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CPS Forms Near South Community Steering Committee to Provide Guidance on Planned Expansion of High Quality Neighborhood Options

10 October 2017

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools announced today that it has taken the next step in the process to expand high-quality neighborhood school options for the near south community by bringing together a group of community leaders, educators and parents to form a steering committee that will provide critical input as the process moves forward.

CPS has asked the group to inform key decisions such as transition planning, individualized student supports and school culture building. The steering committee’s work will occur in addition to public meetings and briefings that will continue to be held throughout this process.

“This proposal will provide the near south community with a strengthened elementary school and much-needed neighborhood high school that community members advocated for decades,” said Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool. “If approved, this proposal will create a continuum of elementary and high school options that ensure students are able to pursue a high quality education in their neighborhood with their peers.”

In August, the district announced a plan to expand South Loop Elementary’s boundary south to 22nd Street and gradually transition National Teachers Academy (NTA) into a neighborhood high school. If approved by the board, this will create a set of high quality neighborhood schools that will serve students from preschool through high school while reflecting the rich diversity of the near south community.

“When we bring these schools together, we will be creating a school community that is more diverse and equitable than ever before,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “We understand that a school transformation of this scale will bring challenges along the way, but we are confident our children and the surrounding community will benefit from this unification of the near south community for generations to come.”

This steering committee, which will meet monthly with CPS officials, is one aspect of a broader effort to proactively collect input from the near south community and provide transparency into CPS decision making. The district will also hold public meetings to gather feedback from the community and provide updates on steering committee discussions. In addition, notes from each steering committee meeting will be published to ensure transparency throughout the process.

To form this steering committee, CPS consulted various community partners to develop a group of leaders with diverse backgrounds and perspectives within the near south community, including representatives from South Loop Elementary, NTA and community organizations from the surrounding neighborhoods. A complete list of steering committee members can be found below.

Near South Community Leadership Steering Committee Members

Name Title / Organization
Chip Johnson (facilitator) Chief Officer - Family and Community Engagement in Education (FACE)
Yvonne Franklin Drake LSC Chair
Pastor Earl Grandberry Pastor, True Rock Ministries
Chandra Green NTA parent and former Ickes resident
Elizabeth Greer NTA LSC Chair
Cristina Hall NTA parent; President, Greater South Loop Association
Audrey Johnson NTA parent
Lisa Johnson South Loop ES parent
Phyllis Cavallone-Jurek Principal, St. Therese Chinese Catholic School
Annise Lewis Director of School Leadership, Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL)
Debbie Liu Community Development Coordinator, CBCAC; Healy LSC member
Jennifer Rakstad South Loop ES parent
Bonnie Sanchez President, Near South Planning Board
Saadia Siddique South Loop ES parent
Angela Stinson-Marti South Loop ES LSC Chair
Kewanee Taylor NTA parent; Hilliard Homes resident
Ashley White NTA parent
Maner Wiley Hilliard Homes, Holsten Human Capital Development
Lavette Williams Drake parent
David Wu Executive Director, Pui Tak Center

Chicago Public Schools serves 381,000 students in 652 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.