Cardenas-Castellanos Community Actions: Community Request to Consolidate
Cardenas and Castellanos share a boundary and a principal, but serve different grades. Currently, Cardenas serves students from kindergarten through third grade, with a pre-kindergarten program. Castellanos serves students from fourth through eighth grade.
This proposal would consolidate the schools administratively. Students through third grade would continue to attend the Cardenas building and students in fourth grade and above would attend the Castellanos building.
The Local School Councils for both schools requested this action.
Englewood Community Actions: Investing Nearly $100M in Expanding Quality
CPS will be investing nearly $100 million in Englewood to both build a new, state-of-the-art high school and provide approximately $8.3 million in individualized transition supports for students affected by the proposed school actions.
As of today, a higher share of Englewood students – more than 90 percent – leave their neighborhood for high school, a higher percentage than any other neighborhood in the city. At the request of the community, earlier this year, CPS announced it would build a new, state-of-the-art high school in Englewood to keep neighborhood students in the neighborhood.
The $85 million high school will open in the fall of 2019, and will serve freshmen as it builds to a full 9-12 high school. UJAMAA/Power II Joint Venture, a minority-lead firm, will complete the design and construction of the school, which will serve approximately 1,200 students with music, art, health, dance, multi-purpose and standard classrooms. Additional site improvements will include fields for baseball, softball, football and track. There will also be tennis and basketball courts located within the sports quad. The building will also house a self-contained school-based health center designed to support both students and the community-at-large.
For the construction of the school, UJAMAA/Power II Joint Venture has committed to hiring residents of the City of Chicago and those who live in the community area where the project is being built. The firm will host hiring fairs in Englewood prior to construction.
In addition to the new school, the Englewood community has recognized the enrollment challenges that are taking place in four existing neighborhood schools: Hope, Harper, Robeson and TEAM Englewood. Over the past 10 years, each of these schools have seen declines in enrollment of 70 to 85 percent, with current enrollment between 90 and 135 students at each school. As a result of these trends, the Englewood Community Action Council (CAC) recommended that CPS both create a state-of-the-art neighborhood high school in Englewood and consolidate existing neighborhood high schools in Englewood. In turn, in June 2017, CPS followed through on the recommendation by formally proposing an investment to create a state-of-the-art neighborhood high school, now worth $85 million.
Following the Englewood CAC’s recommendation, CPS also formed a Community Leadership Steering Committee
to work through the details of this proposal, including planning for the new high school and developing a plan for the current Englewood high schools and students. Over multiple meetings between the Steering Committee and CPS leadership as well as tours of the existing Englewood high schools, a variety of options were considered for the current Englewood high schools, including closure and multi-year phase outs. Ultimately, a vote was taken on two options and the majority vote of the Steering Committee was to close the high schools at the end of 2017-18 school year and provide robust, individualized support to transition current students to other higher performing high schools that are a good match for their needs.
CPS has budgeted $8.3 million to provide assistance to students attending the four existing Englewood high schools to create targeted, individualized academic and safety plans for their transitions. Schools where Englewood students transfer will receive a portion of the funding to ensure that students are supported before, during and after the transition. Students currently in 9th through 11th grades will be given the opportunity to attend a higher performing school in the area. These students will all receive individualized attention to determine their transition school, including a unique academic and safety plan.
In the case that students or families choose not to use individualized planning, they will continue to have the option to attend a neighborhood high school. While the district anticipates that the vast majority of the roughly 330 students currently enrolled in the four schools will use individualized planning supports, CPS will also ensure that every student has a neighborhood high school as a default backup. As a result, CPS is proposing adjusting the following school boundaries: