By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
After a flurry of calls and letters from Ray Elementary School parents, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is adding another Preschool for All classroom next school year at Ray, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., which will allow more neighborhood children to attend.
CPS recently changed the criteria for admission to its Preschool for All program. Parents can no longer apply directly to the school of their choice. They have to apply online and are assigned a school by CPS from a list of their top choices. Also, there is no preference given to families who live in the district or have children already attending their school of choice.
Parents whose children were assigned to schools in different neighborhoods brought their concern to the local school council (LSC) meeting at Ray on June 13. Then, after the community preliminary budget discussion on June 19, Ray Principal Toni Hill announced that she received a call stating that another Preschool For All class would be added next school year that will give special consideration to families who live in the district or already have one child attending Ray.
Hill said she is currently working with CPS to find space and secure resources for the additional classroom.
“We don’t want this classroom to be different or short change the children in any way,” Hill said. “This new class must be comparable to what our kids are already getting.”
The CPS Department of Early Childhood Education is currently combing its list of applicants to find Ray families to fill slots in the new classroom. If 40 families are found, Ray will get the additional classroom. Hill said she doesn’t want to leave it to chance, so she and the LSC are reaching out to families in the neighborhood and hoping the families come forward despite previously being denied admission.
Families interested in signing their children up should call Ray school before June 30.