December 12, 2011
Chicago Public Schools will propose 12 new charter school campuses aimed at providing a higher quality school option for 9,200 students in high-need communities on Chicago’s South and West Sides. The addition of these schools is part of the district’s overarching strategy to provide high quality educational options for every child, in every community to further the district’s mission of graduating all students ready for college and career. The proposals will go before the Board of Education for a vote on Wednesday.
“With more than 120,000 CPS students currently in underperforming schools, we are working to expand access to higher quality school options in every community to help serve the needs of students that the system has failed – and do so quickly with the options available to us. Charters are one tool we can use to expand these opportunities as we also take steps to provide all schools with new tools to boost student achievement, including lengthening the school day to create more time for instruction in math, reading and science, and building a more rigorous curriculum to better prepare students for college and career,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard.
The majority of the charter campuses under consideration, 10, are replications of existing charter schools. These charter operators have proven track records of boosting student achievement and creating strong learning environments that promote student academic growth. Expansions of existing charter include:
- Noble Charter School Network would replicate its charter campuses, opening two new 9-12 campuses in 2012 and two new 9-12 campuses in 2013. This would add 3,600 high quality seats for students across the four campuses. Noble currently operates ten campuses throughout the city with students in the majority of those campuses outperforming the district.
- UNO Charter School Network is slated to open three new K-8 campuses in September 2013. The majority of UNO campuses outperform the district on ISAT tests.
- LEARN Charter School Network would open three new K-8 campuses, one in September 2012 and two in September 2013. The LEARN Charter School network currently operates five charter campuses throughout Chicago within high-need communities. Campuses currently receiving CPS ratings are demonstrating strong academic performance and growth.
In addition, CPS is proposing to add two new charters:
- Catalyst Schools proposes to open a new K-12 charter school located in the Chicago Lawn community at 6727 S. California, the former Maria High School Building. Catalyst Schools provide high-quality, college preparatory education in high need areas with a focus on civic responsibility and college success.
- Christopher House, Inc. aims to open a new K-8 charter school in the fall of 2013 located at 2250 N. Latrobe in the Belmont-Cragin community. Christopher House has a track record of running successful education programs for 4,000 Chicago children, focusing on early childhood programs, youth development programs and supportive services for the entire family. Christopher House has committed to building a Family Resource Center on the proposed school site that will offer social services, family supports, parent classes, and other resources to students and their families.
The majority of campuses proposed will be located in high-need areas on the South and West Sides of Chicago. The campuses proposed have undergone an extensive review process. CPS announced the initial requests for qualifications in April, followed by requests for proposals in June. Recommendations were reviewed by senior leadership in September. Comprehensive outreach to communities about the proposed charters included 5 community forums in October and a formal Public Hearing held on November 22, 2011. As schools select locations, additional community hearings will be held in each of those neighborhoods to gain input from the parents and other key stakeholders.
CPS has authorized 41 charters to organizations to run schools throughout the district. Currently, there are 109 charter campuses citywide serving approximately 44,000 students, which represent 11% of all students in CPS. State Law caps the total number of charters that CPS can provide at 70.
Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.