Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett visited the newly renovated Jones College Prep that will nearly double the number of students admitted to this nationally-ranked high school to a total of 1,700 by 2016. The existing Jones College Prep, located one block south, will remain open next school year and helps CPS continue increasing access to high-quality school options for students throughout the city.
“From adding thousands of spaces to early education centers to offering a full day kindergarten to every CPS student to investing in high schools like Jones College Prep, we are making the investments we need from cradle to career to ensure all of our students have access to a high quality education that prepares them to succeed,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “Thanks to the hard work of our students, parents, and teachers, this past school year we had more than 65 percent of our students graduate from high school – the highest graduation rate increase in CPS history. We have more work to do, but this school year offers a clean slate for us to raise the bar even higher, and in the case of New Jones Academy turn the page to a new chapter for one of our City’s most academically distinguished institutions.”
This $115 million dollars in TIF funds to renovate Jones College Prep is part of more than the one billion of TIF dollars committed to CPS projects like this one. Of the 1.2 billion dollars in committed TIF funds for CPS, there is currently $600M in the pipeline for projects to build and improve local schools. The New Jones School is also part of TIF investments in the near South Side including the new Cermak Green Line Station, the Roosevelt Road Streetscapes and the Grant Park expansion, the Women’s Park Fieldhouse Renovation, and the Chinatown Branch library.
“For 75 years Jones College Prep has prepared generations of Chicago’s students for academic and professional success,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett. “Jones’ students go on to achieve extraordinary things in college and their careers, and they give back to their communities in countless ways. By expanding high quality selective enrollment seats available at Jones beginning this year, by 2016 the school will be able to serve 1,700 students grades 9-12. I look forward to the accomplishments of a new generation of Jones students. I have no doubt that they will continue to amaze us with their academic achievements and professional and personal successes.”
Last year, Jones College Prep had the ability to serve 900 students through selective enrollment. This new plan expands that capacity over the next four years to a total of 1,700 students, ensuring a smooth transition for students and teachers and increasing the access to selective enrollment schools for children and families across the city.
This past school year, CPS received nearly 18,000 applications for approximately 3,000 selective enrollment seats throughout the district. Jones received approximately 11,000 applications for SY 13 for just 250 incoming freshman selective enrollment seats next fall. By expanding this school, Jones will now be able to fill an additional 125 selective enrollment seats for SY 13 and create an additional 500 selective enrollment seats school wide by SY 2016.
Beginning this school year, Jones College Prep will also offer two CTE programs that provide students with focused coursework in pre-engineering and pre-law. Over the next four years a total of 300 seats dedicated to these programs will be added.
The expansion of Jones College Prep is an additional step Mayor Emanuel and CEO Byrd-Bennett are taking to ensure that families have access to high-quality education options for their children throughout the city. Some of these investments include 5,000 additional seats in early education centers, a full day of school for all students starting in kindergarten, and more access to rigorous courses such as IB or STEM that are aligned with the job market to prepare our students for the 21st economy. Last school year was CPS’s highest year for graduation rates and for college scholarships awarded.