December 19, 2012
Today the Chicago Board of Education (Board) approved several new high-quality school options for Chicago students in the upcoming school year. These options include new and expanded International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes to create six “wall-to-wall” IB high schools, a new magnet school focused on health sciences, two new Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, as well as additional charter and contract school options.
“The addition of these high-quality school options for our students and parents moves us in the right direction toward providing every child across Chicago with the world-class education they deserve,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “New, rigorous curriculum implemented with these options will help prepare our children with the skills they’ll need to be successful not only in school, but college and career.”
The Board approved the establishment of a brand-new, state-of-the-art Back of the Yards IB High School, the addition of an IB programme at Clemente High School, as well as the expansion of IB programmes at Senn, Hyde Park, Taft and Lincoln Park high schools. Starting next school year, all six schools will offer wall-to-wall IB programmes, which give all students who attend the school the opportunity to take some IB coursework.
The Board also approved the addition of two CTE programs at Jones College Preparatory High School, which will provide focused coursework in pre-engineering and pre-law. The programs each will entail four years of honors-level, industry-specific instruction that will supplement core academic requirements and expose students to real-world opportunities, such as internships and job shadows.
As a result of teamwork between the community and CPS, the Board approved the establishment of the new magnet Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School (RTC), which will become Chicago’s first public high school dedicated to preparing students for careers or post-secondary education in health sciences. The idea for the school was developed by the Crane Transformation Task Force, which was created by CPS. Through the Task Force, CPS and the Crane Coalition, a group of parents, teachers and community leaders committed to quality education, worked together to decide how to best use available school space and provide more school options for the community.
Through its Call for Quality Schools, the District sought teachers, administrators, national education management organizations, current school leadership teams and non-profit institutions from Chicago and throughout the United States to submit proposals that demonstrate the capacity to start new, high-quality schools under the District, charter, contract and alternative school models. Operators were required to demonstrate a strong track record of driving significant academic gains with student populations similar to CPS including students with disabilities, English Language Learners, students who qualify for free and reduced lunch rates, and students in temporary living situations.
The Board approved the proposals of two new charter schools, one alternative contract school and one contract-to-charter conversion, all of which will open in September 2013:
- Charters – Chicago Collegiate Charter School and Intrinsic School
- Alternative contract – Camelot
- Contract-to-charter conversion – Frazier Preparatory Academy
At the request of CEO Byrd-Bennett, the Board deferred votes on the proposals of two charter schools, Orange and Foundations Academy, so the CEO can have additional time to review these proposals.
Additionally, the Board approved the expansion of grade levels at these schools starting in fall 2013:
- Rickover Naval Academy High School, requesting to add grades seven and eight
- Marine Military Math and Science Academy, requesting to add grades seven and eight
- Disney II Magnet School, requesting to add grades nine through 12
New charter and contract schools approved by the Board do not have designated locations at this time, and will not be given any facilities that may be closed or consolidated as part of CPS’ efforts to right-size the District. Byrd-Bennett recently has said that CPS will work with new charter operators to locate facilities in areas that are experiencing overcrowding in addition to those that are in need of high-quality school options.
Finally, the Board denied the proposals of five charter and contract school operators to open new schools next fall. The operators submitted applications, but they did not meet the Call for Quality Schools standards. Recently, CPS announced its intent to take action on under-performing charter schools that are up for contract renewal in June 2013. The charter contract renewal process entails a thorough and rigorous examination of key academic, compliance and fiscal management areas to determine each school’s renewal status recommendation and conditions for renewal, as necessary. If a charter is low-performing the Board may take action, including non-renewal of contracts or shortened contract renewals with conditions, which may result in charter school closings.
Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.