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CPS issues guidelines on closings

On schedule, Chicago Public Schools has published its guidelines on schools closings, consolidations, turnarounds and similar stuff. The material was posted on the the Board of Education's website on October 31, 2012. The Board is supposed to produce a list of schools to be changed by December 1, 2012.

DRAFT GUIDELINES FOR SCHOOL ACTIONS[1]. 2012-2013 SCHOOL YEAR. ISSUED OCTOBER 31, 2012 ("Draft Guidelines")

Chicago Public Schools' ("CPS") Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") publishes the following Draft Guidelines to help the public and all interested stakeholders understand the criteria for school actions. CPS is committed to providing every child in every community with access to a high quality education that prepares them for college and career. To that end, CPS must take every step possible to focus our resources on investments that will improve schools for all students. School action proposals will be presented to the Chicago Board of Education ("Board") to help CPS meet this commitment to all its students so that they may access higher quality school options. All proposals presented to the Board for consideration will reflect a commitment to provide impacted students with the option to enroll in a higher performing school.

For the 2012-2013 school year, the CEO will consider the criteria specified below when recommending any of the following school actions:

closure,

consolidation,

reassignment boundary change,

phase-out, or

co-location.

I. CRITERIA

A. Criteria for Closure, Consolidation, Reassignment Boundary Change, or Phase-Out

The CEO may propose a closure, consolidation, reassignment boundary change or phase-out using the criteria outlined below.

1. Space Utilization or Grade Alignment

Space Utilization

A school may be considered for a closure, consolidation, reassignment boundary change, or phase-out if it is underutilized or overcrowded based on CPS' Space Utilization Standards and student enrollment numbers recorded on the 20th attendance day for the 2012-2013 school year.

Grade Alignment

A school may be considered for a closure, consolidation, reassignment boundary change, or phase-out if two elementary schools, sharing some part of each other's attendance area, individually offer less than Kindergarten through eighth grades and can be reconfigured to a single Kindergarten through eighth grade school.

2. Constraining Factors

The CEO may only propose a closure, consolidation, or reassignment boundary change if:

the students impacted by a closure, consolidation, or reassignment boundary change have the option to enroll in a higher performing school; and,

the resulting space utilization after closure, consolidation, or reassignment boundary change will not exceed the facility's enrollment efficiency range as defined by the CPS' Space Utilization Standards

The CEO may only propose a phase-out if the resulting space utilization after considering a closure, consolidation, or reassignment boundary change would exceed the contemplated receiving facility's enrollment efficiency range as defined by the CPS' Space Utilization Standards

3. Additional Information to Consider

In determining whether to propose a closure, consolidation, reassignment boundary change, or phase-out, the CEO may consider other information including, but not limited to: safety and security, school culture and climate, school leadership, quality of the school facility, school type and programming, family and community feedback received throughout the school year independent from the process described below, analysis of transition planning costs, neighborhood development plans, whether the school has recently been affected by any school actions, changes in academic focus or actions taken pursuant to 105 ILCS 5/34-8.3, or proximity, capacity and performance of other schools in the community.

B. Criteria for Co-location

The CEO may propose a co-location of two schools within the same facility if:

the combined projected enrollment is within the facility's enrollment efficiency range as defined by the CPS' Space Utilization Standards; and

the facility can support the academic programming of both schools.

Furthermore, in determining whether to propose a co-location, the CEO may consider other information, including, but not limited to: safety and security, school culture and climate, school leadership, quality of the facility, and an analysis of transition planning costs.

II. PROCESS FOR COMMENTING ON DRAFT GUIDELINES

These Draft Guidelines will be made available on www.cps.edu. Public comments on the Draft Guidelines are welcome and can be submitted on-line, via e-mail (Qualityschools@cps.edu), fax (773-553-5345), or by mail (Chicago Public Schools, 125 S. Clark Street, 5th Floor, Chicago, IL 60603, attn: CEO's Office re: Draft Guidelines). Public comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. on November 21, 2012.

Following public comment and prior to announcing proposals for school actions, the CEO will publish the final Guidelines.

III. NOTICE AND SCHOOL TRANSITION PLANS

Notice of any proposed school action will be provided to the principal, staff, local school council, parents or guardians, Illinois State Senator, Illinois State Representative, and Alderman for the school or schools that are subject to the proposed school action. Notice will include the date, time, and place of public meetings being held to elicit public comment on the proposal

Along with notice of the CEO's proposal, the CEO will issue a draft school transition plan dependent on the unique circumstances of the proposed school action. The draft school transition plan will include, but is not limited to, the following: (1) services to support the academic, social, and emotional needs of students; supports for students with disabilities, homeless students, and English language learners; and support to address security and safety issues; (2) options to enroll in higher performing schools; (3) informational briefings regarding the choice of schools that include all pertinent information to enable the parent or guardian and child to make an informed choice, including the option to visit the schools of choice prior to making a decision; and (4) the provision of appropriate transportation where practicable.

IV. DEFINITIONS

"Closing" or "closure" means closing a school and assigning all of the students enrolled at that school to one or more designated receiving schools.

"Co-location" means two separate, independent schools with their own school leader(s) co-existing within a Chicago Public School facility.

"Consolidation" means the consolidation of two or more schools by closing one or more schools and reassigning the students to another school.

"Higher performing school" means:

receiving a higher level on the Performance Policy for the 2011-2012 school year, or

if the 2011-2012 school year level on the Performance Policy is equal, higher performing means performing higher on the majority of the following metrics:

for elementary schools – for the 2011-2012 school year, percentage of points on the Performance Policy, ISAT composite meets or exceeds score, Value Added reading, and Value Added math,

for high schools – for the 2011-2012 school year, percentage of points on the Performance Policy, PSAE composite meets or exceeds score, EPAS gains percentile in reading, and EPAS gains percentile in math, or

for elementary schools, if the 2011-2012 school year level on the Performance Policy is equal and the school does not have Value Added metrics, higher performing means a higher percentage of points on the Performance Policy and a higher ISAT meets or exceeds score for the 2011-2012 school year, or

for high schools, if the 2011-2012 school year level on the Performance Policy is equal and the school does not have EPAS metrics, higher performing means a higher percentage of points on the Performance Policy and a higher PSAE composite meets or exceeds score.

"ISAT" stands for Illinois Standard Achievement Test.

"ISAT composite" means the score of the combined ISAT reading, math and science tests.

"EPAS" stands for Educational Planning and Assessment System and includes the EXPLORE test for freshmen, the PLAN test for sophomores, and the ACT test for juniors.

"Performance Policy" means the Board of Education of the City of Chicago's School Performance, Remediation and Probation Policy, 12-0725-PO2, establishing standards and criteria for placing a school on Remediation or Probation for the 2012-2013 school year based on assessments administered in Spring 2012 and other performance data from prior school years. The score and status are determined by evaluating key indicators that assess a school's current performance, trend over time and student growth.

"Phase-out" means the gradual cessation of enrollment in certain grades each school year until a school closes or is consolidated with another school.

"PSAE" stands for Prairie State Achievement Examination.

"Reassignment boundary change" means an attendance area boundary change that involves the reassignment of currently enrolled students

"School action" means any school closing; school consolidation; co-location; boundary change that requires reassignment of students, unless the reassignment is to a new school with an attendance area boundary and is made to relieve overcrowding; or phase-out.

"Space Utilization Standards" mean the Chicago Public Schools' Space Utilization Standards, found at: http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/Policies_and_guidelines/Documents/SpaceUtilizationStandards.pdf, establishing standards for determining enrollment efficiency, overcrowding, and underutilization.

"Value Added" means the metric that assesses school effects on students' academic growth, controlling for student characteristics (including, but not limited to, student mobility rates, poverty rates, special education status and bilingual education status), grade level, and prior performance through a regression methodology. Academic growth is measured by the change in scale score points on the ISAT from one year to the next.

[1] Issuing these Draft Guidelines is consistent with the Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/34-230) requiring that the CEO publish guidelines outlining the criteria for school actions.



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