CPS Will Spend $26 Million to Hire 160 Social Workers and 94 Special Education Case Managers to Support High-Need Schools Across the City
CHICAGO – Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools today announced a $26 million investment to hire 254 new full-time, school-based positions for the 2018-19 school year to ensure students in high needs schools have equitable access to the social and emotional and special education support they need to succeed, inside and outside of school. To better support student needs, $26 million will be allocated to fund a total of 160 social worker positions to support 160 schools and 94 special education case manager positions at 78 schools. This investment will help provide students with critical resources that will support their emotional and academic well-being, and allow teachers, counselors and administrators to focus more of their time and energy on quality instruction and student supports.
“Providing comprehensive, sustained support for Chicago’s students will strengthen their connections to school and help them stay on the path to success,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “More professional support in our schools will help create not just better learning environments, but better results for students in and outside of the classroom.”
To select district schools that would benefit most from a dedicated social worker, CPS focused on high needs schools— including those educating a high number of low income students, students in temporary living situations, English Learners (ELs), and refugees— and considered data from the 2013 Chicago Economic Hardship Index to identify 60 high schools and 100 elementary schools.
“The district’s significant investment to promote equitable access to trained support staff will help ensure additional resources are directed to the city’s highest need communities so that all students can have a fair shot at a high quality education,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “We cannot allow a student’s life circumstances to determine whether or not they will access a high quality education. By providing our highest need schools with dedicated social workers and case managers, we can make a significant difference in the lives of the students who need our support the most.”
The district’s 94 additional special education case managers will work with school leaders, teachers, and support staff to create an inclusive environment and ensure that all students with diverse learning needs receive services specified in their IEPs. These positions are being allocated directly to 40 elementary schools and 38 high schools based on the number of diverse learners at the school. These dedicated case managers will be solely focused on ensuring students with IEPs are getting the support they need and deserve. At many of these schools, teachers and counselors were previously provided a stipend to cover case management responsibilities due to a lack of dedicated case managers at the school. By providing schools with dedicated case managers, staff who previously had to spend time and energy managing their case management responsibilities can instead focus on their primary instructional and student support roles.
Today’s announcement builds on the district’s three-year vision, and our commitment to fostering strong social and emotional support and improving the quality and consistency of special education services. By providing these critical positions to schools, students will have the individualized supports and services they need to lay the foundation for a successful future.
The following schools to receive a full-time social worker are as follows:
Clinton Elementary School
Mather High School
The following 40th Ward Schools will receive one or two special education case managers:
Jamieson Elementary School
Amundsen High School
Mather High School
Chicago Public Schools serves 371,000 students in 646 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.
For the list of all CPS schools affected, read the Mayor’s full press release here.