Mixed Reactions To Closings List

Today's news is dominated by contrasting reactions to yesterday's announced closing / phase out list ((#savecranehs), plus remaining questions about the turnaround list (#savecasalsES) and the reliance on charter schools, plus a new effort to coordinate school safety efforts:

CPS plans to shut 2 grade schools, phase out 2 high schools Tribune:  Chicago Public Schools officials unveiled the next phase of their district reorganization Wednesday, announcing they will seek to close two underperforming elementary schools and begin to phase out two troubled high schools next school year.

Chicago names schools to be closed, phased out WBEZ: Robert McMiller is the principal at Dyett High School. He said he and his staff received the news Tuesday morning and were shocked. A network chief came into the school and read a letter from Jean Claude Brizard to the staff.

Crane, Dyett high schools to be phased out in CPS shake-up Sun Times: CTU and others immediately began scheduling protests. The teachers union will conduct a “teach-in” on the history of school closings at 10 a.m. Saturday at King College Prep, 4445 S. Drexel. Workshops on “how to save troubled schools’’ will be included.

Four schools to close, but CPS wanted more Catalyst: A Catalyst analysis of the 2012 budget shows that more than 500 teachers and other instructional staff face job uncertainty because of the already-announced 10 turnarounds and the proposed school closings.

Crane, Dyett high schools to be phased out in CPS shake-up Chicago Sun-Times: Walter H. Dyett High School. React to the announcement of the possible closing of the High School. .. 

School Overhaul Plan A Boon to Private Groups CNC: Three schools to be closed—Lathrop and Price elementary schools and Dyett high school—will reroute students to schools currently run by the AUSL.

Editorial: Chicago moving in right direction to fix schools Sun-Times: Each and every day, more than 100000 students go to low-performing Chicago public schools, cheating them out of the best chance they have for a decent start in life. This quiet, smoldering crisis is what drives new Chicago Public Schools.

Good News! School Closings! CPSObsessed: I don’t mean to make light of the closings, but I to had to laugh when I received an email whose content I knew would be about school closings (CPS had to announce them by today) and it was cheerfully titled “CPS Proposes Providing 7,800 Students with Access to Higher Quality School Options.”   Now that is a positive spin on something we know that families hate – school closings.

Teacher living with student resigns as officials probe sex abuse charges Sun Times: A female math teacher in Hoffman Estates has resigned after officials learned she arranged for a student to move into her apartment — a relationship that state officials are now investigating as possibly sexually exploitive.

High schools to hold weekly crime-fighting meetings with police Sun Times: Chicago Public High School principals will hold weekly meetings with police district commanders to talk about crimes in and around schools and devise strategies to combat them under a program unveiled Wednesday.

CPS to Use CompStat Model for Safety Fox: Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and School's Chief Jean-Claude Brizard announced a new joint effort between police and schools to keep kids safe between their homes and schools.




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  • There is an interesting example of word choice in today's Tribune article:

    Crane's freshmen would be REASSIGNED to Wells High School, a school that is on academic probation but one district officials say is on the right track. Dyett's freshman would be INVITED to attend Phillips High, an improving turnaround school run by the nonprofit Academy for Urban School Leadership. Both Crane and Dyett would remain open until their current crops of freshmen graduate.

    Crane's freshman are required to go to Wells. Dyett's are not required to go to the AUSL school. Interesting. I wonder what info the Trib received to make this distinction in its reporting.

  • In reply to Ray Salazar:

    Interesting comment, Mr. Salazar.

    To me, it sounds like Wells will be stuck accepting students from Crane, whereas AUSL \will only invite the students it wants to attend Phillips.

  • congrats to the oppenheimer winners announced just recently -- and have fun at the event tonight

    This year, Mitchell Elementary School principal Luis Soria will also receive the OPPY Award for Excellence in Teaching. This “teacher’s teacher” overcame great personal hardship to earn his teaching certificate, and was the first Latino in Chicago to win national certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. He’s one of more than 250 teachers and more than a hundred projects that the Oppenheimer Family Foundation will help fund this year.

    Dr. Noemi Donoso, chief education officer of Chicago Public Schools, will join Susan and Ted Oppenheimer for the presentation of more than $140,000 in grants to 256 primary and secondary Chicago Public Schools teachers. The grants, which will help fund 116 interdisciplinary projects across the district, are expected to touch the lives of 20,000 CPS students.

  • Why is Wendell Smith being turnaround? I am familiar with the school and did some research. 70.1% of their students met or exceeded on ISAT for math. Also their overall ISAT scores improved 3.4% last year
    This was done with a large SPED population. There is room for improvement at Smith, but like many schools proposed for turnaround it is not the bottom feeder that CPS claims it is.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    If you recall, Smith is the school where the LSC voted to turn it into a charter. So, the Board's response to that action is to make Smith a "turnaround".

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Yes, however the LSC did not speak for all the parents. Some parents even went down to the board of ed to support Smith not becoming a charter.

  • Isnt it obvious what they're doing...
    Crane is underperforming...So lets analyze what underperforming entails....
    These "under-performing" schools have deeply entrenched, grossly contagious under-performing cultures. Add to the mix, spending all day with their under-performing (idiot, unprofessional, ineffective, whiny and all the other derogatory remarks assigned to us) teachers....
    And well, what will you get...(at least according to those with the power to make decisions)?????
    "UNDER-PERFORMING" students....
    So CPS REASSIGNS them to "Wells High School, a school that is on academic probation but one district officials say is on the right track to in effect throw Wells of course so they will be on next years list.
    Its sick...

  • In reply to displacedteacher:

    Yes. If the problem is with the school and the teachers, why not send the kids to a school that is NOT underperforming?

  • In reply to mr johnson:

    Read my last (extra long run on sentence lol) again

  • In reply to displacedteacher:

    I have to say I agree with displacedteacher about the idea that some schools develop contagious under-performing cultures. I saw that first hand at Calumet high school before its conversion to a charter when I taught there and I am not surprised that the charter that took over itself is now in trouble.

    Amazingly even in the confusion of Calumet with teachers trying any way possible to get students to pass classes and still failing 50% of your sections there were teachers who continued to perform. I cann't say I was one of those few heros because I bailed out in order to effectively save myself from becoming like the teacher next door who showed movies three days out of five and simply gave up.

    I think it is sort of like an educational version of post traumatic stress disorder teaching in a high school like old Calumet or Crane, it is simply overwhelming. Those teachers who keep teaching away are truely amazing and I am sure there are some such teachers today at Crane. Sending the students from the Crane intake area to Wells is simply sick, especially since so many probably will have disabilities, Crane in 2011 had 25.8% students with IEPs and Wells already has 23% of its students with disabilities. In 2011 there was not one student with an IEP attending Crane that took the PSAE who could read at state standards and only 1 student out of 36 juniors with IEPs last year at Wells that took the PSAE could read at state standards.

    It is just depressing.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Yes, It is depressing to be a teacher of students with disabilities in CPS.
    The newest scam is to dump everyone into an inclusion
    program (no pull-out services allowed) irregardless of LRE or appropriateness of the placement.
    This is happening so frequently that it has to be another unwritten/illegal mandate from CO and trust me too many people are drinking the inclusion Kool-aid for this not to be a scary possibility in all schools.
    If very few children with disabilities are making measurable progress on legitimate tests now, just wait a few years when the aftershock of "Inclusion for Al"l thunders through the system.

    Are there any CO administrators with the intelligence/integrity to counter this scam?


  • And, Rod's just talking about students with official IEPs. That does not reflect the student population of those who need IEPs (much less ones that are well developed and implemented).

  • Just listened to brizard on 'schools on the line'
    does he ever answer questions directly or honestly?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    LOL ! I was wondering that myself. His reply on Casals was nothing short of a total lie , despite the lady from Catalyst trying to bring in some real facts. I hope she follows up with a story, because he certainly did not pay any attention to his beloved "data". I guess it's only a data-driven system when the data is what Brizard wants to hear and say.

  • On the topic of Sp. Ed., I may be one of the last of the self-contained teachers left in the city. My primary students are too seriously behind academically or too disruptive in behavior to be in a regular classroom, but have all improved in the small group setting of my classroom ( 11 to 1 ratio). We do take all our Enrichment classes with another class, and I am mindful of trying to move them to a least restrictive environment when possible. But they were failing terribly in regular ed., and now they are learning. Inclusion is not the answer for every school or child.

  • In reply to 30-Yr. Vet:

    Could you believe his response to the lady with the question on how CPS is ensuring IEPs are being implemented! Wow. What a non-answer. Actually, it was profoundly telling. Nothing is being done on that front systemically. It's left to the few sped workers who aren't yet broken to keep up the effort to do right. Brizzard does not seem like one of them. If he were, why hide it. It is sick. Maybe the only way he'd understand would be if his child grew up disabled in CPS.

  • In reply to 30-Yr. Vet:

    Why isn't a self-contained placement part of the continuum offered for every child? I thought this was the law......but not in CPS and ISBE ignores these serious legal violations.

  • In reply to 30-Yr. Vet:

    If it were only so easy to say that having increased numbers of students with IEPs placed in self contained settings in order to improve academic outcomes it would be wonderful. But numerous studies were done of children with similar disabilities and formal IQ scores in self contained and inclusive settings in the 1980s and 1990s presents a different picture.

    Basically these studies found that for students with LD, mild emotional disturbance, mild autism, speech language disorders who had composite IQ scores in the 70s and above placed in self contained settings had negative academic impact as compared to those educated for the majority of the day in regular classes. For students with a variety of disabilities whose composite IQ scores in the 60s there was very little advantage to either placement option. For students with a variety of disabilities with IQ scores below the 60s academic outcomes were better for students in self contained settings. However, even there may have been negative impacts on social skills of these lower functioning self contained students as compared to those included for over half the school day. Students with serious emotional disturbance generally have poor academic out comes no matter the setting based on these studies.

    I hate to use IQ data, but most of these studies referenced these scores so I have no choice. I also know that my presentation of these many studies is very simple, but I think it does give the general picture. For inclusive education to be effective regular education teachers are going to have to be basically cross certified in both special ed and regular ed. This is something Access Living has advocated for. Would this change the role of traditional special ed teachers, probably it would make them more intervention specialists and advisers for regular education teachers and direct instructors only for more disabled students. In theory it would reduce the number of special education teachers who are not teaching also as regular ed teachers over time.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Maybe because I have 28 years as a regular classroom teacher, I see things a little differently. IF the Sp. Ed. kids with serious disabilities had all-day support in the classroom, I could see it. But just on their own is not going to work. A first grade teacher with 29 students (like at my school) is not going to be humanly able to give 1 -2 Sp. Ed. kids the attention I can in my class of 11 . One of my kids is a 4th grader reading at 1st grade level ... what chance would he have in a regular 4th ? In my class, his reading level is improving, and he feels good about school.
    I know there are better options than self-contained, but not without the personnel to give the kids the support they need. Unfortunately, CPS does not want to pay for that.

  • the audio is not yet online that i can find but i just posted the list of twitter updates and questions here for you to scroll through:


    or, if you know how to do twitter on your own just search for "askbrizard"

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