Chicago International Charter School Celebrates School Quality Improvements

Last week, Chicago Public Schools released school performance results – School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) – from the 2015-2016 school year. CICS has a lot to celebrate and more work to do. We are proud to announce our third consecutive year of improvement across the network, with six of our campuses rated in the top two performance categories of SQRP. These achievements are the results of the talented and committed teachers, leaders, and operators working tirelessly for our students.

CICS Irving Park Sets My Daughter Up For Success

My name is Kathy Zerega. I am a lifelong resident of Chicago and today I live in the city with my husband and our daughter, Sophia. Sophia just finished 2nd grade at CICS Irving Park and is so excited to start 3rd grade in the fall!

Closing All CICS Schools: March 16 through March 30

March 13, 2020

Dear CICS Families, 

We have appreciated your support, feedback and patience over the last two weeks as we have worked together to navigate the uncertainty and disruption caused by COVID-19. In alignment with Governor Pritzker’s mandate to close all Illinois schools and under the guidance of public health officials, CICS will close all of our schools beginning on March 16 through at least March 30, with the possibility of a longer closure, depending on the circumstances at the end of the month. 

Please know that this is not a decision that we have taken lightly, but one that we have made to put the health and well-being of our students, families, staff and communities at the forefront. We understand that the next two weeks, and possibly longer, will be difficult and, in partnership with Distinctive Schools, Civitas Education Partners and ReGeneration Schools, CICS plans to support our students and families in every way that we can. We recognize the incredible burden this puts on our families, and that, while it helps us mitigate the spread of the virus, it creates other significant challenges. Thank you for understanding that this decision was made to support the well-being of our community. 

CICS and our SMO partners are committed to supporting our students’ continued learning throughout the closure. On Monday, school leadership teams and office staff will be at each CICS campus to distribute virtual learning materials to families that did not receive them on Friday. Individual campuses will communicate instructions for the distribution of these materials to their families no later than Sunday at noon. We are actively working with CPS and our food service provider to determine the method for the distribution of meals for our students throughout the closure. Where possible, we sent students home today with breakfast items for Monday morning in case of a potential closure. We are also working with CPS to create a list of community supports for child care, as we know this closure creates a burden on our families. We will follow up no later than the end of day on Monday with more information about these resources. 

Throughout the closure, we will communicate with our parents and guardians via email on a weekly basis, or more frequently as needed and we will share updates via the CICS website, www.chicagointl.org

For the most reliable and up-to-date information, please visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the CDPH Coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You may also reach out to the CICS COVID-19 Response Team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or CICS Main Office by phone at 312-651-5000.  

Please know that our CICS team is here to provide resources and support to you and your child throughout this challenging situation. During times like these, we commit to coming together to take care of every member of the CICS community.

Warmly, 

Elizabeth

 

Elizabeth Shaw

CEO 

Chicago International Charter School

 

Closing All CICS Schools: March 16 through March 30_pdf

Closing All CICS Schools: March 16 through March 30_Spanish_pdf

Educator: Kevin Kreller

What is your role at your school?

I am a Mentor Teacher at CICS Irving Park. I teach three sections of 8th-grade History, co-teach a section of Algebra, and I help coach teachers.

Family Update: CICS Response to COVID-19

March 13, 2020

Dear CICS Families: 

I want to thank each of you for your attention to the developing situation regarding COVID-19, or coronavirus, in Chicago and nationally. As of now, we are not aware of any confirmed cases of or concerning exposure to COVID-19 at any of our campuses. I want to assure you that CICS is closely monitoring the situation and working with CPS and local public health officials to offer guidance to our staff, students and families. As always, the health and safety of our students and teammates are our highest priorities.  

Over the last week, CICS has put together a COVID-19 Response Team to stay up-to-date on the latest local developments and recommendations from CPS, the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, as well as to field questions from our staff and families and develop and communicate guidance as CICS responds to the evolving COVID-19 situation. While it is our hope that our schools will remain open and operating on their regular schedules in the weeks and months ahead, we are also working on contingency plans for remote learning and for access to the school food program in the event of a prolonged closure. Please complete this two-minute survey so that we can properly prepare for support should we need to close one or more campuses. 

We’re also taking reasonable precautions to limit the exposure to and prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our schools and the surrounding communities. While we are still permitting local travel within the Chicago city limits, we have made the difficult decision to cancel or postpone all staff and student non-local domestic and international travel on behalf of CICS from now through April 10, 2020, the last day of Spring Break. This includes CICS-sponsored and coordinated student spring break trips and college tours. We recognize how disappointing this decision may be, especially for trips that our students have been anticipating for some time, but this month-long pause will allow us to focus on limiting potential exposure and managing risks, while we monitor the latest developments. 

We will also be canceling or postponing student gatherings and events outside of the regular school day. After-school programs will continue at our campuses as scheduled. Cancelled or postponed events may include concerts, parent events and dances, and your school director will follow up with more details about plans for scheduled events. 

Please remember to continue practicing reasonable precautionary measuresto keep yourself healthy and prevent the spread of the virus, which include regularly disinfecting frequently touched objects, frequently washing your hands, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and staying home if you are feeling ill or exhibiting symptoms such as fever, coughing and/or shortness of breath. If you are known to have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, or if you have any other concerns of exposure in general or at the campus, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and your school director immediately. 

For the most reliable and up-to-date information, please visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the CDPH Coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You may also reach out to the CICS’ COVID-19 response team line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or CICS Main Office by phone at 312-651-5000.  

While the current situation is concerning, there is quite a bit that we can do to limit exposure to and prevent the spread of the virus. I assure you that our team is continuing to follow the latest developments and we will continue to update our families as the situation evolves. Thank you for your continued trust in CICS and for allowing us to continue to be a resource for you and your family. 

 

Warmly, 

Elizabeth Shaw

CEO 

Chicago International Charter Schools

 

FAMILY UPDATE: CICS RESPONSE TO COVID-19

Meal Pickup to Continue During the Summer at Several CICS Sites

Dear CICS families,

We are excited to share that meal pickup will be available during this year’s summer break. Meal distribution will continue until Friday, June 12 at all CICS elementary schools from 11am-1pm (Monday/Wednesday/Friday).

Starting Monday, June 15, meal pickup will only be available on the same days and times at the CICS Basil, Irving Park, Lloyd Bond, Loomis, Prairie, Washington Park, West Belden and Wrightwood campuses.

(NOTE: Avalon and Bucktown families, or those who cannot access their usual elementary school, are encouraged to visit the closest CICS school or find other nearby summer meal sites by texting FOOD or COMIDA to 877877 or visit summerfeedingillinois.org. If you need further assistance finding summer meals, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

____________________

[Spanish Translation]

Estimados Familias de CICS, 

Nos complace compartir que podrá recoger las comidas para su hijo/a después del final del año escolar y durante todo el verano. Hasta el viernes 12 de junio, la recolección de comidas continuará en todas las escuelas primarias de CICS de 11am-1pm los lunes / miércoles / viernes.

A partir del lunes 15 de junio, las comidas estarán disponible en el mismo horario de 11am-1pm de lunes/miércoles/viernes solo en las escuelas de CICS Basil, Irving Park, Lloyd Bond, Loomis, Prairie, Washington Park, West Belden y Wrightwood.

(NOTA: Las familias de Avalon y Bucktown podran ir a cualquier escuela de CICS más cercana. Para encontrar otros sitios de comidas para el verano, envíe un mensaje de texto con FOOD o COMIDA al 877877 o visite summerfeedingillinois.org. Si necesita ayuda o tiene algun otra pregunta, contacte a This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Schools

Parent: Christy Schmidt – CICS Irving Park

My husband and I were looking for the best option for our two children. Our neighborhood has great elementary schools, but we wanted options, a choice. We know of a few other families at CICS-IP and how much they loved it.  So we started thinking our children should attend CICS-IP. We liked all the possibilities – at the time, it sounded like students here are being prepared for high school. After touring the Irving Park campus and understanding their personalized learning curriculum, we decided this was the best option for us and our children.

Parent: Erin Fox - CICS Irving Park

We were looking for a school that offered differentiated learning of some sort. We originally enrolled in a Catholic school since the Chicago Public School lotteries were unsuccessful for us. A week before CICS-IP started its school year, we received a call that a spot was open. After a few calls and some investigation, we decided to send our daughter to CICS-IP because of the differentiated learning program.

Parent: Johanna Fricano – CICS Irving Park

For us, our decision came during our child’s second year at CICS-Irving Park. For kindergarten, CICS-IP was logistically the best option for us. The campus was on my way to work and provided a reasonably priced aftercare option. My husband and I felt good about the school when we both went to an open house, so we thought why not try it and apply the following year. We ended up loving the school and had found our home at CICS-IP! 

School closure extended through April 20

Dear CICS families, 

 Minutes ago, Mayor Lightfoot announced that all CPS schools will remain closed through April 20. Given the necessity of this action to protect the health and well-being of our students, families and communities, CICS will follow suit. Please note that our previously scheduled Spring Break from April 6 through April 10 will continue as planned and we will not provide teacher-directed instruction during that week. We will follow up with more details and guidance as we learn more, but please know that we are committed to supporting our students throughout this extended closure.

These are unprecedented times and I urge you to please stay informed and take care of yourselves, as we will all be in this for what feels like a very long haul. 

Take care, 

Elizabeth

__________________

[Spanish Translation]

Asunto:  Cierre de la escuela extendido hasta el 20 de abril.

Estimadas familias de CICS:

Hace solo unos minutos, el alcalde Lightfoot anuncio que todas las escuelas de CPS permanecerán cerradas hasta el 20 de abril. Dada la necesidad de esta acción para proteger la salud y el bienestar de nuestros estudiantes, familias y comunidades, CICS hará lo mismo. Tenga en cuenta que nuestras vacaciones de primavera programadas previamente del 6 al 10 de abril continuarán según lo planeado y no proporcionaremos instrucción durante esa semana. Seguiremos con más detalles y orientación a medida que aprendamos más, pero tenga en cuenta que estamos comprometidos a apoyar a nuestros estudiantes durante este cierre prolongado.

Estos son tiempos sin precedentes y les insto a que se mantengan informados y se cuiden, ya que todos estaremos en esto por lo que parece ser un viaje muy largo.

Cuídanse, 

Elizabeth

Voices Blog: Brandy Holton - CICS Irving Park

I’m a huge advocate of children having fun and feeling confident while learning! I love hands-on and highly engaging learning activities being taught in the classroom--this teaching style is what makes being a middle school science teacher exciting. As an educator, I’ve often wondered how to meaningfully incorporate these crucial components into my daily lesson plans.

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