while utilizing an online curriculum designed for students in grades 3, 6, and 8 who do not meet the minimum elementary promotion criteria per Board Policy 13-1023-RS1. At the conclusion of the five-week program, evaluation criteria are applied and successful students are promoted.
CPS students in grades 3, 6, and 8 are evaluated based on their academic performance, attendance, District Wide Assessment (DWA) scores and District Wide Writing Assessment (DWWA) scores. Specific requirements are:
• Students in the benchmark grades have Achievement Level 1 status when their DWA reading and mathematics scores are both at or above the 24th National Percentile Ranking.
• Final report card grade in reading “C” or better for the academic year.
• Final report card grade in mathematics “C” or better for the academic year.
• No more than nine (9) unexcused absences.
• Academic Performance in writing (applicable to eighth grade students only).
• Final report card grade in writing “C” or better for the academic year or passing score on the DWWA.
“The reason why I have the technology in the school is to get the technology into the hands of the children. There’s no way we can prepare these children for the 21st Century unless we are using current technology,” said Miller.
Marlene Simmons, a teacher at Fiske, explained that the Summer Bridge program is divided between teacher led instruction and specific online lessons for students with a 1:14 teacher/student ratio.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel visited Fiske for a field visit and called it a “fabulous” school and praised the dedication of the instructors, administrative staff and students there.
“College is now the expectation here at Fiske, high school graduation is not the expectation,” said Emanuel. “We’re setting our sights for the kids in the City of Chicago which college must be the goal that they have educationally and I can’t compliment enough the entire staff here for what they are doing. It’s essential that what we do going forward is respect the work that’s happening here, helping our kids advance to the next grade with the academic foundation to continue to move on.”
CPS Interim CEO Jesse Ruiz, who joined Emanuel on the visit to Fiske, views summer school as an extension of the regular school year.
“It’s obviously helping stem summer learning loss in actuality so it’s wonderful to keep our students engaged and building on what they’ve done during the regular academic year,” said Ruiz.
To learn more about CPS’s Summer Bridge program visit http://cps.edu/Programs/Academic_and_enrichment/Summer_school/Pages/SummerBridge.aspx.