Auburn-Gresham school against turnaround proposal

CPS wants to change the course for three schools, including Gresham Elementary School, by replacing the staff.
April 8, 2014 3:01:38 PM PDT
Chicago Public Schools wants to change the course for three schools, including Gresham Elementary School, by replacing the staff. The proposal to include Gresham as a turnaround school is met with resistance from some in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood.

"I am going to fight for my teachers and my students. That's what it's about," Gresham Elementary School Principal Dr. Diedrus Brown said.

At Gresham Elementary School, teachers and staff help students get ready to learn before the school day begins. They clean uniforms and offer toiletries to students with struggling families.

"What is it we're telling our own students in our own communities about who is worthy to teach them. I think we need to have some real honest conversation about that, too," Chicago Teachers Union Karen Lewis said.

Three schools are being considered for the CPS turnaround program because of poor academic performance and culture: Gresham, McNair Elementary and Dvorak Academy. Turnarounds are managed by the Academy for Urban School Learning (AUSL). AUSL brings in new leadership, teachers and staff, as well as additional programs and upgraded facilities.

CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett issued a statement that read, in part: "We do not take a decision to bring systemic change to a school lightly, but when change is in the best interest of our students, we will not waver. We are committed to ensuring all of our students have access to a high-quality education and right now that is not what the students at Gresham are receiving. "

Anthony Jackson, whose son attends Gresham, disagrees with the turnaround proposal.

"He's on the honor roll. Just got his report card yesterday. he's back on honor roll. He continuously on honor roll. And you try and tell me these teachers don't care?" Jackson said.

The public will be allowed to comment on the turnaround proposal at the school board meeting on April 23. After that, the school board is expected to vote.


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