Closing Keller To Help Mt. Greenwood

A number of folks have let me know that there's talk about closing Keller in order to deal with overcrowding at Mt. Greenwood, and an informational meeting later this week.  What's the rationale, and does it make any sense?  How is this fair to Keller kids and families? Has CPS done this before? Is the overcrowding all that bad at Mt. Greenwood?

ScreenHunter_23 Jan. 25 19.20.gif

As background, I'm told that last year CPS tried to move a TMH class out of Mt.
Greenwood School and did move an autism classroom.  The Beverly/Mt
Greenwood area has seen tremendous overcrowding due to many families
pulling their kids from Catholic schools. 

Read below for an unconfirmed letter, and let us know what you know.  I obviously know nothing, but am sure that one or several of you know all about it. 
Good Afternoon Keller Parents,

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this communication to you
this afternoon.  Keller has always been not only a strong community of
learners but a family.  We have fun together, eat together, celebrate
together and most importantly learn together.  The time has come in
which Keller must face adversity together. 

In an effort to handle this
situation in a calm atmosphere as a family, while protecting our
children, the Keller Local School Council distributed a letter
requesting the presence of Keller parents to an informational meeting
to provide important information about our school.  To remove the
anxiety and unrest of the unknown, I am informing you today that there
is currently a proposal to relocate Keller school at the conclusion of
the 2010-2011 school year.

Please remember that as the instructional
leader of Keller School, I must focus my energy on providing a
nurturing, safe environment conducive to teaching and learning for our
students.  Despite this situation, our children must still be able to
come to the Keller environment in which they have become accustomed to.

As you know, I am a tenacious advocate for our students, therefore,
this leaves me in a complex situation.  I implore all parents to
maintain a level head and work together in a calm manner as there is no
easy way to address this issue.  I am sure that because of the family
oriented nature of our learning community the Council would prefer to
come before you in a closed intimate setting open to Keller parents
only.  However, at this time this will not be possible for I fear that
it may not turn out to be the private setting that was originally
intended and could result in a chaotic situation for our school
environment.   Instead, I encourage all parents to attend an open
public meeting facilitated by CPS officials for all Keller parents on
Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 6:00p.m.- location to be announced.

This has been the most difficult communication that I have ever written
to our school community.  I hope you all know how much I truly love our
children, school and all of my parents.  I will continue to lead our
school with every ounce of my mind, body and spirit.  This is a
difficult time for us all but together we will get through it.

Comments

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  • As stated before--fine if the students of Mt. Greenwood get to go to Keller--why should MG and Cassal be overcrowded? Again, Vanderpoole School could pull in students to help with the overcrowding or house the gifted program, but it has been busy for years only accepting AA students. the alderman is correcxt in looking to support the community here in the 19th Ward--the majority should benefit, not the small one at Keller. Keller MUST take students from the area--it is only fair.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Keller does take numerous students from the area.

  • In reply to rbrannigan:

    Good! and they will be able to stay when they share the Kellar building with the rest of the students who deserve a space NOT in an overcrowded school and should be able to walk to school in their Mt. Greenwood neighborhood.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Why is it that Keller has to just give seats in the school to Mt. Greenwood students. I bet if all of the children take the test to get into Keller more than 1/3 of them will.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Something that no one has really spoken of is th feelings of Keller students. how do you think they will feel if the school they have grown up in is moved to a place wher thy need a bullet proof vest to be safe. How do you think the principle of Keller feels to have her school taken from her. No one is considering feelings and thats why the world is such a cruel place now.

  • In reply to rbrannigan:

    Here's the links to the two schools I mentioned http://schoolreports.cps.edu/SchoolSegmentReports_2010/24771-ORIOLEPARKSCHOO.pdf http://schoolreports.cps.edu/SchoolSegmentReports_2010/23051-CHRISTIANEBINGE.pdf
    Combined total of nearly 300K in deseg funds!!

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    A bit of advise to the folks at Keller.....The time to fight is already passed. Take a look at the things that happened to Edison Regional Gifted some of which is very well documented right here on this site. Don't try to fight CPS on not following their own policies, they don't matter http://policy.cps.k12.il.us/documents/401.22.pdf .Don't try to fight on legal grounds, they have an in house legal department bigger than the departments for special ed needs and when they hold your public meeting for relocation they will bring in an "independent counsel" that gets major $$$ from CPS and hire even more outside council from top firms in the city to fight the US aaty office.
    The alderperson wants the move and its a done deal. Just hope she gets something better than a senior center in return like the one Doherty got.

    Just to set the facts straight, while Rufus, Arnie and Dr. Death Pickens were running up the charge cards at those Gold Coast eateries they were putting into action the move of Edison Gifted out of an 80 plus % white neighborhood 6.85 miles away.
    The thing that really boggles my mind though, is how the two schools ,that are also 80% white and in the same neighborhood, are still getting desegregation funding in their budgets two years after a minority student has set foot in their neighborhood?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Over 50% of Keller students are from the 19th Ward. The larger issue is not Keller vs. Mt. Greenwood, nor has it ever been; angry and irrational individuals have lost sight of the main problem. Because so many people in our neighborhood have attended private and Catholic schools, CPS has been able to get away with giving the 19th ward the short end of the stick while schools in other wards and neighborhoods have been improved and expanded with additional schools built. In fact, the Chicago Public Schools even sold some property at 103 and Hamlin to St. Xavier's because it was extra and unneeded. Now that there is overcrowding, CPS needs to do right by the entire 19th ward and improve and expand Cassell and Mount Greenwood to meet the growing number of students, as well as keep Keller which does provide education to a student body composed of between 1/2 and 2/3 19th ward residents.

  • passing along an impassioned email:

    Ginger Rugai is killing Keller Regional Gifted Center to get re-elected by Mt. Greenwood residents

    You would think that having the top scoring school in the state in your ward would be a great big plus for Ginger Rugai, wouldn't you?

    Although a regional center, Keller draws 51% of its students from the 19th ward. Along with other facilities like the Barbara Vick Preschool, these top facilities let her boast that she can offer residents the full gamut of CPS educational services.

    But politics in Chicago is strange.

    Keller, the top school in the state turns out to be in Ginger Rugai's way for re-election. She will be running again for alderman of the 19th ward. Her strongest base is Mt. Greenwood residents, who have complained that she takes their support for granted. Their public schools -- Mt. Greenwood and Cassell have been overcrowded for a long time and they never have received portable classrooms or annexes like the Beverly schools have. The economic downturn has put parochial tuition out of reach of many in the trades, and now Mt. Greenwood school is packed.

    Keller has a small school with 240 seats. Rugai and Cps admit that an annex and portable classrooms would be sufficient to relieve overcrowding at Mt. Greenwood and Cassell. Yet she is determined to evict Keller from its home of decades -- in the event there may be future overcrowding.

    Does it make sense to evict diverse, talented kids -- over half of whom come from the 19th ward -- on the supposition that there will in the future be overcrowding?

    This is completely unlike anything CPS did under Arne Duncan.

    The moves of Edison Regional Gifted last year to Albany Park was a distance of about 5 miles.The move of Lenart Regional Gifted in 2001-02 to 81st and LaSalle was 6 miles. But CPS will shove Keller many miles away into a high crime neighborhood -- Parkman Elementary at 51st and Wells.

    Quite simply, it will kill the school.

    51 st Wells Jose Alvarez says" your little letter writing campaign is not going to change anything it is a done deal". This means CPS has eliminated your voice. Although it has not been voted on you Keller Parents and students have been EVICTED. What you say and how you feel means nothing. Mayor Richard Daley is the only person who can save you! This is bigger than Rugai, Joyce, Lipinski, Durbin and Huberman. Daley is the only one who can stop this. The meeting on Thursday says "PROPOSED RELOCATION" that is Bull****. According to Jose Alvarez this is the new Keller Location. We need every media channel that exist to be at Thursday's Meeting to see why we are being Evicted. What are you going to do Keller Parents??? Are we going to not be heard? Are we going to let our children be treated this way? Let's get the ball rolling! We tried to play fair now lets get dirty!
    We need to be at Mayor Daley's Office with Channel 2,5,7,9,26,and 32.
    tomorrow.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    it has been clarified that Mr. Alvarez DID NOT make the statement regarding Keller being relocated to 51st and Wells.
    All parents involved want what is best for our children and hopefully we can all remain level headed and come to an acceptable solution to all parties involved.

  • In reply to shakespeare:

    He DID make it - he admited it in a public forum so thank you. But we all do want the best for all the kids all across this area and city and world really.

  • In reply to shakespeare:

    As a 19th Ward resident with two children in overcrowded Cassell school, I can tell you I fully support the Keller Gifted Parents, Teachers, Staff and Community and their attempts to keep the gifted program in its current location. To Keller Parents --Please do not be disheartened by the vocal FEW who are unable to see that we are all trying to support our children and are simply asking CPS to build more classrooms -- mobile units to immediately deal with the overcrowding in the short term and another elementary school and another high school within the next 5 years within the 19th Ward. CPS should be bringing more gifted programs and specialized services to our community as we are paying taxes for schools for our children with special needs, typically-functioning students and gifted students. They are ALL our children and we need to be able to keep them in our neighborhood -- by neighborhood, I mean the 19th Ward. CPS needs to step up and invest the cash to accomodate the schools as they currently are structured.

  • In reply to SpecialEdMom:

    Thank you! We really appreciate the support and reasonable, rational statements from individuals such as yourself!! Trust me, when a push is made to reduce the overcrowding, you will get overwhelming support from the Keller parents, students, and alum.

  • In reply to shakespeare:

    Dear specialedmom: The 19th ward should have a NEW high school? You have 2 now! Morgan Pk--which white people in the ward do not want to go to and the Ag school--yes, apply, but if your darlings can get into catholic school, they should be able to score high enough to get into Ag. And Ag has a great special ed pogram. This entitlement to having, for the 19ward, a new high school is rediculous and not fair to ANY taxpyr--esp homeowners. Why can't Keller share? You really want mobiles? Have you been in them? They are cold in the winter, hot in mild warm weather and they smell. The students are isolated from the building and have to run back and forth for gym, music, lunch, etc. Keller can share!
    It is only fair that they do.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    You keep saying the same thing, 'why cant Keller share'. Why cant you develope a higher level vocabulary. Maybe you should ask a Keller student for one of their vocabulary books and then try again to get you point across.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Dear Speaking the Truth: Your words and your mouth are the very proof for anyone in Mt. Greenwood or in general society to show how arrogant and self-centered you are. "The difference between Keller parents and some other parents is that Keller parents are willing to put everything they have into their childs [sic] education." Now this is only 1 quote from the many tirades you have made above. The gifted-as-disability issue you lose on for two reasons: 1. (real) disabled children go to school in CPS with their regular educated peers every day. Why can't gifted students do the same? 2. By separating gifted students for eight/nine years, they do not learn the social skills needed to get along with their 'lower' peers. 'Lower' peers are therefore never exposed to the gifted, do not understand their 'disability' and never learn how to get along with them out in the real world. Even your 4th grade gifted student would recognize this dichotomy. (Is that better vocabulary for you?) You imply that Mt. Greenwood parents with children who could be tested as gifted don't send their children to Keller. Why do you think they choose not to? Becasue they are ignorant, or do they prefer their public or catholic school? Many siblings go to Mt. Greenwood and Cassel, only to see that 'special' sibling get to attend Keller. How do you think both siblings feel? You are ranting and I feel for all children and students in Mt. Greenwood. You are surely proof that your lack of exposure to 'normal' children and the general members of society have caused you to be isolated and abhorrent.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I see how keeping Keller in its current location results in a non-solution to overcrowding problems for Mt. Greenwood. (Anyone that thinks mobile units are a solution should go spend a week following a student or teacher at a school that is forced to use them. You will quickly reconsider.) But how does moving Keller and keeping it intact cause problems for Keller students?

    Will Keller parents decide to send their 'gifted' children to a different gifted school if Keller is relocated? (Really?) Do they not want to travel further to get to a different building? (I presume a new location would be closer to some families, too.) How might a sharing situation interfere with the needs of Keller students?

    I haven't heard or read any compelling arguments from Keller people for why a relocation, presuming it is nearby, would be so disastrous. (And no, I don't think elementary students getting shot at a highly selective school is a legitimate concern. Let's have at least a little bit of perspective.)

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Dear District299 Reader: "Self centered". You call me self centered because I said "The difference between some Keller parents and some other parents is that Keller parents are willing to put their mind body and soul into their child's education." well its true. Any kid has the ability to be gifted. Some may have to work harder than others, but all can achieve it. The difference between a gifted student and a 'normal' is one or both of the following; 1) The student works hard towards sucess, 2) The parents enforce upon their child the value of sucess. In the way you used tirade you probally mean a prolonged bitter outburst, but in the way that will be more accurate is a long vehement speech.
    "(real disabled children)" that its self is truly ignorant. I'm guessing that you didnt look in a pysicology book before you wrote that. Being gifted along with any other learning disability, is real. Being gifted is a disability because, although we are of high intellidence we have special needs (look it up).
    Then you say why can't gifted students go to school with their 'regular' peers. Well, if they are on a higher level of education why shouldn't they be taught on that higher level. Because they wont develope the social skills to get along with their 'lower' peers. The ability to get along with a person is simply character. "Lower peers won't understand their disabilty". The disability is not at all noticable. Its a learning disability. A gifted 4th grader would see that there is no real difference in the social skills.
    Usually when one child is gifted, its sibling is also, unless one is putting more effort and cares more than the other. This is so because of, like I said before, the morals that the parent enforces upon the child. If the case is that one sibbling is tested as gifted and the other is not, than why hender one child from his or her full potential, because the other has not reached that level yet. "You are surely proof that your lack of exposure to 'normal' children and the general members of society have caused you to be isolated and abhorrent." I find this statement repugnant, or offensive. YOU are surely proof that your lack of exposure to gifted children have caused you to be isolated and abhorrent.

  • In reply to Speakingthetruth:

    you will be at the head when the cattle cars are lined up to fill with other than gifted kids. You will be pontificating the whole time. Your reasons 1-2 above are sickening and an insult to every parent in Mt. Greenwood as well as every parent in Chicago. Your gifted children (if you really have any) will run from you as soon as they can if they are smart enough to!

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I am glad to know that my language has made you make the assumption that I am a Keller parent when in fact, I am currently a Keller student.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    It seems to me that most have made the assumption that i am a Keller parent. well, I am a level 7 student fighting for my school. now the fight is over and a balanced compromise was found. A clear win-win

  • In reply to Speakingthetruth:

    True o young student. First, I hope your parents read your words, because your acceptance of those below you level is poor and a sadness. And second, Keller is not doing such a good job in teaching you about accepting others that do not have your 'gift.' A great quality passion is young jedi, but blinds one to the undestanding of others, its power can.
    (BTW, I still would NOT want my children in a mobile.)

  • In reply to Speakingthetruth:

    I am not excepting of others. Sorry, but this assumption is also wrong. I have not been at Keller alll 7 years. I came in 5th grade. Before Keller I was at an 'average' school. In that enviroment I was not accepted. So now I agree with the seperation for many reasons.
    There is no differences (besides they basic differences in people) that will make anyone feel unacceptd.
    Everyone can learn at the level that they are.
    Sometimes when the big dog stops barking, he can hear the words of the little kitten.
    (BTW, the argument is over.)

  • In reply to Speakingthetruth:

    to kellerkids2011: You judge dist299reader by stating that s/he is not in a position to be make suggestions,(that's almost racist thinking on your part.)If Keller was not selfish/neglectful, it would have opened its doors to Mt. Greenwood students who are within sight of the school, rather than make them suffer with a mobile--yes, you have room, no more lies please. (Keller students in mobiles--please!) Oh boy, you got a letter from Ron--that means so much these days (ask Edison gifted parents/students about that.) Ron is just CHA and that of Alderman GR. You are only beginning to be a world class citizen. Your youth and stance gives you away. Why don't you really read what is written first and digest it?--use both your eyes and ears first before you speak/write. Good luck; again to think that a mobile is a solution and makes all the Mt. Greenwood School children joyous is a youthful mistake and nowhere near world class. What your select group at Keller should be doing is examining why this even happened in the first place--the thought of moving Keller and the overcrowding of Mt. Greenwood and how the alderman and Ron handled first underground. Why Mt. Greenwood parents are having to pull their children form catholic schools and why they cannot get a break on tuition, where they have to leave their friends and teachers for years at those schools--investigate this, discuss this, think of this--instead of your 'win-win.'

  • In reply to Speakingthetruth:

    to kellerkids2011, You are the pot calling the kettle black. please follow your own advice.

  • In reply to Speakingthetruth:

    rugai saves keller, according to this sun times article -- right?

    http://www.southtownstar.com/news/kadner/2039197,021010kadner.article

    but now who will save mt. greenwood?

  • In reply to Speakingthetruth:

    District299Reader: Unlike you, I am following my own advice because I am not arguing over the past.

  • In reply to kellerkids2011:

    to kellerkids2011: look at the article above. Alderman did not save Keller--the move was her idea. (It all just made her look good.) Mt. Greenwood still left overcrowded and with a $$ stinky modular. Although if Meeks gets his way, vouchers can be used at catholic schools, and the modular $$ would be a wasted. (Meeks probably will get nothing, but you never know.)
    You have an awful big ego, oh 'gifted' one:

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Facts are facts no matter if there yours or if there mine. If there so many other Cps issues than why dont you go and cause unnecessary conflict with those issues and stop posting on this one. I really hope you do.

  • In reply to kellerkids2011:

    kids, it is way past your bedtime, or is mom and dad not paying attention? Hope the computer is NOT in your bedroom. Paretns would be well advised to keep the access to the Internet in a 'public" space in their homes.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    What no more arguement on the issue at hand, so you have to talk about the time in which posted. Nice.

  • In reply to Speakingthetruth:

    Good news at last. It's win-win.

    Ald. Rugai has said that CPS has committed to put in place four fully equipped, air conditioned modular classrooms at Mt. Greenwood Elementary school by September 2010. (These are similar to the comfortable units in place at nearby Kellogg elementary school.)

    Longer-term, an annex to Mt. Greenwood school is the solution that Ald. Rugai is fighting for.

    This relieves the overcrowding at Mt. Greenwood school and the move of Keller students is off the table.

    The proposed move of Keller was twice as far as either Edison's or Lenart's moves -- more than 10 miles. Most Keller students simply couldn't follow the program that far, because it is very stressful for a young child to be on a bus for 45 min to an hour each way, every day.

    Also unlike the Edison or Lenart moves, the proposed site for Keller -- Princeton A.C. Elementary -- had more than 1,400 violent and property crimes in the surrounding square mile last year.

    The school would likely have lost most of its current 240 students. CPS would have had to try to reconstitute the 8 classes, not an easy task.

    All city ward residents have the right to make their concerns clear to CPS decision-makers. Start by attending the public Board of Ed meetings, held one Wednesday every month. You must sign in between 8 am and 9 am in order to be given 2 minutes to address the Board directly. You will have the chance to speak with Ron Huberman, and other Board members, on the record. Often you will immediately be given someone in CPS management to talk with to help you resolve your problem.

  • In reply to Speakingthetruth:

    If you have a difficult CPS problem, you can receive wonderful advice from the people at Designs for Change, a non-profit that does excellent work training Local School Councils.

    Also, now is the time to pick up an application to run for LSC, either as a parent member or a community member.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I think inclusion is a much better strategy in educating gifted children. At least, that's my experience.

    I also think that empathy, not self-interest is the highest level of education that a student of any variety can achieve.

    I hope that all of us can find that empathy for each other rather than continue this "I'm rubber and you're glue" dynamic.

  • In reply to xian:

    Inclusion would not help neither side. i agree that their should be a fair and balanced compromise, but not inclusion. it would not allow gifted children to be challenged with higher level work, or the work would be overbearing for an average student.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Sad to say that having a two - tiered educational system is at fault.

  • In reply to viniciusdm:

    What is the alternative? Without tracking in the schools, the teachers are expected to teach 3 or 4 different proficiency levels of students. Differentiated instruction doesn't work over that large of a spectrum. From my own experience as an above average student, this resulted in boredom as the teacher explained yet again a concept I had grasped much earlier.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    interesting comparison to edison, cpsmomtimes2, and here's a southtown star update on the story that includes a board spokesman saying it's just an idea and a principal declining to talk to the press

    http://www.southtownstar.com/news/2012723,012710keller.article

    hard to tell whether the relocation is going to go through or not, i guess it depends on how motivated and clouted the keller parents are (and the mt. greenwood community, too, i guess).

    / alexander

  • This move will be a mistake for Rugai and for the community. It is a band aid solution and one that will not work in the long run. Many people in the Ward are now watching and if Keller closes it will be a mistake. Rugai has made no effort to work with the community on this. Many people have called and written her and she is ignoring them. There are amenable solutions that can happen. I hope she chooses to work with all of her constituents and not with only some of them.

  • so silly--what Rugai wants, Rugai gets from the mayor eternal--appeal to Daley is a waste of your time. Your kids may go elsewhere closer--fight for that, but Keller WILL belong to Mt. Greenwood. There are more parents at the two over crowded schools (than 51% (?) at Keller--where is the proof of that number anyway? --and they can stay if they like.) We do not want mobiles! Why should we have to get mobiles?! When 49%+ (?) are getting bussed in. Our children have a right to be in a building learning. Keller used to be a neighborhood school--nothing wrong with this again. And hey, CPS years ago sold a small el school on Pulaski and 103rd Street to ST. Xavier--cannot afford to get that back. We have a right to send out children to Keller--close to home and not overcrowded. Why can't these students go to Lenart?

  • CPS is grossly underserving the Mt. Greenwood, Morgan Park and Beverly Community. Many, many families have paid tuition to Catholic schools in this area for generations, thereby giving CPS a free pass for thousands of area children. It is time for CPS to step up and build mobile classrooms to deal with the overcrowding. There is space at Cassell and Mt. Greenwood to accomodate such structures. We are tax-paying citizens and we need CPS to keep and expand all the specialized programs in our neighborhood -- whether they be special education instructional classrooms at Mt. Greenwood,Cassell, Sutherland or Kellogg or a gifted program at a local school like Keller. Mobiles are the appropriate short-term solution. A medium-term solution is to build another elementary school and another High School at a neighborhood location so that we can send our children to school at a location without too much fear of gun violence.

  • Here's a draft letter to Alderman Rugai asking her to support keeping Keller a Gifted Regional Center.

    If you are so inclined, just cut, paste and fill in your information.

    [insert your name]
    [insert your address]
    Chicago, IL [insert your zip]

    January 25, 2010

    Via Email (vrugai@cityofchicago.org)
    & U.S. Mail

    Alderman Virginia Rugai
    10400 South Western Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60643

    Re: Keller Regional Gifted Center

    Dear Alderman Rugai:

    I recently learned that Chicago Public School officials visited Keller and advised members of the Local School Council that CPS proposed relocating all Keller students from their school to an undisclosed location. I am told that the stated reason for the proposed relocation is to alleviate overcrowding at other neighborhood schools. I am writing you to let you know that I strongly oppose CPS

  • The southwest side of Chicago has been ignored for numerous years when it comes to education. Schools have to scream and shout to be heard and then are ignored for the sake of someone less fortunate than them. They do not receive equal funding as their free and reduced percentage of students are low which generates less discretionary dollars for each school. Most have discretionary budgets of $100,000 or less. Schools with high percentages of free/reduced lunches can qualify for at least $500,000 per year ($730 per free/reduced lunch student multiplied by a school of 500 students)

    Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, and Morgan Park are communities with hard-working people who appreciate having public schools they can send their children. The community is willing to work together so that ALL children will benefit. There is no sense to work against each other in doing what is right for all of our children. Our children deserve space where they can excel, no matter where they are on the educational spectrum. We can work together to ensure that we have opportunities for students with special needs, students with accelerated needs and students of all aptitudes and abilities.

    We deserve the opportunity to work together to solve our public education issues. We do not deserve to have to fight one another for high quality education opportunities for all of our students.

    CPS Board of Education, Ald. Rugai, Mr. Huberman, Mayor Daley, Mr. Jose Alvarez, Mr. Kevin Joyce - you have to bring the community together to plan, think, and solve problems together. We want to work together, and it is imperative that you provide us the opportunity to do so. We will not let you tear our schools or community apart.

  • In reply to thinkbeforeacting:

    Amen!

  • In reply to thinkbeforeacting:

    Wow- deja vu. This is exactly what CPS did to Edison Regional Gifted on the far northwest side a year or 2 ago. It didn't matter how much noise or how many letters the parents and elected officials wrote- CPS did what it wanted and no Edison is the neighborhood school and Edison Regional Gifted was moved 5 miles away into Albany Park.

    Magnet/Gifted schools can be and have been moved by CPS and they will continue to move them if they see a need. These students are bussed, so it is not as important (to CPS) where the school is actually situated.

    Good luck Keller families. You will need it

  • In reply to yomama:

    Can you explain why matters that Edison was moved? They now have amazing facilities and room to grow. And the neighborhood in which it was located has the space Edison vacated for their own needs.

    Does the change in scenery on the commute to Edison bother the little bright ones? Edison is a fabulous opportunity for them regardless of where it is located on the NW side.

    Is Keller actually closing or just being moved to a relatively nearby site?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    It matters because just like Keller they are getting the short end of the stick. It doesnt, however matter that Edison was put into a good neighborhood, because the fact remains that Keller might not have such a fortunate fate.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Why would CPS close Keller? It is one of 10 regional gifted centers. CPS only wants 9? Or is this just a relocation issue? Closing doesn't make any sense. Relocation doesn't seem unreasonable.

    Hopefully CPS won't place a new Keller in a "bad" (poor?) neighborhood. What else? Is the concern that Keller employees will lose jobs? Are you worried that Keller students will be kicked out? Will the school culture somehow change because it's in a different building? Will CPS lower the selectivity standards for Keller?

    What ties Keller students and families to their current specific location? Despite its general incompetence, CPS won't relocate Keller to the NW side. Should neighborhood children suffer with overcrowding so Keller can stay put? Should they have to travel outside of their neighborhood to get decent class sizes? Do you believe it is appropriate for Keller students to be served at the expense of neighborhood school children? Is there a solution you can offer that would serve the needs of neighborhood students without the need for a Keller relocation?

    Keller students will/might need bullet proof vests to be safe? Yeah, yeah. 3rd graders are in so much danger inside our school buildings around the city. Give me a break.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    strong showing from keller parents at yesterday's board meeting, but was it enough?

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/2016105,CST-NWS-gifted28web.article

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I am currently an eighth grader attending Keller. Even though I'll be graduating this year, I know I will still love this school no matter what. I always want to be able to come back to visit the building at 3020 W. 108th St., not some other foreign school in Englewood. I love this school to death, and there's no other place, other than home itself, that would make me feel so at home than Keller. So, if Mt. Greenwood is so overcrowded, then mobiles should be built. There are many other overcrowded schools using mobiles. Find a rational solution, not one that uproots a great school. We are currently rated second best school in the state. Who would want to stop that? So please, as a student and a future alumni, do not relocate Keller.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I am currently an eighth grader attending Keller. Even though I'll be graduating this year, I know I will still love this school no matter what. I always want to be able to come back to visit the building at 3020 W. 108th St., not some other foreign school in Englewood. I love this school to death, and there's no other place, other than home itself, that would make me feel so at home than Keller. So, if Mt. Greenwood is so overcrowded, then mobiles should be built. There are many other overcrowded schools using mobiles. Find a rational solution, not one that uproots a great school. We are currently rated second best school in the state. Who would want to stop that? So please, as a student and a future alumni, do not relocate Keller.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Fine-where is the invite from Keller to the students at Mt. Greenwood so that these students' school is not overcrowded?!
    And one day--Englewood will be your problem since the adults now in charge are allowing it to be.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I can bet a million dollars that if every single kid in the Mt. Greenwood schools tested to get in Keller 30 percent of them would. The difference between Keller parents and some other parents is that Keller parents are willing to put everything they have into their childs education. They have already put in 100 percent of their mind ,body ,and soul into Keller, just as well as the students, that is why we are fighting so hard.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Only 18 percent of Keller students live with walking distance--NOT the 50% Keller claims--let's be honest here. No more classes in offices please for Mt. Greenwood students! Thanks 299 for bringing this truth forward.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    You mean withIN walking distance? Keller is not claiming 50% live within walking distance, the parents are telling you that approx 60% live in the ward - the same ward that had the South Side Irish Parade and I bet you told people that the parade was in your neighborhood. Was that a lie? Let's be honest here. I live .8 miles from Keller in 60655 it is my neighborhood.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Let me see if I've got this right.

    Mt. Greenwood is a neighborhood school. Mt. Greenwood is required to accept all students within its attendance boundary. Mt. Greenwood is overcrowded and needs more space for classrooms.

    Keller is a test-in elite regional gifted center with capped enrollment. Over 80% of Keller students come into the Keller neighborhood from other neighborhoods.

    If Keller is relocated the staff and student body would remain intact and Mt. Greenwood would have appropriate accomodations. A clear win-win.

    But Keller families want to retain their current building while Mt. Greenwood continues to operate over capacity and/or shuttle students to mobile classrooms. A clear win-lose.

    Wow. That's classy. And the height of selfishness. And a major sense of entitlement. It's also disgusting.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Mt. Greenwood needs more space - you got that right! You say "over 80% of Keller students come into the Keller neighborhood from other neighborhoods" - you got that wrong. Approx. 62% come from this ward, and I will say it again, the same ward that had the South Side Irish Parade and I am sure you said it was in your neighborhood so based on that the ward is your neighborhood. You said if Keller was relocated it would remain intact - history has shown that to be false. Not a win-win. WRONG again. Mt. Greenwood is not OVER capacity - "CPS officials estimate that the school's enrollment will grow to 848 next year. The school's CAPACITY is 885, but schools that operate above 80 percent capacity are considered to be "overcrowded". No one from Keller will deny you are overcrowded, we will deny and Ms Reidy has to agree - you are not OVER Capacity. Shuttling? - Hmm, go to mobiles on site...not shuttling. Having many of your neighbors kids go to 51st and Princeton 11.77 miles away - shut

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    NO you dont have this right.

    Mt. Greenwood is a neighborhood school. Mt. Greenwood is required to accept all students within its attendance boundary. Mt. Greenwood is overcrowded and needs more space for classrooms. Mt. greenwood can have mobiles built or test to get into Cps schools were they will get bussed anywhere in the city.

    Keller is a test-in elite regional gifted center with capped enrollment. Over 80% of Keller students come into the Keller, a building built specifically for Keller students, from other neighborhoods.

    If Keller is relocated the staff and student body would NOT remain intact, if the neighborhood is not suitable. Mt. Greenwood would have appropriate accomodations.(No, not really Keller is a small school with only one class per grade, so how much help would this really do.) A clear win-win. (Not at all)

    But Keller families want to retain their current building and Mt. Greenwood refuses to compromise.

    Wow. That's classy. And the height of selfishness,on Mt Greenwoods part. It's also disgusting. (Disgusting?)

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    What I find disgusting is your sense of entitlement and ignorance to the bigger issue. As a soon-to-be college graduate who attended both Mt. Greenwood and Keller, I'm consistently shocked and disappointed to the hostile and nasty reactions of my neighbors to a very real issue. In your blind anger, you see this as only a win-lose situation, when the necessary and easily possible outcome is win-win-win for Mt. Greenwood, Keller, and Cassell. Far fewer than 80% (in fact, less than 50%) of students come from other wards, and the majority come from the Mt. Greenwood, Morgan Park, and Beverly areas. I went there and am still actively involved there - I know. Moving Keller is not the solution; over 500 seats are needed to reduce overcrowding; Keller provides 240, which isn't even half. Shuttling to mobile classrooms isn't necessary; there is a lot of room on Mt. Greenwood and Cassell property for TEMPORARY mobile units while permanent expansions and improvements are made to both schools. It's a very feasible, commonly used solution. In response to the busing issue, just as many buses line up on the side of Mt. Greenwood as they do at Keller, if not more. Keller families wanting to keep and enjoy their school is no more selfish than you wanting overcrowding fixed at yours. However, CPS schools shouldn't be out to ruin one another; all schools can and should benefit. CPS has overlooked the 19th ward for far too long and rather than belittling the parents and students of Keller, you would be better served by channeling your anger into something positive and organizing a petition for Mt. Greenwood and Cassell to get the support they deserve and have been shorted for the past several years. I can tell you now that Keller parents wouldn't belittle these efforts but would rally with you and sign your petitions and help you make your case. Get rid of the anger and hostility and start making a difference - this time positive rather than negative.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    So the 19Ward gets their OWN gifted school and cannot share with anyone else? There is a gifted elementary school at 81st and LaSalle. Why can't the Keller students go there? They don't like black people?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I have kids in both schools. I like black people. I am a people person. But your solution really would not work - what do we do with the Lenart students? You are suggesting we just displace one school with another. And moving the school is not a sharing concept, they are taking it away. Any one can test it is just the way it works out which is why all my kids did not get in - just can't make it work all the time. Thanks.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    The 19ward gets their own gifted school and does not want to take advantage of it is more accurate. Your right there is a gifted elemantary school at 81st and Lasalle which gives Mt. Greenwood to schools to test into. The comment about race was completely uncalled for, in that text. but if you want to bring race into the arguement than let's. this is my opinion, Mt Greenwood does not want to see Keller flourish like the great school they are because because of the differnce in race.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Uncalled for on the race issue - especially because we have had to deal with such racism from some ignorant Mt. Greenwood residents. Why are their bars on the windows? Because racist neighbors threw bricks through them. Do you remember the news coverage when swastikas were carved all over our playground and wood chips were hauled out onto the pavement into swastikas as well? Or when a neighbor across the street beat up a 7th grader after following him from school to 107th and Albany - purely because he was black? I know the Mt. Greenwood people and I know that many are good, kind people - my neighbors and my friends. However, many are incredibly racist. If you want to bring the race card into it, that's fine, but think about who really has the problem with it.

  • In reply to kber8815:

    Typing error - should read FEW are incredibly racist.

  • In reply to kber8815:

    Next election say no to Daley. Ask teachers to vote out Marilyn Stewart this Spring. Ren 2010 is the playbook til.....

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Does not sound like Keller is producing "world class citizens" per their mission statement. No sharing here. WOW and you got Huberman to even talk to you directly. So special....

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Huberman never talked to us directly except in the public forum that anyone can go to - go, you can talk to him directly. Also - sharing? no one is asking Keller families to share - the are evicting us.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Just because Mt. Greenwood does not want to come up with fair compromise and Keller wont stand to be treated unfairly you feel that Keller isnt producing world class citizens? Well, i think that just shows Keller is producing Strong world class citizens that wont stand to be disrespected.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I am saddened by sadly, not surprised at how the animosity for the gifted programs spews forth when a situation like this is brought up. It was the same two years ago when Edison Gifted was going to be moved.
    Please remember that the students who attend these schools while very bright indeed, are just children. They are children who need a special learning environment to accomodate their special needs - would you be so glib about the upheaval and chaos that the students of Keller will endure if the population were that of autistic students or some other specially designated special needs group. Or would that not be so PC? Why is it deemed acceptable to bash the gifted kids?
    The problem with moving Edison Gifted was complex and multidimensional for the Edison students and the NW side community that thoguht moving Edison Gifted would alleviate their overcrowded schools, just as it is or would be for Keller and the Mt Greenwood community. The neighborhood school that is now housed in the building Edison Gifted was forced to evacuate is already on the verge of overcrowding after only one school year and by next September will be over capacity, and it has NOT alleviated the overcrowding of the already crowded neighborhood schools on the NW side.
    The issue was not just about a change of scenery, or a new commute - though the bus route that drives past the adult theater has certainly caused some converstions to be had that otherwise wouldn't have been, but about what is best for the children - ALL of the children.
    The single most important thing these schools and communities can do is to band together to work for a solution - an equitable soultion that will force CPS and Daley to address the real situation which is that every kid deserves a great school that supports their needs.
    Think about all of the children when addressing these issues - if you can do that you, and the community will all be better for it.
    Good luck Keller families.

  • In reply to theblamegame:

    Theblamegame, you bring up a good point. If you look in any medical book you will know that being gifted is indeed a disability. Keller school was built funded and acessorized to be able to fulfill the individual needs of each student.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I think it's fair to ask for both:
    1. That the gifted kids get what's best for them.
    2. That all kids get what's best for them.

    There's a certainly manufactured scarcity that has communities doing crazy contortions to get the Board to choose them. Each time we do this just to get some bureaucrat's approval at the expense of other communities and "other people's children", we lose a little more of our humanity. You get weird scenes like last year's Ogden/Carpenter hearing where kids are being taught that their sibling relationships are more important than the their poor counterparts' sibling relationships. You get test score factories where kids are taught to destroy other communities in self-interest.

    The Keller kids deserve their home. The Mount Greenwood kids also deserve theirs. Can't we give that to both groups. Maybe we can just build another school instead of building more UNO charter with their outdated curriculum?

  • Yes, a good general high school "for all" in Rugai's ward would be welcome. She's ignored that issue for almost two decades now.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    She really doesn't work with the community and it has been that way for a long time. Here is her chance and I hope she decides to work with all of us.

  • As neutral as u try to be i think its clear which side you support and thats fine. Your argument is preety fair for the most part, but one thing that is striking to me is how you say keller parents are trying to put their children on the pedalstal. I disagree with that, they are more so trying to give the their child the best they can possibly give, as any parent does. BTW, location is not the only thing. Foundation, stability, comfortability, neigborhood, familiarty ect.

  • In reply to Speakingthetruth:

    Right on Neutral1. These parents still want an exclusive school or Keller would have opened its doors to students right accross the street. All you kiddies above are judgemental of others--you say you think of others, but your words betray you over and over. One day, you will have to face the grim reality that everyone does not agree with you, they are not like you and that they don't fawn at your 'giftedness." Again, continued proof of how Keller nor you parents are preparing you for those who are less 'gifted', but that YOU will have to work UNDER. You can run, but you cant's hide.
    Best wishes to Mt. Greenwood and Cassel parents and students. yes, you have learned that some are treated more equal than others,but you will reap the benefits of what you have learned now from all kids of children who are taught at your school. As CPS closes schools in the innercity with just under 250, you exist eternal with 235. The probelm is that you will never have any idea or understand what the issue is for children unlike you--this will be the downfall. keller should open its doors to student right within view of the hiomes in Mt. greenwood. There is an act of good faith, healing and intelligence.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Sorry I dont think you know the true meaning of 'thinking of others', because it seems to me that you feel that if somone doesnt agree with you than their wrong. 'thinking of others' is having empathy, smypathy, and understanding of a situation. I'm fine with people disagreeing with me, because I have such strong opinions many people do. When I find a person who just doesnt like me I just won't put them on my friends list. Its funny to me how this went from 'The Closing of Keller' to judging my character.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    13 years old, not a full teenager yet. Yet, you had to comment 2xs on this--are you looking for an argument? No comments on if parents know what their child it up too. Right.
    No problem about how you feel, just tried to enlighten your limited view. You words showed that you were NOT fine with disagreements--go back and read what you wrote. Understandng of a situation also means review. How sweet of you to have a 'list' of friends. Why is that not surprising? As for judging character, it was following your lead oh dear brick wall. Don't you have some homework or differentiated projects to work on?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Yes my parents know what Im doing, stating my opinion and backing it up. They now all of my online activity, since you care so much. Just because I state my arguement and back it up doesnt mean I am not accepting of disagreement. 'List' figure of speech. I mean if someone doesnt like me than we wont be BFFs. Dont you have a job or some thing better to do than argue with "not full teenagers".

  • In reply to Speakingthetruth:

    Yes, I do; like the Olympics--where real gifted athletes come together to celebrate the world of sportsmanship. Note: I was not arguing with you, I was toying with you. And get this clear, you never backed up your argument. In the end and if you continue this into your future, it was just your argument. You never once acknowledged the points raised. It was all about you. Therefore, could never be the discussion you so sorely need to learn how to do. Take debate in HS and you will learn about this. You bore me and you are no longer my bff or on my list. Best wishes oh ignorant one. You may have the last word...

  • In reply to Speakingthetruth:

    All about me. You words as seen above and now here show how self cetered, unwilling to compromise, arrogant, hypocritical, and overall ignorantyou are. I think you have failed to see that each point you raised, I adressed. I'm glad you have decided to stop posting because I can tell that in your years of life you have lost the ability to think logically, and rationally. BTW, usually when something bores someone they dont dedicate much time and energy to it. I have learned one thing from you that I will carry with me is that from a different perspective someting so right could have many wrongs. Thank you for you high hopes. And all though you were oblivious to my reason for writing it was to get a better understanding of the 'other side of the table'. You have given me a great understanding on why I felt the way I did. So, thank you and best wishes o naive one.

  • In reply to Speakingthetruth:

    keller stays, mt. greenwood gets an expansion module of some kind -- what do you think?

    http://www.southwestobserver.com/news/schools/keller-stay-put-mt-greenwood-school-expands-06-24919

  • In reply to Speakingthetruth:

    Sorry, I did not know that it was so bad for a teenager to stay up until 11:20 on a night in which she doesn't have school.

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