Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman announced today that four schools have been taken off the list of proposed school actions -- closures, phase-outs, consolidations and turnarounds -- following a series of public and community hearings and his review of testimony and the reports of independent hearing officers.
A fifth school which was originally proposed for closure will instead remain open and undergo reconstitution via the District’s turnaround strategy to improve academic performance.
Huberman said his final recommendations on school actions will be presented to Chicago Board of Education members at their meeting next week.
“The public hearing process is designed to allow for open dialogue between all concerned parties, and to provide the opportunity for school officials to hear first-hand from those most affected by these proposed changes,” Huberman said. “We know well that closing a school is not an easy task, nor is it popular. But our process allows for substantial input from stakeholders so that we achieve an end result that benefits the students, parents, faculty and community.”
Huberman said he has removed from the original school actions list these schools for the following reasons:
- Frank L. Gillespie, 9301 S. State St. Huberman said testimony at the public hearing, and further review by District staff, has indicated that the school’s leadership has been engaged in locally driven changes that show great promise for increasing academic achievement. Gillespie was originally proposed for turnaround due to low academic performance.
- Irvin C. Mollison, 4415 South King Drive. Mollison was originally proposed to be consolidated, due to low academic performance, with Ida B. Wells Prep Elementary School in the current Mollison building as the Wells-Mollison School. Huberman said after some deliberation, CPS officials questioned whether the Wells educational model would transfer comfortably to Mollison. Wells will remain at its current location at 244 E. Pershing Road.
- Simon Guggenheim, 7141 S. Morgan. Huberman cited concerns over student transit to and from school voiced in testimony at the public hearing which was further investigated by CPS staff. Guggenheim was originally proposed for closure due to low academic performance.
- Ignance Paderewski Elementary School, 2221 S. Lawndale Ave. Huberman cited concerns over student transit to and from school voiced in testimony at the public hearing which was further investigated by CPS staff. Paderewski had been proposed for closure due to low student enrollment.
In addition, Huberman announced that George W. Curtis Elementary School, 32 E. 115th St., will not be closed because of low academic performance as originally proposed, but instead will be subject to a turnaround led by the Academy for Urban School Leadership.
Huberman said the process of public and community hearings continues to yield valuable testimony, but that CPS is committed to an even more open and transparent process in considering any future school actions.
“We will be establishing a formal unit charged with early identification of schools that are underperforming academically and helping design interventions and strategies to get them on track,” Huberman said. “We want to have better – and more timely – dialogue with the stakeholders, school and community leaders at schools that might qualify for a school action under our policies.”
Schools that will be recommended for closure to the Chicago Board of Education next week include:
- William H. Prescott Elementary School, 1632 West Wrightwood Ave., because its student enrollment is far below operational efficiency. Designated receiving schools are Louis A. Agassiz, 2851 N. Seminary Ave., and Augustus H. Burley, 1630 W. Barry, Elementary Schools.
- Bartholome De Las Casas Occupational High School, 8401 S. Saginaw Ave, because of facilities-related reasons. Students from this special needs school will be placed with private providers that can meet their needs.
Huberman said two schools are being proposed for consolidation:
- Helen J. McCorkle Elementary School, 4421 S. State St., because of the poor condition of its facility. Ludwig Beethoven Elementary School, 25 W. 47th St. which has been designated as the receiving school for McCorkle students, will receive $8.5 million in capital improvements during the summer.
- Guglielmo Marconi Elementary School, 230 N. Kolmar Ave., due to under enrollment will be consolidated with George W. Tilton Elementary School, 223 North Keeler Ave., to form Tilton-Marconi School. Other school options for Marconi students will include Ericson, Gregory and Calhoun North Elementary Schools.
“New criteria and guidelines were used to help guide us through the process this year,” Huberman said. “Students whose schools are ultimately approved for consolidation or closure this year will be covered under the School Closings Student Bill of Rights, which will provide them with additional safeguards, supports and programmatic opportunities as they transition into their new schools.”
Huberman said in addition to Curtis, three other schools are being proposed for turnaround by AUSL.
- Myra Bradwell Elementary School, 7736 South Burnham
- Charles S. Deneen Elementary School, 7257 South State St.
- Wendell Phillips High School, 244 East Pershing Road
The current John Marshall High School, 3250 W. Adams, is proposed to be turned around by the CPS Office of School Turnarounds, part of the District’s Chief Education Office.
Under the turnaround strategy, students stay at their school and new leadership and staff are brought in to change the school culture and performance expectations.
Huberman said one school is being proposed for phase-out because of low enrollment:
- George Schneider Elementary School, 2957 North Hoyne Ave. In a phase-out, existing students may stay at the school but the school will decrease by one grade level per year.
“Our administrative team invested countless hours into ensuring a fair and open process. The participation by Board Members at every hearing underscores the importance and weight they give to the process and to community concerns.”
Chicago Public Schools serves 417,855 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.