Another Charter Slot For Youth Connections?

CPS is proposing another school to the Board tomorrow -- I'm not sure if this is the one that got pulled last month when 18 of 19 got approved, or whether it's a new new one. This one for dropout and homeless youth is affiliated with Youth Connections and Community Services West, which already operates the Academy of Scholastic Achievement in the West Garfield neighborhood and the Community Christian Alternative Academy in North Lawndale. The proposers are Gladys B. Simpson and Myra Sampson. I'm not sure why Youth Connections needs another charter, since (I thought) they were already grandfathered to open campuses regardless of the cap. Does anyone know the inside scoop? Community Services West Proposes New Ren 10 School for At-Risk Students

Career academy would serve dropouts, homeless and foster students

The Chicago Board of Education will consider the Renaissance 2010 proposal of Community Services West Career Academy on Wednesday at the board's regular monthly meeting.

If approved, the group, Community Services West, would open a new school at 1239 S. Pulaski, in the North Lawndale community, in the fall of 2008. The new contract school would serve students in grades 11 and 12 who are considered at-risk of not completing their education, including homeless students and foster children, ages 16 to 21, as well as students who have dropped out of school or do not have a strong family support system.

Community Services West, which already operates two schools in Chicago, plans to offer an integrated curriculum focusing on culinary arts, technology, business and life/social skills courses at the career academy. Students also would have the chance to earn college credit and certification in food service management and business management.

"Renaissance 2010 is about providing learning environments for all of our students,'' said Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan, who will present the proposal to the board. "This school will have all the social supports needed to help us keep our at-risk students on track for graduation. What's more, these students will have acquired some great skills so that they can go on to good careers immediately upon receiving their high school diploma."

Community Services West already operates the Academy of Scholastic Achievement in the West Garfield neighborhood and the Community Christian Alternative Academy in North Lawndale. Both schools are part of the Youth Connections Charter Schools network, which also holds a charter authorized by CPS to help keep at-risk students in school.

The proposal was submitted by Gladys B. Simpson and Myra Sampson. Simpson is the founder and chief administrator at the Academy of Scholastic Achievement. Sampson is the founder, executive director and principal of Community Christian Alternative Academy.

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This past summer, Chicago Public Schools received 38 new school proposals submitted by teachers, community leaders, and local and national educators through the Renaissance 2010 Request for Proposals process. Parents, educators, elected officials, local and national experts were involved in an extensive review process before community leaders and CPS staff chose 19 proposals to submit to the board for approval.

Mayor Daley began Renaissance 2010 three years ago to create 100 new schools by 2010, to replace low-performing schools with new educational options in underserved communities and to relieve school overcrowding in communities experiencing rapid growth.

Under Renaissance 2010, 18 new schools opened this fall, 15 new schools opened last fall, and 22 new schools opened in the fall of 2005, for a total of 55 schools. Also, three additional schools opened at Dodge, Williams and Terrell in 2003 and 2004 under the original pilot program that preceded the June 2004 start of Renaissance 2010.

The Chicago Public Schools is the nation's third-largest school system. It includes more than 600 schools and about 409,000 students.

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