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CPS Wants Local Community, Faith Groups in on Mentoring

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CPS Wants Local Community, Faith Groups in on Mentoring

Ron Huberman(AP/File)

Chicago Public Schools is asking community organizations and faith groups to mentor 3,000 at-risk high school students. There’s money for it.

The district took heat from local pastors and anti-violence groups when it gave a $5 million mentoring contract to a Pennsylvania-based group earlier this school year. Now CPS wants local community groups to mentor an additional 3,000 teens who go to targeted high schools on the South and West Sides. There’s an additional $5 million up for grabs. CPS identified the students through a statistical model, and CEO Ron Huberman says they struggle with issues such as attendance.

HUBERMAN: We’re going to hire community groups to do that work; we’re going to in essence deputize them as our truancy officers.

Mentors will be expected to improve kids’ academics and behavior and try to engage their parents as well. The district will also be turning to the community for help in creating safe passages to and from high schools and a “culture of calm” within schools. Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of local civic leaders, including parents who have lost children to violence.

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