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LOCAL News :: Children & Education

BREAKING NEWS! CPS Rescinds Closure of Six Schools

Following is the statement released this evening from Chicago Public Schools detailing why the decision to close these six schools was rescinded.

Please note that the the actions to save the other schools are still on. This includes the Tuesday 7pm vigil, the overnight campout and the 3:30 rally, all at Chicago Board of Education, 125 South Clark. Be there.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

February 23, 2009

CPS WITHDRAWS PROPOSALS FOR PEABODY, YALE, LAS CASAS, HOLMES, GLOBAL VISIONS AND HAMILTON

Officials Cite Compelling Community Testimony & Improved Scores

Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman announced today that six schools have been taken off the list of school closures, turnarounds and consolidations, after community groups and parents provided compelling arguments in support of the neighborhood schools and their performance levels.

Consistent with the purpose of holding public hearings, a series of community meetings were held where school officials provided public comment opportunities for parents, local school council members, teachers, and community leaders.

"The purpose of conducting public hearing meetings where open dialogue can be exchanged provides school officials with the opportunity to hear first hand from those most affected by the proposed changes," said Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman. "Closing a school is not an easy task, nor is it popular. But it is our responsibility to be inclusive and open minded so that we achieve an end result that benefits the students, parents, faculty and community," he added.

Peabody Elementary School was originally slated to close due to under-enrollment. The community provided new insight into space utilization. When this information was taken into consideration, Peabody no longer met the under-enrollment criteria.

Las Casas, a vocational school for special needs children, was also recommended for closure. Parents expressed concern over alternatives for current special needs students, and it was determined that more time was required to work with parents on best options for all students.

Yale Elementary School was recommended as a "turnaround" school, based on its academic performance. However, given Yale's improvement in the areas of reading and math over the last three years, it was determined that Yale would be given additional time to improve its performance.

Despite Hamilton School's relatively low utilization, students at the school performed well in ISAT testing, 82.4 vs. a district average of 65.5 (with English Language Learners included). Given its high performance, it was determined that more needed to be done to address under-enrollment. Hamilton had been recommended for phase-out.

Holmes met the turnaround criteria and its long term trends are showing improvement. At the public hearing, school officials, parents and community members touted teacher dedication, collaboration and initiatives they are putting in place to further increase student achievement. There were also discussions with the Local School Council about working with central office to select a new principal. Given the positive trend in test scores, it was determined that Holmes would be given additional time to continue progress. Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins stated, "We will complete a comprehensive review of the academic, social and performance data to determine the best way to support Holmes' continued progress."

While Global Visions High School had the lowest enrollment of the four existing small schools in the Bowen Campus, the school demonstrated the highest PSAE composite score compared to the other schools within the Bowen Campus. It was therefore determined more time was needed to review this recommendation.

CPS has been, and is committed to continuing to work with all stakeholders. CEO Ron Huberman stressed that school closings require a comprehensive review that includes the community, students, parents, teachers, principals and union leaders. "We are committed to on-going discussions about the most effective strategies to improve students' performance."

The decision to withdraw proposals to close or turnaround Peabody Elementary School (1444 W. Augusta Ave); Las Casas (8401 S. Saginaw Ave,); Yale Elementary School (7025 S. Princeton Ave.), Hamilton Elementary School (1650 W. Cornelia Ave.), Holmes Elementary School (955 W. Garfield Blvd.) and Global Visions High School (2710 E. 89th St.) will be presented at the February 25th Board Meeting. Board members are expected to vote on the proposed recommendations.

Peabody, Yale, Las Casas, Hamilton, Holmes and Global Visions are among 22 Chicago Public Schools proposed for changes earlier this year.

Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 405,000 students in 650 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school district.
 
 

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