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Press Release

Chicago Board of Education Approves Proposals to Give 7,500 Students in Low Performing Schools Access to Higher Quality School Options  

 
“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,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard.

 

February 22, 2012

 

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.

 

About CPS

Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.

 

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