***A video of Dr. Jackson announcing the revised proposal is available at https://twitter.com/janicejackson/status/963114705236758528
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, February 12, 2018
CPS Office of Communications
– Following an extensive community engagement process involving community meetings, parent meetings, a public hearing, and regular discussions with elected officials and the Englewood Steering Committee, CPS is adjusting its Englewood High School proposal to allow current students at Harper, Hope and TEAM High Schools to graduate from their schools. As CPS moves forward with building a state-of-the-art, $85 million neighborhood high school campus in Englewood, this adjustment will help the district and the community meet their shared goal of providing every student the high-quality education they deserve.
“Englewood students deserve a state-of-the-art high school and a world-class education, which is why we’re excited to build an $85 million campus that will rival the city’s best schools,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “At the same time, we want to honor current students and their families, and we’ve heard that many of them want to be able to stay and graduate from their current schools. We’re happy to adjust our plans to take their feedback into account, and we will continue to support these students with additional resources throughout the transition.”
Last year, CPS acted on a formal recommendation from the Englewood Community Action Council (CAC) to build a single state-of-the-art campus to serve the Harper, Hope, Robeson and TEAM communities. In December, CPS proposed closing the four schools at the end of the year due to low enrollment and providing $8.5 million in transition supports to help ensure students find a school next year that will allow them to finish high school successfully.
The recommendation was due to a high percentage of students seeking other options, and the need for a state-of-the-art campus in the community. Englewood has the sixth largest high school age population in the city, but more than 90 percent of current students leave the neighborhood to attend high school, and current enrollment at the four schools ranges from 90 students to 135 students.
When CPS agreed to work toward a solution to address high school needs in Englewood, the district committed to a process of gathering feedback and listening to the community. Since January 2017, CPS has held over 10 Englewood CAC meetings, 6 Steering Committee meetings, 10 office hour sessions, more than 10 meetings with parents and students, and several other meetings to discuss the proposal with teachers, LSCs, elected officials, administrators and the broader community.
Today, CPS announced that it is modifying the Englewood proposal in response to feedback from the community. Under the revised proposal, CPS will continue to move forward with the development of a new, state-of-the-art school at Robeson’s site but the district will delay the closure of Harper, Hope and TEAM over the next three years to allow students to finish high school at their current school. Since Harper, Hope and TEAM will close after current freshman graduate, freshman will not be admitted next year and the attendance areas for the schools will be assigned to higher performing neighborhood high schools in 2018 and the new, state-of-the-art Englewood high school in 2019.
Over the next three years, CPS will provide each Englewood high school with program support funding to ensure core subjects are available and students can graduate with all required classes.
Robeson High School will close at the end of the current school year so that the new school can be built and accept its first class of students in 2019. To help ensure current Robeson students have a successful high school experience that meets their unique needs, CPS has committed to extensive, individualized transition supports including tutoring and academic resources, summer academic supports, free CTA cards to travel to and from school each day, and safety plans for all students, among other resources. Robeson students will have access to multiple higher performing schools near their community.
Although current Harper, Hope and TEAM students are welcome to stay at their schools under the revised proposal, CPS is also committed to supporting students who have decided transitioning to a new high school is best for them. If students at Harper, Hope and TEAM choose to attend another CPS school next year, the district will offer them the full scope of transition supports that were outlined in the district’s December proposal and are available to Robeson students.
Under the revised proposal, the designated neighborhood schools for students who are entering high school next year will be the same schools that were outlined in the proposal released by the district in December (Bogan, Gage Park, Phillips and Chicago Vocational Career Academy). Students have had the opportunity through GoCPS to apply to any other high school in the district that they qualify to attend, but they will receive a guaranteed option at their designated neighborhood school next year.
Additionally, in response to feedback regarding the future of the Harper High School building, CPS will fund a third-party study after the delayed closure to evaluate options for the best reuse of the facility. Potential options could include an elementary school, a citywide high school with a specialty focus, community uses including job training centers or business incubators, and other ideas that may be generated by the community.
The Chicago Board of Education could consider this proposal as soon as the Feb. 28 board meeting.
Chicago Public Schools serves 371,000 students in 646 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.