Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gillespie Elementary removed from turnaround list

The Chief Admin. Officer at CPS said at the recent aldermanic meeting that he would recommend that Gillespie would be removed. This to the applause of those in attendance at Wesley Church last Thursday. Story from CPR:
Chicago Public Schools has announced four schools that were slated to be closed by the district will be given another lease on life. The schools had been targeted for low performance or under-enrollment.

Schools chief Ron Huberman removed schools in North Lawndale and Englewood from the controversial closings list because of concerns over safe passage to and from new schools.

In another case, the district decided efforts already underway at the school could improve performance. The closings and overhauls were fought by thousands of parents and teachers.

The Board of Education will still vote on whether to close five schools at its regular meeting next week. They’ll vote on firing all staff at another five schools.
Deneen Elementary's fate will be considered by Chicago's Board of Education on February 24th.

BTW, there was an article from the Austin Weekly News discussing the story of Gillespie and mentions Deneen:
Gwen Roby, a teacher at Gillespie Elementary on the South Side, has certainly pondered this question a time or two over the past few weeks. Since CPS put Gillespie on the turnaround list, Roby and the rest of the school's teachers, administrators and staff will lose their jobs if the Chicago Board of Education accepts the district's recommendation to overhaul the school and hand it over to a district operator.

Roby and the others will have their answer-pink slip or teach-when the board votes Feb. 24. According to CPS, the overhaul was recommended because Gillespie has struggled academically. But many close to the school say CPS officials are letting test scores dictate its decision, preventing it from seeing how far the school has come in such a short time.

"Gillespie is already turning around," Roby said. "We're on the verge of doing great things."

Roby is a lead teacher for Gillespie's Chicago Teachers Advancement Program, a federally-funded reform model for underachieving schools. At a hearing about the turnaround last week, several students said their classmates fought, heaved books out the window and even sometimes brought guns to school. While teachers and community members point to Principal Michelle Willis' arrival in April 2007 as the main turning point for Gillespie, they regard the school's adoption of the TAP program as a close second.

"The police used to be here constantly," said Cynthia Varnado, a teacher at Gillespie for three years. "Dr. Willis was brought here to get the school under control."

The violence has been clamped down and order has been restored, many at the school have said. They also credit TAP for giving the teachers a fresh approach. But now, only five months after Gillespie and fellow South Side school, Deneen Elementary, implemented the reform program, CPS is proposing to overhaul both schools.
Well we already know Gillespie's fate, soon we will know Deneen's.

1 comment:

  1. Gillespie Elemmntary School is already turned around.!I know because I attend that school


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