Huberman changes plans on four closings and consolidations... Four schools still proposed for 'turnaround' still facing Hit List, with Curtis added to 'turnaround' for AUSL replacing Gillespie!

The Chicago Public Schools Office of Communications announced in a press release at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17, 2010, that the schools on the 2010 'Hit List' had been changed. According to CPS, Mollison, Guggenheim, Gillespie and Paderewski schools will not be closed. Prescott Elementary School and Las Casas Occupational High School will still be closed. Above, part of the crowd of more than 200 students, parents, teachers, administrators and community leaders who turned out to testify against the Chicago Board of Education plan to fire all of the staff at Bradwell Elementary School (7736 S. Burnham) as part of an AUSL "turnaround." Bradwell, like the other four public school facing "turnaround" in 2010, is segregated, and serves a population that faces extreme poverty. The 2010 Hit List of schools to close announced on January 19 by CEO Ron Huberman included 14 schools, 13 of which were all-black (or all-minority) in areas facing the most extreme economic deprivation created by the current economic crisis. Despite claims of corporate marketing cadre, AUSL's "turnaround" schemes have not improved things at the Chicago schools that have undergone "turnaround," although Huberman admitted on January 19 that "turnaround" schools get at least $1 million in additional money the first year of "turnaround." Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Phillips and Marshall High School are still facing "turnaround," as are Bradwell, Deneen and Curtis elementary schools. Phillips, Marshall, Bradwell, and Deneen were on the original list announced by Huberman on January 19. Curtis was originally listed to be closed, but has been scheduled for "turnaround" instead, according to the latest Board press release. One school originally slated for "turnaround" — Gillespie Elementary — was removed from the "tunaround" list, replaced, apparently, by Curtis.

A candllight vigil is scheduled for Deneen at 5:00 p.m. on February 18 (Thursday). The vigil will take place at the school, which is located at 9257 S. State St.

A community meeting has been scheduled for Phillips High School at 7:00 p.m. on February 18 (Thursday) at a nearby church. The meeting is scheduled to be held at the Apostolic Church at 3823 S. Indiana. According to the latest from CPS, Phillips High School will still be facing "turnaround" (and the termination of all its staff) at the February 24 Board of Education meeting. Huberman also said that instead of moving to Mollison, Wells Prep elementary school will remain at Phillips. The exact wording of the press release follows:

For more information contact:

Monique Bond

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620

Fax: 773-553-1622



February 17, 2010

Huberman Announces Final School Action Recommendations

Four schools removed from original list; proposal now go to Chicago Board of Education

Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman announced today that four schools have been taken off the list of proposed school actions — closures, phase-outs, consolidations and turnarounds — following a series of public and community hearings and his review of testimony and the reports of independent hearing officers.

A fifth school which was originally proposed for closure will instead remain open and undergo reconstitution via the District’s turnaround strategy to improve academic performance.

Huberman said his final recommendations on school actions will be presented to Chicago Board of Education members at their meeting next week.

“The public hearing process is designed to allow for open dialogue between all concerned parties, and to provide the opportunity for school officials to hear first-hand from those most affected by these proposed changes,” Huberman said. “We know well that closing a school is not an easy task, nor is it popular. But our process allows for substantial input from stakeholders so that we achieve an end result that benefits the students, parents, faculty and community.”

Huberman said he has removed from the original school actions list these schools for the following reasons:

-- Frank L. Gillespie, 9301 S. State St. Huberman said testimony at the public hearing, and further review by District staff, has indicated that the school’s leadership has been engaged in locally driven changes that show great promise for increasing academic achievement. Gillespie was originally proposed for turnaround due to low academic performance.

-- Irvin C. Mollison, 4415 South King Drive. Mollison was originally proposed to be consolidated, due to low academic performance, with Ida B. Wells Prep Elementary School in the current Mollison building as the Wells-Mollison School. Huberman said after some deliberation, CPS officials questioned whether the Wells educational model would transfer comfortably to Mollison. Wells will remain at its current location at 244 E. Pershing Road.

-- Simon Guggenheim, 7141 S. Morgan. Huberman cited concerns over student transit to and from school voiced in testimony at the public hearing which was further investigated by CPS staff. Guggenheim was originally proposed for closure due to low academic performance.

-- Ignance Paderewski Elementary School, 2221 S. Lawndale Ave. Huberman cited concerns over student transit to and from school voiced in testimony at the public hearing which was further investigated by CPS staff. Paderewski had been proposed for closure due to low student enrollment.

In addition, Huberman announced that George W. Curtis Elementary School, 32 E. 115th St., will not be closed because of low academic performance as originally proposed, but instead will be subject to a turnaround led by the Academy for Urban School Leadership.

Huberman said the process of public and community hearings continues to yield valuable testimony, but that CPS is committed to an even more open and transparent process in considering any future school actions.

“We will be establishing a formal unit charged with early identification of schools that are underperforming academically and helping design interventions and strategies to get them on track,” Huberman said. “We want to have better – and more timely – dialogue with the stakeholders, school and community leaders at schools that might qualify for a school action under our policies.”

Schools that will be recommended for closure to the Chicago Board of Education next week include:

-- William H. Prescott Elementary School, 1632 West Wrightwood Ave., because its student enrollment is far below operational efficiency. Designated receiving schools are Louis A. Agassiz, 2851 N. Seminary Ave., and Augustus H. Burley, 1630 W. Barry, Elementary Schools.

-- Bartholome De Las Casas Occupational High School, 8401 S. Saginaw Ave, because of facilities-related reasons. Students from this special needs school will be placed with private providers that can meet their needs.

Huberman said two schools are being proposed for consolidation:

-- Helen J. McCorkle Elementary School, 4421 S. State St., because of the poor condition of its facility. Ludwig Beethoven Elementary School, 25 W. 47 th St. which has been designated as the receiving school for McCorkle students, will receive $8.5 million in capital improvements during the summer.

-- Guglielmo Marconi Elementary School, 230 N. Kolmar Ave., due to under enrollment will be consolidated with George W. Tilton Elementary School, 223 North Keeler Ave., to form Tilton-Marconi School. Other school options for Marconi students will include Ericson, Gregory and Calhoun North Elementary Schools.

“New criteria and guidelines were used to help guide us through the process this year,” Huberman said. “Students whose schools are ultimately approved for consolidation or closure this year will be covered under the School Closings Student Bill of Rights, which will provide them with additional safeguards, supports and programmatic opportunities as they transition into their new schools.”

Huberman said in addition to Curtis, three other schools are being proposed for turnaround by AUSL.

-- Myra Bradwell Elementary School, 7736 South Burnham

-- Charles S. Deneen Elementary School, 7257 South State St.

-- Wendell Phillips High School, 244 East Pershing Road

The current John Marshall High School, 3250 W. Adams, is proposed to be turned around by the CPS Office of School Turnarounds, part of the District’s Chief Education Office.

Under the turnaround strategy, students stay at their school and new leadership and staff are brought in to change the school culture and performance expectations.

Huberman said one school is being proposed for phase-out because of low enrollment:

-- George Schneider Elementary School, 2957 North Hoyne Ave. In a phase-out, existing students may stay at the school but the school will decrease by one grade level per year.

“Our administrative team invested countless hours into ensuring a fair and open process. The participation by Board Members at every hearing underscores the importance and weight they give to the process and to community concerns.”

Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 408,000 students in more than 670 schools. It is the third-largest school district in the nation. 

Final version of this article posted at at 3:00 a.m. on February 18, 2010. EDITOR'S NOTE ON REPUBLICATION USE. This is copyrighted content, news and analysis prepared and published by the staff and supporters of Substance (the print monthly) and Substance News Service ( Both are publications of Substance, Inc. Chicago, Illinois. The final edited version of this article and the accompanying graphics were posted at www.substance February 18, 2010, 3:00 a.m. CDT. If you choose to reproduce this article in whole or in part, or any of the graphical material included with it, please give full credit to SubstanceNews as follows: Copyright © 2010 Substance, Inc., Please provide Substance with a copy of any reproductions of this material and we will let you know our terms. Alternatively, please make a donation or take out a subscription to the print edition of Substance (see red button to the right). We are asking all of our readers to either subscribe to the print edition of Substance (a bargain at $16 per year) or make a donation. Both options are available on the right side of our Home Page. For further information, feel free to call us at our office at 773-725-7502. Collegial groups and teachers using this material for class use should simply inform us of the extent of your usage. Anyone utilizing this material for commercial purposes is in violation of U.S. and other international copyright laws. Copyright 2010 Substance, Inc. all rights reserved. 


February 17, 2010 at 11:30 PM

By: Danny


Good news for some of the schools. (I admit to thinking that none would be spared from Huberman's Hit List.)

It is a matter of concern, however, that in the cases of Mollison and Guggenheim: “Huberman cited concerns over student transit to and from school voiced in testimony at the public hearing which was further investigated by CPS staff."

Excuse me, but didn’t “CPS staff” research student transit *before* they made the recommendations? Wasn’t that part of the PowerPoint presentations? Didn’t we have assurances from Safety and Security and the CPD that kids would be safe in getting to and from school?

Oops! After concerns were voiced, CPS staff investigated and found the community concerns were valid.

That’s an enormous mistake, and it undermines the credibility of the research done for ALL the schools on the Hit List.

February 18, 2010 at 1:19 AM

By: xian


I agree entirely Danny. I think it highlights the fact that the board must either be apathetic or negligent when it comes to student safety. There's not a single classroom in the city where the students couldn't explain the implications of such changes, so either the decision makings aren't researching adequately or simply don't care...

February 18, 2010 at 3:11 AM

By: Plus ca change... la meme chose

Doesn't it strike anyone else that the whole point of this year's screaming was to do another round of AUSL "turnarounds" just as Arne Duncan begins the Big Push for Chicago-style closings across the entire country as part of Race To The Top? If the data were bad supporting the closings of Paderewski and Mollison, weren't they equally bad regarding the "failure" of Bradwell, Curtis, Deneen, Marshall and Phillips? And — doesn't this mean that the President of the Chicago Teachers Union will say "turnaround" is OK, since AUSL schools are, after all, "union" schools?

February 18, 2010 at 3:57 AM

By: kugler

Nice Show!

this was all planned, just what schools would be saved was decided by turnout and advocacy(and who they could bring to their side). notice how it was all over the news but when the hearings were taking place no coverage. now cps and ctu can claim victory while schools are still being closed and turned-around.

Just imagine now if all the schools where taken off what would happen to the unions reputation and huberman's.

Not that it would be a good, that the actions of the Board would be stopped but you need to look at how the media and information is not only controlled but spun to make each party look good.

Just think now all of you political operators, what they have in store for the upcoming union election!

Nice Show!

If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. Olmstead v. US, 277 US. 438,485

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