February 14, 2012
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials today released the final reports of independent hearing officers containing their recommendations and findings on CPS proposed school actions, unanimously agreeing with the CPS plan to turnaround an additional 10 failing schools. The completed reports follow two weeks of public hearings and in-depth analysis of the impact such actions will have on nearly 6,000 students who are attending some of the lowest performing schools in the District. The Chicago Board of Education will vote on the proposed school actions at its next meeting, February 22.
CPS CEO Jean Claude Brizard welcomed the hearing officers’ reports noting their findings reinforce what District officials are working to accomplish.
“We have an obligation as adults to put the academic needs of our children before all else. As these hearing officers indicated in their recommendations, the status quo that failed our students year after year can no longer be defended,” said Brizard. “Our students deserve an opportunity to access a high quality education and a chance at academic success. We believe turning around these 10 low performing schools will give them that opportunity.”
If approved by the Board, CPS will designate CPS’ Office of School Improvement (OSI) to implement the turnaround strategy at four schools serving nearly 3,000 students and the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) to implement the turnaround strategy at six proposed schools serving nearly 3,200 students.
At the hearings, CPS presented hearing officers with evidence outlining the rationale for the proposed turnaround actions. The materials presented included:
- An opening statement on behalf of the CEO by an attorney presenting CPS’ proposal to the Hearing Officer
- The proposed schools’ performance over the past years including: probation status, review of the Performance Policy, student growth scores to assess the school’s impact on academic growth, ISAT and PSAE (state standards) scores in reading, math and composite, drop-out rates and attendance rates
- District programmatic, academic and funding supports that have been provided to the proposed schools over time
- Future supports that would be provided to proposed schools
CPS has proposed six schools for turnaround by AUSL, which has a strong overall track record of increasing student academic achievement. Every AUSL school has outpaced the District in growth since undergoing turnaround, and year after year the average growth for AUSL turnarounds have significantly exceeded the District’s average growth. This past year alone, AUSL schools more than doubled the District’s average in growth.
In addition, CPS has proposed four schools for turnaround by OSI. OSI will make significant investments in teacher training, professional development and student academic supports to ensure students receive the time and resources they need to succeed. OSI elementary school turnarounds also showed academic growth at nearly twice the District average for composite ISAT scores, jumping 6.3 percentage points compared to the District’s gains of 3.8 percentage points.
Schools affected by the current turnaround proposal are:
- Pablo Casals Elementary School, 3501 W. Potomac Avenue, which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years
- Melville W. Fuller Elementary School, 4214 S. Saint Lawrence Avenue, which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years
- Theodore Herzl Elementary School, 3711 W. Douglas Blvd., which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years
- Marquette Elementary School, 6550 S Richmond St., which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years
- Brian Piccolo Elementary Specialty School, 1040 N Keeler Ave., which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years
- Amos Alonzo Stagg Elementary School, 7424 S Morgan St., which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years
- Chicago Vocational Career Academy (CVCA) High School, 2100 E 87th St., which has been on academic probation for 10 consecutive years
- Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School, 4747 S Union Ave., which has been on academic probation for eight consecutive years
- Wendell Smith Elementary School, 744 E 103rd St., which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years
- Carter G. Woodson South Elementary School, 4414 S Evans, which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years
Across the District, CPS students are facing significant challenges. More than 123,000 students attend underperforming schools, which represents nearly one-third of all seats in CPS. In 2011, only 7.9 percent of all 11th graders tested college ready, and over 250 schools are on probation.
Last week, the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research released a report that stated CPS elementary schools that underwent turnaround reforms produced better academic results than other similar District schools that did not undergo turnaround. Findings of the report project that over a period of four years, the gap in test scores between turnaround schools and the District average will be reduced by half in reading and two thirds in math. During this time, test scores at similar schools that were not turned around are expected to show virtually no growth.
For a complete listing of Proposed School Action Transition Plans and Hearing Officer Reports, please continue reading here.
Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.