The CPS Full School Day is in its second year, and the means a second year for Play with Potential at Urban Initiatives. Conceived in the first year of mandated recess for all grades, Play with Potential began serving four schools with 2,900 total students. After a great rookie year, the word got out, and Urban Initiatives now is serving 15 schools and more than 11,500 kids! While many of these schools have previous partnerships with Urban Initiatives through the Work to Play program, three schools are brand new partners.
Urban Initiatives has expanded not only in number but also geographically. Two of our new schools, John Palmer Elementary and George W. Curtis Elementary, are on the far sides of Chicago. In the far northwest, Palmer features striking ethnic diversity and a very crowded school with an original building, an annex, and mobile classrooms housing over 900 students. Curtis, at the south edge of Roseland, offers the same architectural style, but a different environment that includes welcoming students from the newly closed Songhai Academy nearby.
Last but not least, Cyrus McCormick in Little Village has its own identity, just the second K-5 school in the Play with Potential network. McCormick, like several other schools in the Urban Initiatives network, is piloting the 30-20-10 health education and physical activity intitative of the CPS Office of Student Health and Wellness and their new program, LearnWell. This program seeks to provide students with the full hour of physical activity recommended for them per day, all during school! Luckily, McCormick has the help of Coach Casey at recess to make sure that all the students are safe and physically active for the 20 minutes of recess.
Urban Initiatives also added 3 new schools for the Work to Play program: Beidler Elementary in Garfield Park, Ward Elementary in Armour Square, and Fulton Elementary in New City. We are so excited about our new partners, meeting the challenges of unique school environments, and helping a new group of students discover the joy of sports, physical activity, and healthy living. Thanks to our partners new and old for prioritizing the health of their students. We can’t wait to have another great year with all of you!