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CPS Announces Plans For New Magnet, Classical Schools

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools announced Monday a plan to transform three neighborhood schools into Magnet schools through a $15 million federal grant and open two new classical schools

The new schools are to help meet demand for rigorous elementary programming.

"Chicago Public Schools students are leading the country in academic gains, and these new STEM Magnet and classical schools will help continue to grow that record progress," Emanuel said. "Across Chicago, we are expanding quality school options, ensuring every student has access to a world-class academic experience and providing every family with a range of quality options for their children."

The three neighborhood schools selected to be transformed into Magnet STEM schools include: William H. Brown Elementary School, Claremont Academy Elementary School and Joseph Jungman Elementary School.

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool says the STEM elementary schools will focus on science, technology, engineering and math. He said while the three schools have served their communities well, the students deserve more diversity in their academic offerings.

"The path to college and a rewarding career begins at a young age, and high quality programs like the ones announced today will help our students realize their vast potential," Claypool said. "Every family in Chicago deserves accessible, high quality options, and these investments will help make that a reality for even more of our families."

Ald. Daniel Solis, who's ward includes Jungman Elementary, said he is thrilled about the plan to expand. However, he added that he wants to be sure neighborhood kids won't be shut out of the Magnet school, which will require an entrance exam and accept students from around the city.

"We're working out strategies to make sure that the people that are here, that have lived here for many years, get preference in terms of being able to access this new school," Solis said

CPS also proposed a plan to open two new classical schools -- one in Bronzeville and one on the Southwest side.

According to a CPS press release, there are five high-demand classical schools throughout the city now, but more than 1,000 students who qualified to enroll in a classical school this year did not receive an offer.

With the two new classical schools, the hope is more students in those areas will have an opportunity to receive an education.

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