Chicago Public Schools summer programs now open for registration

Godwin Bekee, 26, gives summer boxing instruction to students at Chicago's Brighton Park Elementary on July 20, 2023. Some groups that partner with Chicago Public Schools will begin summer programming on June 10. (Christian K. Lee / for Chalkbeat)

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Chicago Public Schools opened registration last week for the district’s summer programs, which begin as early as June 10.

The district is once again offering an “expanded” version of its summer programming this year. That means families have several options to choose from that focus on academics, enrichment, and helping students transition to new grades.

While the district’s summer programming starts June 24, some organizations that partner with the district will start programming on June 10 “to help close the gap between the end of the school year and the start of summer activities,” according to a news release from CPS.

The district will continue offering longstanding academic programs that are required for some students and optional for others. Summer Bridge Plus is required for students in second, fifth, and eighth grade who have not met requirements to move on to the next grade. That program is optional for other students whose schools encourage them to participate. For high schoolers, the Summer Credit Recovery program allows students to retake classes they have failed.

There are also a slew of other academic programs, such as one to provide extra support for newcomer immigrant students.

Enrichment programs include camps focused on career and technical education and the Community Schools Initiative Summer of Learning, which allows students to take field trips and learn about science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts, according to CPS.

Transition programs include preview and orientation programs for preschool, kindergarten, freshman year of high school, and graduates enrolled in City Colleges.

Families should contact their schools to find programs their children are eligible for, according to the CPS website.

The district has expanded its summer offerings in recent years with a chunk of its $2.8 billion in federal COVID relief money, which expires later this year. Even with a more ambitious summer vision, the district has struggled to enroll students in academic catch-up and summer orientation programs, while it saw record enrollment in school-based enrichment programs.

Separately, the district also offers free meals at specific sites to children ages 18 and younger during the summer through its LunchStop program. Families can visit the sites from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 24 to Aug. 9 to pick up free meals. Look up the site closest to you here.

Children enrolled in summer programming will receive lunch.

Reema Amin is a reporter covering Chicago Public Schools. Contact Reema at ramin@chalkbeat.org.

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