Save the OS 4 summer program for students at Gale Math and Science Academy and other Chicago schools

  • by: jim ginderske
  • recipient: Chicago Board of Education and Mayor Emanuel

Gale Math and Science Academy in Rogers Park led its entire network of 28 schools in test score improvement last year. Despite this, it summer education program is now in jeopardy.

Recently the school earned a spot in the federally- funded OS4 program, which provides support and resources for teachers and students. OS4 includes voluntary intensive summer programs taught by the student’s teachers, faces they already know and who understand their educational needs. This year, almost 100 Gale students have committed to build their academic skills in a safe environment. 

The program runs four days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and provides breakfast and lunch to the students. It is a tremendous asset to the Rogers Park community.

Incredibly, Chicago Public Schools representatives are now saying the OS4 summer program might be cancelled, despite the fact that no valid reason exists for doing so.  

CPS leadership is reluctant to serve these children because of the State budget crisis in Springfield. However, funding for OS4 ultimately comes from the federal government. While the budget mess in Springfield is real and destructive, OS4 summer programing—and these kids—need not be directly impacted by it. 

It’s not just Gale—35 other OS4 schools may lose their summer programs as well. That would mean up to 4000 children will spend the summer locked out of their schools, on streets that saw over 300 shootings just in the month of May. 

Just last week a person was shot across the street from Gale as kids were at recess on the adjacent playground, and Chicago Police now plan to surround the playground each day so the kids can finish the year with a recess period, a sad coda to an otherwise successful year at Gale, but a strong indicator that safe places for children are valuable assets to this community. 

We urge the Chicago Board of Education and Mayor Emanuel to take whatever steps are needed to ensure the OS4 summer program happens this year!

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