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In Chicago, lifeline schools brace for strike


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Christina Adame lights up when she talks of how Kleros stopped her on the street to tell her how well her 11-year-old son performed on a standardized test.

"The principal said that to me," she said, still sounding amazed.

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Single mother Danielle Hernandez moved here in March so her son could get help with ADHD and Tourette’s syndrome, things that weren’t available at his school in the western suburbs.

"He’s getting speech therapy and it’s helping him a lot; his grades are getting better," said Hernandez, a waitress whose two younger children attend Perez’s Head Start program. "A teacher called yesterday. They’re good people."

If there is a strike, Kleros said the school would be open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every school day so children still could eat breakfast and lunch and participate in activities. After that, library and park district buildings will be open — all part of a $25 million school district strike contingency plan.

Even students, in Pilsen and in other Chicago neighborhoods where gangs and drugs have long been problems, recognize that less time in school means more time for trouble to find them. Fifth-grader David Quach said as much last week while playing basketball.

"For kids, it (school) gets you out of the street," he said.




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