3 North Lawndale neighborhood schools face closures as council looks to create new school with UIC partnership

North Lawndale neighborhood could see closures of Sumner, Crown and Lawndale Academy

ByABC 7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, October 31, 2020
North Lawndale neighborhood facing three school closures
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North Lawndale is facing closure of three neighborhood schools as part of a community plan.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Residents in North Lawndale are fighting back against three more proposed school closures on the West Side.

Parents, teachers and community members announced their opposition to the proposal that would create a new STEAM academy in North Lawndale, but would lead to the closing of other schools.

The project, spearheaded by the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council, would mean the closure of Sumner Elementary, Crown Community Academy and Lawndale Community Academy. Individuals who are against the project say they want the money invested in those schools instead.

The proposed school project would include a partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago, who says it hopes the new STEAM school would lead more students from North Lawndale to attend UIC through the pipeline. The UIC partnership would help to develop the curriculum and place interns at the school to support after-school programs, tutoring and social-emotional services.

Creating the new school is part of the Quality of Life Plan that launched in 2018 as a community-driven blueprint for improving key issues including housing, health and public safety in Lawndale.

Betty Allen Green from the neighborhood's education committee told the Chicago Board of Education Friday that there has been an exodus of West Side students to schools in other neighborhoods. An estimated 600 students travel out of Lawndale to access quality educational programs not found in their own neighborhood. This has left schools within the community highly underutilized, according to Green.

"Whatever options our children choose, we should be able to provide it to them right here in the North Lawndale community," Green said.