Providing Interscholastic Athletic, Artistic, And Academic Activities To Underserved Alternative Education Students
The Chicago Area Alternative Education League (CAAEL) seeks to eliminate the athletic-and-activity gap facing at-risk/special education students who have been removed from mainstream schools for severe behavioral and emotional issues. Extracurricular activities encourage peer interaction, promote cooperation, build student-adult relationships and help strengthen the student-school connection. Students who participate in these activities achieve higher grade point averages, miss fewer days of school, and are more likely to graduate. Yet students sent to alternative schools due to behavioral and emotional issues – the very students who need these activities the most – lose access to these vital programs. CAAEL fills this gap for these challenging and often forgotten students, while providing educators a powerful set of tools to instill hope and change lives. Each year, CAAEL offers more than 1,000 school activities (athletic games, art events, spelling bees, academic bowls, etc.) to more than 5,000 students from 30 Illinois counties.