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Mayor Richard M. Daley today urged Chicagoans to find ways to give additional support to the City’s public schools and students through the “Principal for a Day” program.
“We must concentrate our efforts first on education, so that we can give every child a chance to reach his or her full potential in life and produce the kind of well-educated workforce that’s necessary to compete in the global economy and bring well-paid jobs to our city,” Daley said in a news conference held at Orr Academy High School, 730 N. Pulaski Rd., to highlight the Chicago Public Schools’ annual “Principal for a Day” (PFAD) program.
Begun by the Mayor in 1998, PFAD encourages members of the civic and business communities to adopt and support individual schools by sponsoring book clubs, organizing field trips and job shadows, donating or supplying computers or other equipment or supplies to schools, building science labs or awarding college scholarships.
The Mayor annually serves as one of Orr High School’s “Principals for a Day.”
“Our public schools continue to improve as our students are making real progress year by year. It’s precisely because we want to keep that progress going that it’s more important now than ever that Chicagoans find ways to give additional support to our schools and students,” Daley said.
Over the years, the PFAD program has connected the civic and business communities with schools that have resulted in long-term partnerships.
“Principals for a Day” partner with schools throughout CPS. Suggested activities for the day include shadowing the school’s principal, addressing faculty and staff, touring the school, working in classrooms or with individual or groups of students in one’s area of expertise and speaking to a student assembly.
The CPS Department of External Affairs and Partnerships coordinates PFAD. This year, CPS has varied the format of PFAD activities to more clearly focus on developing meaningful relationships between the PFADs and schools.
PFADs are being asked to spend most of the day at their schools, as opposed to a half-day or less in the past. The annual PFAD reception will take place in mid-afternoon instead of at lunch to allow PFADs the maximum amount of time to engage with school administrators, staff and students.
“By extending the time in schools, we are placing increased emphasis on the kinds of relationship building that are at the core of Principal for a Day,” said Chicago Board of Education President Mary Richardson-Lowry.
In tandem with this year’s Principal for a Day activities, CPS is also launching a “Say Yes to CPS” campaign, where participants will make a Commitment Pledge of Support directly to their schools – whether monetary or in-kind (such as donating school supplies, sponsor field trips, mentorship, job shadows, office equipment or office furniture) – to provide supports to schools that aim to improve student outcomes.
The pledge constitutes an agreement between the PFAD and their school. Any monetary contributions are deposited directly into individual school accounts.
Some highlights of PFAD include:
- Gregory Sachs, CEO of Sachs Capital Group, will contribute up to $100,000 in stock to build a stock mark program that aims to teach basic investment skills to students at John F. Kennedy and TEAM Englewood High Schools.
- Peoples Gas is sending 19 employees to serve as Principals for a Day at various CPS schools. Most of those PFADS are alums of those CPS schools.
- Ford Motor Co. will participate in the PFAD program for the first time and is pledging substantial job shadow opportunities for CPS students.
- The Chicago Wolves hockey team, a first-time PFAD participant, will help convert the gym at Patrick Henry Elementary School to accommodate floor hockey.
“These kinds of meaningful partnerships will have longstanding benefits for our students,” said Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman. “Yet PFAD contributions come in many shapes and sizes. We are grateful to everyone who participates in this important event and for their generous engagement with our schools and students.”
To date, PFAD Commitment Pledges of Support, the key component of the District’s Say Yes to CPS campaign, total $1.5 million or more. Actual value will be realized as PFADs and their schools work together throughout the year to develop meaningful programs that reflect the support pledged.
“Everyone can make a donation of time and effort to make sure our young people have a chance to achieve their full potential in life,” Daley said.
“Get involved directly with helping a public school and stay involved. When you help a student today, you make an investment in the future prosperity of our city,” he said.
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