Board Approves Closures, Turnarounds

#cpsboard    Here's the press release from CPS about the Board meeting today, which may include exaggerations or inaccuracies but gives you the gist of the proceedings that just completed, during which the Board approved CPS recommendations plus some adjustments in response to a CPS-estimated 60 community feedback meetings.  The Crane changes are the lead item, along with a positive quote from Alderman Burnett. Safety concerns will get a blue ribbon commission or something.  CVCA gets to keep its CTE focus. Montessori stays at Stagg (for now).



CHICAGO – The Board of Education today approved several actions proposed by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) leadership that will provide 7,500 students in some of the lowest performing schools in the district with access to higher performing school options next school year in an effort to help immediately boost the academic achievement of those students.

“We applaud the Board’s decision in putting the academic needs of our students above all else and allowing CPS to take immediate action in providing higher quality school options for students that have been failed by the system for far too long,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “We can no longer defend a status quo where nearly half of students drop out of high school and the achievement gap among African American and Latino students has climbed to high double digits. It’s our responsibility to do everything we can to help students get on a path to academic success and with the Board’s support today we will do exactly that.”

CPS hosted an unprecedented number of more than 60 meetings to engage parents and community members of schools that were proposed for action last November. The feedback gathered from these meetings was taken into careful consideration in moving forward with plans for each proposed action.

Among the changes made to CPS’ original proposals include the creation of a new Health Sciences High School at Crane. Yesterday, CPS announced the formation of the Crane Transformational Task Force, which will be tasked with planning the restart of Crane high school in fall 2013.

The Task Force will develop a strategic plan for the school's restart and work together to overcome a history of low performance that has persisted at Crane despite significant financial investment by CPS. The Task Force seeks to restore Crane's reputation as one of Chicago's premier technical preparatory high schools and to reopen with the first class of ninth-graders in the fall of 2013.

CPS and the Coalition wanted to seize the opportunity to better meet the educational needs of students and prepare them for future employment, while also capitalizing on local the industry and helping to ensure that area employers are able fill anticipated job vacancies in health care and related professions.

“I am pleased CPS has heard the voice of the Crane community throughout the school actions process and has committed to continuing to work with our community to bring a new health sciences high school at Crane,” said 2nd Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, who helped move this agreement forward. “Such a school will provide more quality education to our students on the near West Side and prepare them for future success in life.  I look forward to continuing to work with CPS and the Crane community to ensure greater access to quality education and applaud the collaborative effort.”

Other Examples of community input that led to adjustments to the original proposals include:

  • As a result of safety concerns from several communities, CPS working closely with CPD and OSS, and also created a parent and community focus group to understand the nuanced concerns of each community.
  • Boundary schools for Price were expanded to include Mayo, as some parents from Price wanted to have the option to send their students to Mayo Elementary as well as NTA.
  • CPS committed to retain the CTE focus within CVCA, as there was a strong demand within the community.
  • The Montessori program currently housed in Stagg will either remain in Stagg, or in a nearby school in response to requests from the community to retain the program.
  • CPS and the ChiArts community are forming a committee to identify a long-term solution for the school, as families view the proposed co-location as a short-term solution.

School Actions Approved today include:

Turnarounds: 10 schools, 6,010 students

 CPS has designated The Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), which currently implements the turnaround strategy in 12 CPS schools, to implement the turnaround strategy at six of the schools serving nearly 3,200 students:

  • Pablo Casals Elementary School, 3501 W. Potomac Avenue, which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years.
  • Melville W. Fuller Elementary School, 4214 S. Saint Lawrence Avenue, which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years.
  • Theodore Herzl Elementary School, 3711 W. Douglas Blvd., which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years.
  • Marquette Elementary School, 6550 S Richmond St., which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years.
  • Brian Piccolo Elementary Specialty School, 1040 N Keeler Ave., which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years.
  • Amos Alonzo Stagg Elementary School, 7424 S Morgan St., which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years.

CPS Office of School Improvement (OSI) will implement the turnaround strategy at four other schools serving 2,650 students including:

  • Chicago Vocational Career Academy (CVCA) High School, 2100 E 87th St., which has been on academic probation for 10 consecutive years.
  • Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School, 4747 S Union Ave., which has been on academic probation for eight consecutive years.
  • Wendell Smith Elementary School, 744 E 103rd St., which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years.
  • Carter G. Woodson South Elementary School, 4414 S Evans, which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years.

The turnaround model is designed to transform the lowest performing CPS schools by completely overhauling them without moving students to other schools. Studies show turnarounds are successful in boosting student achievement because of their holistic approach to transforming schools as well as rigorous training that prepares teachers to tackle the challenge of improving students’ academic outcomes within low performing schools. Students return in the fall to a school that is re-built around an entirely new culture of success and high achievement.

Turnaround models like AUSL and OSI have delivered consistent and impressive results for students almost immediately.  This past year, AUSL elementary schools more than doubled the district’s average in growth (AUSL growth: 8 points, district growth 3.8 points) while OSI elementary schools grew at nearly twice the district’s average (OSI growth: 6.3 points, district growth 3.8 points).  Further, every year since the first turnaround in 2006, the average growth for AUSL turnarounds has significantly exceeded the district’s average growth, and every school that had been an AUSL turnaround for at least two years has grown at a faster pace than other nearby neighborhood schools.

Closures: 2 Schools, 400 Students

The District will close two elementary schools for chronic low performance. Approximately 400 students are impacted. CPS will move students into better performing schools in their area but, unlike the past, CPS will make additional unprecedented investments in these receiving schools to make them even better including social emotional supports, afterschool programming and academic program investments.

CPS also will take every necessary step to ensure the safety and security of students in all schools, with particular attention to students moving into new schools. Among the steps to be taken is the assignment of additional Safe Passage to receiving schools to help get students to and from school safely. CPS also will work closely with other City agencies that are actively engaged in the safety and security of children to build a foun­dation for safety plans at every school, including the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Transit Authority and CPS safety specialists. Schools to be closed are:

  • Simon Guggenheim Elementary School, 7141 S. Morgan St., which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years and has been listed as the lowest performing school in the state.
  • Florence B. Price, 4351 S Drexel Blvd., which has been on academic probation for four consecutive years.

Phase-outs Being Closed: 3 Schools, 127 students

CPS will close three additional schools that have already been in the phase-out process due to low performance. In addition to having chronic low performance when the phase-out process began, these schools have low enrollment or no enrollment, making closure the best option to provide existing students with the resources and teaching staff they need to succeed. Attendance boundaries for these phase-out schools were already reassigned to other schools under previous board actions. These schools are:

  • Julia C. Lathrop Elementary School, 1440 S. Christiana Ave., 83 students, which has been on probation for ten consecutive years.
  • Walter Reed Elementary School, 6350 S. Stewart Ave., 44 students, which has been on probation for eight consecutive years.
  • Best Practice High School, 2040 W. Adams St., 0 students.

Phase-outs: 2 Schools, 960 Students

The District will phase out two schools, which will impact 950 students. In a phase-out, existing students may remain enrolled at the school, but the school will not enroll any new students and will decrease by one grade level per year. Incoming freshman students who live in the current boundary for either school will be reassigned to a higher performing neighboring high school. Phase-out schools are:

  • ·         Walter H. Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St., which has been on academic probation for seven consecutive years.
  • ·         Richard T. Crane Technical Preparatory High School, 2245 W. Jackson Blvd., which has been on academic probation for 10 consecutive years. CPS announced yesterday that it will create a new Health Sciences high school at Crane to open with the 2013-14 school year.  CPS has created a task force partnering with community leaders, teachers and Crane parents to plan for the new school.

The new School Actions Guidelines provide clear and transparent information on CPS chooses schools for actions and what metrics were used to define underperforming schools. The guidelines include:

  • First, the lowest performing schools in the district will be identified using CPS’s Performance Policy which establishes the standards for placing a school on Remediation or Probation for the 2011-2012 school year based on tests administered in Spring 2011 and other performance data from prior school years.  Schools rated “level 3” for two consecutive years are included in the pool.
  • Next, schools with a pattern of underperforming other schools in their network – including low test scores and low graduation rates –remain on the list.
  • Finally, schools with low school improvement rates remain on the list.


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  • School closures endanger roughly 600 teacher jobs, marks Dem mayors' independence from teachers unions, notes WSJ

  • Just wait til these board members are up for re-election, then the people can let their voices be heard.....Oh wait, I'm sorry I forgot this is the city of Chicago where parents don't have a say in their child's education and the voters work for for the politicians.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Although the school board is not elected, the Mayor who appoints them *is*. The people can let their voices be heard at the next mayoral election.

  • How do you say "kangaroo" Chicago Board of Education decision?

  • I tell you this, if the CTU does not reach the 75 percent vote to strike this summer, public education, career teachers and the right of every child to a quality education will cease to exist. An not just here but in every city in the country. What happened today was acutely wrong. A mayor who has lives in Chicago for all of 5 minutes, a CEO with visible puppet strings, and the millionairs BoE club made a decision today which hurts teachers, students, and te city. As teachers, we should accept no contract and let no turn around happen without a strike. This is the time to stand up. This is the time to show the strength of the people.

  • I'm saddened and dismayed. Although I do not work at any of the "targeted" schools, it may be my school next year. I'm sad for the students this will affect and the teachers who tried to do their best with little (financial) support.
    Just a few years ago one of my former students was "elated" to be accepted to Dyett because it was so much better (safer) than Hyde Park. She wrote me last week (now a Jr) to tell me how it has changed because former Phillips students were placed there. The BoE continues the dog and pony show.... "Phillips has done great since AUSL took over", when really all they did was move "the undesirables" to another school. After 10 yrs, I'm convinced it is not about the children and it's time for me to move on.

  • I almost hate to admit that a comedian said it best back in in 2005

    “They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don’t want that!
    You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shitty jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later cause they own this fucking place! Its a big club, and you ain’t in it! You, and I, are not in the big club.
    By the way, its the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head with their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table has tilted folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care! Good honest hard-working people; white collar, blue collar it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-working people continue, these are people of modest means, continue to elect these rich cock suckers who don’t give a fuck about you….they don’t give a fuck about you… they don’t give a FUCK about you.
    They don’t care about you at all… at all… AT ALL. And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s being jammed up their assholes everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth.
    Its called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

  • The Pepper shaker.

    As we continue our own modern trail of tears the past is just a memory
    and the future looks dismal.Today many teachers and students awake to realize their lives are going to be changed forever.Students are about to be put in a vast pepper shaker then sprinkled around the South and West sides of this city.Just to garnish the latest flavor of the year scam.Teachers will be honorably terminated ending vocations that in some cases have spanned over thirty years. All of this for nothing because in five years everything will be exactly the same as it is now.
    if the CTU had any guts an immediate house meeting would be called to vote a strike referendum immediately. ..

  • I read the Board press release on the closings and I find it interesting how they spin rhetoric on the renewed opportunities that will be available for the students:

    “We applaud the Board’s decision in putting the academic needs of our students above all else and allowing CPS to take immediate action in providing higher quality school options for students that have been failed by the system for far too long,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “We can no longer defend a status quo where nearly half of students drop out of high school and the achievement gap among African American and Latino students has climbed to high double digits. It’s our responsibility to do everything we can to help students get on a path to academic success and with the Board’s support today we will do exactly that.”

    As a CPS teacher I and everyone else who works in some of our more academically challenged schools knows that this statement and those made by Mayor Emmanuel and others that these children deserve better I challenge them to come in to some of these schools for a week so they can see how "these students view their own path to success and how hard they don't work to meet regular classroom goals let alone put a personal stake in how they perform on the standardized tests. Yes they have been failed but it's not by us. There is no support and encouragement from home for many of these students and there are no consequences when they fight, disrupt, or disrespect teachers, staff, and their peers. Suspend them. YES! They love to have a few days off and generally the chronic offenders are suspended again the same day they return. Of course it's the teacher's fault. We are not teaching these children because if we were they would do better so many of us will be honorably terminated in June and these miscreants will be moved to schools to bring their own unique amount of mayhem to a new building and impact the environment in the classroom and the overall scores of their new receiving school.

    What the Board isn't talking about but some are commenting on is you can have a better climate and learning environment when you weed out the poison. I taught at King when it was in the process of being transformed into a college prep. Paul Vallas promised parents that CPS would put resources, programs, and extra support in the feeder schools to help their children meet King's new admission standards. That never happened. Those children with scores below the acceptable stanine were moved to Dyett. Dyett was transformed overnight from an excellent year-round middle school to a warehouse for the neighborhood's academically weak and behavior problem students. Just like they did at the old King, they fight, shoot, cut class, have chronic truancy, curse out teachers, and unfortunately some of them die before they can graduate. So now, with the phase out, these same children who can't get into King or other CPS schools will be sent to Phillips who has been sending their problem students to Dyett. Oops! So where are the "You can't conform to the AUSL policies and rules so you have to go," students going to wind up? Hyde Park? Dunbar? Where are the options for these children? Who is going to take the time to turn THEM around into young people who care about themselves, others, and where they will be in society in the future? Better yet, who will want to work and try to teach in an environment full of these types of children? I'm working in a high school now that gets the students who these "successful charters and turnarounds" put out.
    Oh, and Price. Off the chain for the last few years with little children who think they run the school and tell the adults what to do. Now Mayo and NTA will have to absorb these students?

    It's time the truth is presented to the public in a straightforward and honest manner and the ruse that has been going on under the name of school reform in Chicago is exposed. Shame on CPS, the Mayor, and the school reform chronies for handing out such a pile of BS. It stinks to high heaven and the stench is covering us all disguised like a blanket of hope..

  • In reply to SameOlStuffDiffDay:

    Dear Sameolstuffdiffday, Amen.

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