Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced Monday that it will use one of its high schools as a welcome center for illegal immigrants to receive assistance and behavioral care.
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and CPS officials unveiled a new enrollment center within its Roberto Clemente Community Academy, a city high school, which will be used to help migrant families enroll their children in school, test their English proficiency, provide free meals and conduct trauma assessments, according to a press conference. The center, which is part of a pilot program, is estimated to cost the school district about $750,000. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Children’s Hospital Agreed To Pay Employee To Give ‘Drag Performance’ To School Kids)
“We’re going to stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, and we’re going to bring people closer together to make sure that the families who have been here have the full force of government and families who wish to call Chicago their home also have the full force of government,” Johnson said at the press conference.
Migrant children who come to the welcome center will be enrolled in high schools and middle schools within the district, according to the press conference. CPS plans to replicate the migrant welcome center in schools across the city if the pilot program at its Roberto Clemente Community Academy is a success.
The welcome center will set migrant families up with a social worker who will connect them with medical and dental services, as well as Medicaid, according to the press conference.
The Chicago Teachers Union previously criticized CPS for not assisting migrants looking to enroll in the school system, though other leaders argued that the district didn’t have enough resources to handle the incoming students, according to Chalkbeat Chicago.
“I want to be clear, this is not a shelter,” Pedro Martinez, CPS CEO, said at the press conference. “It is a place families in this region of the city can come and get involved and get connected to services.”
WATCH LIVE: Mayor Johnson is joined by Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez and other city and community leaders to announce the opening of a pilot Welcome Center for newly arriving families.
— CPS – Chicago Public Schools (@ChiPubSchools) July 17, 2023
Within CPS, 55 schools did not have a single student proficient in math or reading through the 2021-2022 school year. Of the 930 schools within Illinois, just 10% of students are meeting math grade-level expectations.
CPS did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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