WBEZ | turnaround http://www.wbez.org/tags/turnaround Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en All staff to be dismissed at three low-performing CPS schools http://www.wbez.org/news/education/all-staff-be-dismissed-three-low-performing-cps-schools-109906 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3523_board of ed-scr_4.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Public Schools announced Friday it will &ldquo;turn around&rdquo; three low-performing schools at the end of this school year&mdash;firing all staff there, from the janitors to the principal. Students will continue at the schools.</p><p>McNair Elementary and Dvorak Technology Academy on the West Side and&nbsp; Gresham Elementary on the South Side will be turned over to the private nonprofit Academy for Urban School Leadership to manage.</p><p>That group already runs 29 Chicago Public Schools, with 17,000 students.&nbsp; CPS says AUSL schools have had a &ldquo;profound impact&rdquo; on school culture, and are improving faster than those managed by the school district.</p><p>&ldquo;The data&mdash;it&rsquo;s compelling,&rdquo; said schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett. &ldquo;When I put on my parent and educator hat, I just believe we have to make the tough decision on behalf of students, and give them the opportunity and the equitable platform that they deserve.&rdquo;</p><p>Short of closing a school, the turnaround strategy is the most radical school reform the district applies to schools. It was begun in Chicago under former schools CEO Arne Duncan and became a recommended federal strategy for improving schools under President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration.</p><p>The Chicago Teachers Union immediately called the move &ldquo;school closings by another name.&quot; It comes 10 months after Chicago voted to close 49 grammar schools, the largest single round of school closings in the U.S.</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re picking up where Rahm Emanuel left off last year, by destabilizing schools on the South and West Sides,&rdquo; said vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union Jesse Sharkey. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t think that the schools that are in some of the toughest neighborhoods in the city with incredibly dedicated faculty should be punished by having all those staffs fired. &ldquo;</p><p>Sharkey said improvements in turnarounds are due to additional millions of dollars the schools get over their first five years, not the new staff.&nbsp;</p><p>Under the turnaround model, new staff are also CTU teachers. But the union blasted turnarounds as a strategy to get rid of veteran African American teachers, whom Sharkey says kids need as role models. Nearly all students in the three schools targeted for turnaround are poor and black.</p><p>A <a href="http://ccsr.uchicago.edu/publications/turning-around-low-performing-schools-chicago-full-report" target="_blank">University of Chicago study</a> showed turnarounds and other dramatic school transformations do result in a younger, whiter teaching force.</p><p>That study also showed that test scores improve more rapidly after a school is turned around, outpacing improvement at the rest of the district&rsquo;s schools.</p><p>Chicago Public School&rsquo;s announcement coincided with dismissal from school Friday, when students at the affected schools took papers home announcing the shakeups. CPS says it mistakenly sent home papers with students from two other schools; Parker Community Academy in Englewood and Mason Math and Science Academy were being considered for turnaround, but Byrd-Bennett said they are showing enough progress to continue with their current staffs.</p><p>Hearings on the turnarounds will be held in April. The board of education is slated to vote on the turnaround proposals at its April 23 meeting.</p><p><em>See below for CPS powerpoint provided to reporters on AUSL performance. </em></p></p> Sat, 22 Mar 2014 10:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/education/all-staff-be-dismissed-three-low-performing-cps-schools-109906 Did CPS let building go to pot before ‘turnaround’? http://www.wbez.org/story/did-cps-let-building-go-pot-%E2%80%98turnaround%E2%80%99-96618 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-22/Herzl.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-22/Herzl.JPG" style="margin: 9px 18px 6px 1px; float: left; width: 354px; height: 234px;" title="Theodore Herzl Elementary School opened 97 years ago in North Lawndale. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></p><p>The Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday is scheduled to vote on proposals to close or completely restaff 17 schools. That would make more than 100 the district has shut down or restaffed in the last decade. School officials say their approach gives students in poorly performing schools more options. But there&rsquo;s an old accusation that the district lets some school buildings go to pot until just before turning them over to private management groups. From our West Side bureau, we look at a school where parents and teachers are making that accusation.</p><p>MITCHELL: Lajuan Criswell&rsquo;s daughter is a first-grader at Herzl Elementary, a school in Chicago&rsquo;s North Lawndale neighborhood. Criswell&rsquo;s mom teaches there. And Criswell herself serves on the Local School Council and volunteers after school twice a week. She says the building gets too hot in the winter &mdash; some days as high as 80 or 90 degrees. And Criswell says there are other problems.</p><p>CRISWELL: We don&rsquo;t have air conditioning. The water fountains on some of the floors don&rsquo;t function either. Some outlets &mdash; that look like they have perhaps had electrical fires at one point &mdash; they have the scorch marks. Paint and plaster that was peeling off for the last few years. And something with the plumbing so that the first floor has paint peeling off some of the ceilings.</p><p>MITCHELL: And don&rsquo;t even get Criswell started on the building&rsquo;s asbestos and lead. She says the problems have gone on awhile. The district <em>is</em> starting to send in more repair crews.</p><p>CRISWELL: But only because a new company is coming in, not because they really care about the safety or health of my child or anybody else&rsquo;s child in that building.</p><p>MITCHELL: Because they&rsquo;re going to have a private company come in and run the school.</p><p>CRISWELL: Exactly. That&rsquo;s the driving force trying to fix it up.</p><p>MITCHELL: The private group will replace the entire staff. Chicago Public Schools calls that process a &ldquo;turnaround.&rdquo; Now, something Criswell doesn&rsquo;t mention is that the Local School Council she serves on will have no control at Herzl if this turnaround proceeds. So you could say she&rsquo;d have a motive to exaggerate about the building&rsquo;s conditions. But there are lots of critics of the turnaround model. And many say district management has unspoken motives, too. Some of Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s top CPS appointees came from AUSL, short for the Academy for Urban School Leadership. That&rsquo;s the private group that would run the Herzl turnaround. Those officials include Tim Cawley, the district&rsquo;s administrative chief. During a December call with reporters, Cawley acknowledged CPS avoids sinking money into buildings it might close within the next 10 years.</p><p>CAWLEY: We really believe the investment in the facility makes sense when it&rsquo;s partnered with a program change. So, in going into those schools without a doing a more comprehensive change &mdash; just painting the walls and putting new lighting in and creating a more positive interior when nothing else has changed at the school &mdash; doesn&rsquo;t get you the same return on the investment as it does when there&rsquo;s a fresh start.</p><p>MITCHELL: By fresh start, he means the turnaround. And, again, in that phone call Cawley said CPS considers closing schools as long as 10 years ahead of time. If that&rsquo;s the case, kindergarteners at some poor-performing schools might never see major building improvements before leaving for high school. So where has this approach left Herzl Elementary, a school on academic probation for years? I decided to check out the building myself. Last week I asked for a quick tour in a message to the school&rsquo;s principal. Her name&rsquo;s Teresa Anderson. I didn&rsquo;t hear back, so I called again. And again. Tuesday, I went over to Herzl without an appointment.</p><p>MITCHELL: I&rsquo;ve been calling since Thursday. She hasn&rsquo;t been returning my calls. Taxpayers pay for this building. We&rsquo;ve been hearing a lot about the conditions here and we want to see them.</p><p>STAFFER: She&rsquo;s not available to speak right now.</p><p>MITCHELL: Is that her right there?</p><p>STAFFER: (Indecipherable).</p><p>MITCHELL: She was off the phone looking right at me just a minute ago. She can&rsquo;t step out here to speak with me for five minutes?</p><p>STAFFER: No, she&rsquo;s on a conference call right now.</p><p>MITCHELL: OK, I&rsquo;ll wait until the end of her call.</p><p>STAFFER: OK.</p><p>MITCHELL: Principal Anderson eventually came out but said I could not look around the building and asked me to leave. The CPS central office backed her up. The district says Herzl building upgrades this summer will total about $9 million. If the school board approves the turnaround Wednesday, those improvements will be just in time for the arrival of private management.</p><p><em>WBEZ&rsquo;s Linda Lutton contributed audio to this story.</em></p></p> Wed, 22 Feb 2012 11:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/did-cps-let-building-go-pot-%E2%80%98turnaround%E2%80%99-96618 Mapping a decade of CPS closings http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-07/mapping-decade-cps-closings-94673 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-07/untitled shoot-016.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This year <a href="http://www.cps.edu/Pages/home.aspx" target="_blank">Chicago Public Schools</a> announced plans to close, turnaround or phase out over 15 schools. If the latest round is approved, Chicago will have shut down or turned around more than 100 schools over the last decade. In most cases, the buildings remain schools; but some could face the wrecking ball. WBEZ blogger <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey" target="_blank">Lee Bey</a> hopes once the final bell rings, those cultural gems among Chicago’s historic schools will be salvaged. That is the subject of one of his recent posts on his WBEZ blog. Also found on WBEZ's website, a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/no-sidebar/Chicago-school-closings" target="_blank">map</a> that plots out school closings and turnarounds over the last decade in Chicago created by WBEZ's web team, <em><a href="http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/" target="_blank">Catalyst </a></em><a href="http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/" target="_blank">Chicago’s</a> Sarah Karp and WBEZ's education reporter Linda Lutton. To get the lay of the land and the buildings, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> spoke with Lee Bey and Linda Lutton.</p><p><em>Music Button: Sao Paulo Underground, "Just Lovin'", from the album Tres Cabecas Loucuras, (Cuneiform)</em></p></p> Wed, 07 Dec 2011 15:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-07/mapping-decade-cps-closings-94673 New escape routes for Lake Shore Drive http://www.wbez.org/story/new-escape-routes-lake-shore-drive-93621 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-31/AP Photo Kiichiro Sato_ Charles Rex Arbogast.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Road crews begin work Monday on Lake Shore Drive to make it easier for cars to avoid getting stuck during a blizzard. City workers will begin building two turnaround points after rush hour.</p><p>Both escape routes are on the near North Side - one will be at Armitage; the other at Schiller. Chicago Department of Transportation officials say those spots were chosen because they're prone to snow drifts.</p><p>They will create turnaround access to north and southbound lanes during emergency situations, like last February's 20 inches of snow blizzard. Drivers and vehicles were stranded on the Drive for hours.</p><p>Three lanes in both directions will remain open around the construction zone. The new turnarounds are expected to be completed by late November.<br> <br> &nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 31 Oct 2011 12:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/new-escape-routes-lake-shore-drive-93621