CPS forcing South Shore students to learn under intolerable conditions

Despite the claim that the situation at Chicago's South Shore High School has been resolved by the vote at the January 26, 2011, meeting of the Chicago Board of Education to open the "new" South Shore with a major component that is selective enrollment, parents and students from the current school are continuing their protest against the conditions which they say have been tolerated by the Chicago Board of Education under both Terry Mazany, the current Chief Executive Officer, and his predecessor Arne Duncan.

On February 3, a parents group issued the following press release:

Press alert - for immediate release. February 3, 2011, South Shore students forced to march in snow for a mere 50 minutes of class in brand new high school building

Parents say: Students are being punished for disastrous CPS planning

Contact: April Whitaker, Parent Advisory Council president, 773-972-8512

Who: Since January 31, a small group of students is being marched across the street from four South Shore small high schools to an AP class in the brand-new, otherwise empty South Shore International College Prep High School building.

When: Friday, February 4, 2011, 8:30 am (when students will be coming back from class, moving from new to old buildings)

Where: South Shore International College Prep High School, 1955 E. 75th Street

Meanwhile, the rest of the students at the South Shore Schools of the Arts and of Technology are being kept in a dangerous, unhealthy building where computer wiring has been removed and books given away in preparation for moving the entire student body to the new building.

Why? Parents and students believe CPS came up with this new “plan” because the students and their parents protested the unfair decision to bar the current South Shore students from a new facility that had been designed as a replacement for the sub-par buildings now housing the current small schools.

Under the plan CPS originally presented to parents and the community in 2007, the new facility was supposed to house all the students in the current four small high schools in South Shore. Then, planning moved into the alderman's office, parents were shut out, and suddenly the new

school was going to be a selective-enrollment high school, which would exclude the majority of the students attending the current South Shore schools.

CPS planned even more humiliation for these students. Although they would be unlikely to attend the school when it officially opened in the fall of 2011, students from the north building were going to be moved to the new facility on a temporary basis from January 31 until the end of the 2010-11 school year, then moved back into the old south building with the other two small schools in the fall.

Parents were not informed of these new plans until the last day of school before winter break. Protests erupted, and a large group of parents, teachers, students, and community members came out to oppose the plan at a CPS hearing held on a Friday night right after the winter break.

So, CPS changed course again and decided not to send all the students over to the new building, even though staff had already been directed to dismantle computer wiring and donate books from the north building, and students had already been assigned lockers in the new building.

Now they send only a handful of AP students to the new building for one class (perhaps an effort to comply with municipal occupancy requirements?).

Meanwhile, the parents have gotten fed up with the terrible conditions in a building that was no longer supposed to hold students. Attached are several photos, which parent April Whittaker describes this way:

“This is mold. This is more mold, peeling lead paint, and exposed asbestos. Several broken toilets and sinks. Rats in classrooms. Toilets without doors and broken lights. This is an opening in the ceiling where rain and snow come into 8 classrooms. Some days we have no heat. That's why we

were promised a new school building since 2007. This is why we're angry.”


June 23, 2011 at 10:09 AM

By: Angeline James


I am a student that's trying to get into the new south shore. I live in the are, my grades are outstanding but my parents have to clue as to how to get me enrolled. So if you can please help us I would have much appreciate it, thank you.

May 21, 2012 at 2:32 PM

By: Jayne Chilton

Enrollment at south shore international college prep h.s.

Who can enroll at the new high school and what are the requirements?

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