Chicago Public Schools to Proposes Providing 7,800 Students in Chronically Underperforming Schools with Access to Higher Quality School Options
5,800 of those students would attend 10 proposed turnaround schools next fall
CHICAGO -- Chicago Public Schools officials today announced a series of proposed school actions that focus on providing students from among the district's lowest performing schools with access to higher quality school options and making significant investments to help boost their academic development. These 20 school actions will help fulfill the district's mission to increase student academic achievement and graduate them ready for college and career.
The challenges facing CPS students are extensive. There are more than 123,000 students in underperforming schools throughout the district, representing nearly one-third of all seats in CPS. In 2011 only 7.9 percent of all 11th graders tested college ready, while the graduation rate stands at 57.5 percent. Achievement gaps for African American and Latino students have continued to widen over the last 20 years in Chicago.
"Every child in every community in Chicago deserves a high quality education, which is why we are making the tough choices today to put our students on the path toward college and career success," said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. "Our students have one chance at a quality education and they cannot wait another year for the level of instruction and support they deserve to become successful."
The new School Actions Guidelines recently adopted by the Chicago Board of Education have been used to help the district identify those schools and communities with the greatest need for higher quality school options. Under the new guidelines, CPS is proposing to close two schools, close three schools in the final stages of phasing out, phase out two schools and implement colocations at another three schools.
In addition, CPS has proposed turnarounds in more schools this year than in any previous. Turnarounds will provide approximately 5,800 students in 10 schools with access to a quality school option without moving to another school building. This represents 74.3 percent of all students impacted by proposed school actions this year. Turnarounds build successful students because of two critical investments: a top-to-bottom school transformation, and comprehensive teacher training that prepares them to tackle to challenges of growing student achievement within low-performing schools. Students return in the fall to renovated facilities, a new curriculum, a new principal, new teachers, and an entirely new culture of success.
Turnarounds: 10 schools, 5,800 students
The Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), which currently implements the turnaround strategy in 12 CPS schools, would be designated to implement the turnaround strategy at six of the schools serving nearly 3,200 students:
CPS Office of School Improvement would implement the turnaround strategy at four other schools serving 2,650 students including:
Closures: 2 schools, 400 students
The district is considering closing two elementary schools for chronic low performance. Approximately 400 students would be impacted, representing only five percent of students impacted by proposed school actions. Students will be moved into better performing schools in their area but, unlike the past, CPS will make additional unprecedented investments in these receiving schools to make them even better. Those investments may include:
CPS will also take every necessary step to ensure the safety and security of students in all schools, with particular attention to students moving into new schools. Among the steps being taken is the assignment of additional Safe Passage to receiving schools to help get students to and from school safely. CPS will also work closely with other City agencies that are actively engaged in the safety and security of children to build a foun-dation for safety plans at every school, including the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Transit Authority and CPS safety specialists.
Schools being considered for closure include:
Phase-outs being closed: 3 schools, 127 students
Three additional schools that have already been in the phase-out process due to low performance, will be closed this year. In addition to having chronic low performance when the phase-out process began, these schools have low enrollment or no enrollment, making closure the best option to provide existing students with the resources and teaching staff they need to succeed. Attendance boundaries for these phase-out schools were already reassigned to other schools under previous board actions. These schools include:
Phase-outs: 2 schools, 950 students
In addition, two phase-outs are being proposed which would impact 950 students. In a phase-out, existing students may remain enrolled at the school, but the school will not enroll any new students and will decrease by one grade level per year. Incoming freshman students who live in the current boundary for either school will be reassigned to a higher performing neighboring high school. Schools being considered for phase-out include:
Incoming freshmen that would have gone to Dyett would now attend Phillips High School, an AUSL turnaround school. The majority of incoming freshmen that would have attended Crane will be reassigned to Wells High School.
Co-locations: 3 schools, 1292 students
CPS is also proposing co-locations of charter schools within existing traditional CPS schools that are under-enrolled and have the capacity to hold additional students. These co-locations will provide students with access to high quality school options within neighborhoods on the South and West Sides. Proposed co-locations include:
The new School Actions Guidelines provide clear and transparent information on how schools are chosen to be considered for actions and what metrics are being used to define underperforming schools. The guidelines include:
The school actions list was further refined by taking into account other significant factors that influence school quality, including the school climate, condition of facilities, quality of leaders and community feedback. After reviewing all of these factors, the CEO will determine which schools will be proposed to the Board for consideration.
Proposals for school action will be communicated to parents on December 1, as required by SB 630, which has now become law. Elected officials and LSC members will be fully briefed as well. Detailed informational packets will be delivered to every member of the school staff and every parent/guardian including all the specifics about the proposal, the public hearings and community meetings, and the new educational options available to students. Parents will also receive a letter detailing the proposed school action and what it means for their child. CPS staff will be available to answer parent questions at the school as well as through the CPS Quality Schools Hotline at 773-553-5020.
There will also be significant opportunity for the parents and the public to provide feedback on any proposed school actions, including a formal public hearing - and, for closures and phase-outs, two additional community meetings. Parents, community members and the public can comment on the proposals during these meetings in January and February. CPS will evaluate the testimony presented and careful consider the issues raised during these meetings prior to presenting final recommendations to the Chicago Board of Education for a vote.
In addition, parents and stakeholders can provide feedback through the CPS website, emails and by attending Board of Education meetings in December, January and February.
More information on the School Actions process can be found at the CPS website by visiting www.cps.edu/qualityschools