One Conversion, One Closure

Before I forget, the Board announced that it was converting one school (like with Sherman) and closing another, as in the past.  LeMoyne is the closing, Harvard is the  turnaround.  Both need to be approved.  See the CPS press clip for more details.  More to come.   

From CPS:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

March 30, 2007

Duncan Proposes
New Turnaround Model for Harvard Elementary

LeMoyne Elementary
recommended for closure

      Chicago
Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan and Chief Education
Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins today proposed new strategies for two
elementary schools designed to improve the performance of students and
the district as a whole.

      The
proposals for Harvard Elementary, at 7525 S. Harvard, and LeMoyne Elementary,
at 851 W. Waveland, are subject to the approval of the Chicago Board
of Education following public hearings for each school. 

      District
officials have recommended that Harvard Elementary undergo what has
become known as the "turnaround model," aimed at improving academic
performance at the school. The proposal calls for students at Harvard
to stay at the school and for a proven, Chicago not-for-profit organization,
the Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL), to lead the transition
of the school and staff it with high-quality teachers.

      "The
turnaround model is a great option for boosting school performance,''
Duncan said. "Students and their families experience virtually no
disruption to their lives, yet they get the benefit of a new, highly
skilled team of experts, trained to step in and help struggling schools."

      This
strategy is similar to one successfully executed last year at Sherman
elementary, at 1000 W. 52nd St. Under the pilot turnaround
model at that school, students came back from their summer vacations
last fall to the same building, but the school—now the Sherman School
of Excellence--had been transformed into a completely new learning environment.
Sherman had been turned around by AUSL, which had recruited and trained
top teachers from across the country. Those teachers were all certified,
and 30 percent of them were either Nationally Board Certified or Golden
Apple winners.

      "We
have been very pleased with the rebirth taking place at Sherman,"
Eason-Watkins said. "Now, Harvard students, too, will finally have
a school structure that gives them the best chance to succeed."

--more—

  LeMoyne Elementary, a severely
under-populated school, currently with 63 students across seven grades,
now shares a building with Inter-American Magnet School and has been
recommended for closure due to under-enrollment.

      In
2005, the Chicago Board of Education voted to begin a grade-structure
change at LeMoyne, which resulted in the school no longer accepting
pre-school or kindergarten students, but which allowed enrolled students
to remain at the school.  Over the last two school years, parents have
actively sought alternative school choices for their children, which
resulted in a huge drop in LeMoyne
's enrollment. This year, 13
of the 63 students currently at LeMoyne are scheduled to graduate.

      Among
the remaining students, those residing within LeMoyne's attendance
area and north of Addison would have the opportunity to attend Greeley
Elementary, 832 W. Sheridan, under the new proposal. Students residing
within LeMoyne's attendance area and south of Addison would have the
opportunity to attend Nettelhorst Elementary, 3252 N. Broadway, under
the proposal.

      The
Office of Specialized Services would work with parents to offer LeMoyne
students with disabilities appropriate school options if the proposal
receives board approval.

      "These
strategies are part of our ongoing commitment to turn around our most
troubled schools,'' Duncan said. "We'll continue to do everything
we can do to help schools that consistently under perform from year
to year, because the students in those schools deserve better. It's
a major part of our commitment to providing a quality education to every
child in every school in the city."

      The
Human Resources department will assist teachers at both Harvard and
LeMoyne with applying for new positions within the school system.

      The
Chicago Public Schools is the nation's third-largest school system.
It includes more than 600 schools and serves about 415,000 students.

—30—

Filed under: 125 S. Clark Street

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