Waiting for the Other Shoe To Drop (Chicago IL)

The Board is today announcing a slate of 18 "new" schools to be created under Renaissance 2010, but leaving the announcement of which schools will be closed until next week. Reactions so far have been mixed, but there are a few minor surprises and notable exceptions that might be of interest:

There are at least two instances where the Board is over-riding the advisory committees:

Under Renaissance 2010, the Board created 10 transitional advisory committees to review proposals and make nonbiding recommendations to the Board.

Haugan Middle School, 3729 W. Leland, a brand new school built to relieve overcrowding, will be a charter school serving grades six through eight and run by ASPIRA, which currently runs the Mirta Ramirez Charter School. ASPIRA won out over another proposal submitted by one of Chicago's area instructional officers, according to the Sun-Times -- overriding the advisory committee's first choice.

Mid-South Scholastic, 3200 S. Calumet Ave., formerly the Douglas School, the school would reopen as a middle school and be run by the current assistant principal at nearby Pershing Magnet School. The Sun-Times reports that the successful Pershing Elementary School be "demagnetized" to make room for a new neighborhood school affiliated with nearby Douglas, and that the choice of Mid-South Scholastic was not the top choice of the advisory committee there: Pershing school could lose magnet status under plan.

In other situations earlier this year, the Board also overrode the community, approving a new Navy program at Senn High School: CPS Flexes Its Muscle Over Senn (This Week In Education)

In several other situations, however, the Board is following the wishes of the advisory committees (so far):

At Lucy Flower, which currently houses Al Raby, the Board is holding off in order to give the advisory committee more time to decide what to do. Previously, it had appeared that a new school based on the successful Umoja program at Manley high school would win approval, but community concerns and premature declarations from the Board slowed the process. 5 charter schools near approval Chicago Tribune

According to one insider, some advisory committees have been unfamiliar with, or even resistant to, the notion of creating a charter school. In some cases, at least, those submitting proposals only had one or two opportunities to talk directly with the advisory committees between November and today's announcement.

Choices about the new Lindblom and the fourth Little Village school have also been delayed.

The Board made surprise choices in a few situations:

Uplift, 900 W. Wilson Ave., a performance school serving middle grades, will be housed at Arai school. Uplift includes several current Arai teachers. This proposal won out over CICS and Perspectives.

The process has not been without its problems, or its critics:

School panels 'screwed up' with closed meetings: official Chicago Sun-Times
City's assault on union jobs shortchanges community Chicago Sun Times

John Ayers, executive director of Leadership for Quality Education, long an advocate for charter schools, has resigned. The University of Chicago's Tim Knowles, head of the Center for Urban School Improvement and one of the architects of the ill-fated "Mid-South" proposal last year, was originally slated to run the New Schools Fund that will oversee part of the Renaissance 2010 process but has since been given a smaller role.

There are a few "new" faces in the crowd:

Erie House, 2510 W. Cortez St., one of Chicago’s top community groups with a strong track record in early childhood education, would run a charter schools serving kindergarten through fifth grade students in Humboldt Pak and West Town.

Galapagos, 849 N. Leamington, is a proposal led by Michael Lane, a former Lutheran school principal and current charter school teacher at the LEARN Charter School. The school would serve kindergarten through eighth grade students in the Austin area.

Legacy, 3333 W. Arthington, would be a charter pre-K-8 school serving North Lawndale students, sponsored by the law firm of Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal.

Tarkington School of Excellence, 3330 W. 71 St., also built to relieve overcrowding, will be a performance school serving pre-k –8th grade students. This is the school that attracted the most proposals. The design team chosen to run the school also works with Dodge Renaissance Academy and the Chicago Academy of Urban School Leadership.

Four of the seven new charters will be operated by existing charter schools in the system:

Chicago International- South Shore, 7850 S. Chappel, will be a charter school serving K-8 students. It will be run by Chicago International, which already runs seven charter schools. Former Sate Board of Education Superintendent Micahel Bakalis is part of the school leadership.

Seven of the 18 being announced today are charter schools, and the rest are a mix of neighborhood and "performance" schools. Clamor for charter schools unaffected by low test scores Chicago Sun-Times

Many of these "new" schools were actually in the works well before Ren-10 was started.

These include 3 new high schools at Little Village, 3126 S. Kostner, a brand new school built to relieve overcrowding:
§ Infinity School, would focus on math, science, and technology
§ Greater Lawndale/Little Village School for Social Justice
§ Multicultural Art School would focus on the arts

College-credit high school for Little Village advances Chicago Tribune

By previous agreement, Donoghue School, 707 E. 37th St., would be a new charter grade school serving students from pre-kindergarten through eighth and run by the University of Chicago. U of C currently runs North Kenwood Oakland Charter School.

In November, the Board of Education approved three new small high schools to open in the fall of 2005 at the current DuSable High School, 4934 S. Wabash, including two performance high schools, one focused on medicine and the other on leadership, as well as a charter high school run by the same organization that currently operates the Betty Shabazz charter elementary school on the South Side.

According to the Board, 16 of the newly approved schools serve under-performing neighborhoods, and six serve overcrowded neighborhoods.

At least one school being announced will not open until 2006:

In addition to these 18 schools for next fall, CPS is also recommending a charter school at Hartigan, 8 W. Root St., to open in the fall of 2006 when the surrounding neighborhoods begin repopulating. It would be run by Lighthouse Academy, which is based in Massachusetts and runs charter schools in New York and Indiana.

City drafts its teams to launch 18 schools Chicago Tribune

School closing announcements are being delayed until next week:

Once scheduled for this week, the contentious announcement of which schools will be closed due to persistently low performance and/or under-enrollment are now being delayed until next week's Board meeting. Insiders predict that the number will be small, closer to 5 schools than 10, and that many will be high schools.

Closed schools not all being re-opened:

At least one of the 10 schools closed last spring, Suder Elementary, is not on the list of schools being re-opened next fall. Previously, Board officials had indicated an interest in starting a new Montessori-style school there, and created an advisory committee to oversee the process. However, only two proposals were submitted for the site.

Back in the fall, there were 59 Renaissance 2010 proposals, as well as 19 charter school proposals: New Ren-10 School Proposals (This Week In Education)


Blogger Instructivist said...

What on earth are "performance" schools?

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Performance schools, unlike charter schools or contract schools, are managed and staffed by Chicago Public School personnel.

Performance schools are also contrasted with "regular" public schools in that there is an explicitly defined set of performance goals to which the school is held accountable in exchange for greater autonomy from the central office.

5:55 PM  

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