WBEZ | welcoming schools http://www.wbez.org/tags/welcoming-schools Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Only 60 percent of students from Chicago's closed schools turn up at 'welcoming schools' http://www.wbez.org/news/only-60-percent-students-chicagos-closed-schools-turn-welcoming-schools-108907 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IMAG1874.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Far fewer students from Chicago&rsquo;s closed elementary schools are enrolled where the district thought they would be this fall.</p><p>Just 60 percent of <a href="#20th Day figures">10,542 students*</a> from Chicago&rsquo;s shuttered elementary schools ended up at so-called &ldquo;welcoming schools,&rdquo; despite efforts by the district to woo them with promises of improved education, safe passage to school, and sweeteners like iPads, <a href="http://www.cps.edu/qualityschools/Pages/WelcomingSchoolsMap.aspx" target="_blank">air conditioning and new science labs</a>.</p><p>The district<a href="http://www.cps.edu/News/Press_releases/Pages/PR1_08_02_2013.aspx" target="_blank"> insisted throughout the summer </a>that 80 percent of students from closing schools were enrolled at their designated welcoming schools. Even the first day of school, <a href="http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/sites/default/files/article/file-attachments/CPS%20First%20Day%20of%20School%20Fact%20Sheet-8.26.13_0.pdf" target="_blank">CPS said 78 percent </a>of impacted students were attending their welcoming schools. The district made $155.7 million in capital and technology investments at the schools, which <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/cps-will-go-further-debt-pay-upgrades-receiving-schools-106627">it will pay off for the next 30 years.</a></p><p>But enrollment figures obtained by WBEZ through an open records request show CPS overstated enrollment at the receiving schools by more than 2,000 students. The enrollment snapshot, taken on the 20th day of school, also shows:</p><ul><li>496 grammar-school children from shuttered schools do not seem to be enrolled anywhere at all, inside CPS or in other districts. They are listed on district spreadsheets as &ldquo;To be determined&rdquo; and are from nearly every closed school.</li></ul><ul><li>Students from closed schools have scattered throughout the system, attending 410 different schools&mdash;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/closing-schools-diaspora-108518" target="_blank">even more than initial counts indicated.</a></li></ul><p>One school in North Lawndale provides a telling example. Just 12 students out of 196 from shuttered Henson Elementary enrolled at Charles Evans Hughes, the designated welcoming school. The remaining students have scattered to 34 different schools. Nine students left the district, and 12 are completely unaccounted for.</p><p>At Johnson School of Excellence, a designated welcoming school for shuttered Pope Elementary, just 34 kids enrolled from Pope&mdash;77 percent of Pope students went elsewhere.</p><p><strong style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif;">Diaspora: Students from closed schools have scattered throughout the system</span></strong></p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table { border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif font-size: 12px; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }</style> <table class="tableizer-table" height="856" width="266"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>Closed school</th><th>Number of different CPS schools where students are now enrolled</th></tr><tr><td>ROSS</td><td>57</td></tr><tr><td>ALTGELD</td><td>47</td></tr><tr><td>WOODS</td><td>47</td></tr><tr><td>LAFAYETTE</td><td>44</td></tr><tr><td>PARKMAN</td><td>44</td></tr><tr><td>TRUMBULL</td><td>44</td></tr><tr><td>KOHN</td><td>43</td></tr><tr><td>BONTEMPS</td><td>42</td></tr><tr><td>EMMET</td><td>42</td></tr><tr><td>OVERTON</td><td>41</td></tr><tr><td>MAY</td><td>40</td></tr><tr><td>LAWRENCE</td><td>39</td></tr><tr><td>BETHUNE</td><td>38</td></tr><tr><td>GOLDBLATT</td><td>38</td></tr><tr><td>MAYO</td><td>38</td></tr><tr><td>CALHOUN</td><td>37</td></tr><tr><td>POPE</td><td>36</td></tr><tr><td>HENSON</td><td>35</td></tr><tr><td>SEXTON</td><td>35</td></tr><tr><td>SONGHAI</td><td>35</td></tr><tr><td>STOCKTON</td><td>35</td></tr><tr><td>KEY</td><td>34</td></tr><tr><td>MARCONI</td><td>34</td></tr><tr><td>OWENS</td><td>34</td></tr><tr><td>DUMAS TECH ACAD</td><td>33</td></tr></tbody></table><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Johnson principal Alice Henry says she and her staff personally called every one of the Pope students. Many chose to go to schools closer to their homes, she says. And the school closings process took a toll too.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/full-audio-chicagoans-react-school-closings-proposals-scores-public-meetings-106670" target="_blank">during the hearings</a> and during that entire process, it&rsquo;s a pretty tumultuous, ugly process,&rdquo; said Henry. &ldquo;And feelings are developed, some problems kind of develop. It may take a year.&rdquo;</p><p>School board member Andrea Zopp is also taking a longer view, and says the capital and technology investments the district made will attract students eventually.</p><p>&ldquo;Over time, I think that will shake out. These schools are going to be community hubs. And I think they&rsquo;re going to draw&mdash;like good schools do&mdash;they&rsquo;re going to draw kids and families back into the neighborhood schools, and that&rsquo;s the goal.&rdquo;</p><p>Some schools not designated as welcoming schools took in more students from closed schools than designated welcoming schools. But the &ldquo;de facto&rdquo; welcoming schools didn&rsquo;t get technology or capital upgrades, and are not part of the district&rsquo;s $12 million Safe Passage program. And a number of them struggle academically, meaning children from closed schools are <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/few-chicago-school-closings-will-move-kids-top-performing-schools-107261" target="_blank">attending schools that may be performing worse</a> than the closed schools they left.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif;">&ldquo;De facto&rdquo; welcoming schools, with the total number of students they have enrolled from closed schools</span></span></strong></p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table { border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif font-size: 12px; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }</style> <table class="tableizer-table" height="382" width="536"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>School</th><th>Designated welcoming School?</th><th>Number of students from closed schools</th></tr><tr><td>KELLMAN</td><td>No</td><td>159</td></tr><tr><td>LANGFORD</td><td>No</td><td>86</td></tr><tr><td>METCALFE</td><td>No</td><td>76</td></tr><tr><td>CHALMERS</td><td>No</td><td>64</td></tr><tr><td>MOOS</td><td>No</td><td>53</td></tr><tr><td>CATALYST CHTR - HOWLAND</td><td>No</td><td>52</td></tr><tr><td>CROWN</td><td>No</td><td>49</td></tr><tr><td>CARTER</td><td>No</td><td>46</td></tr><tr><td>PENN</td><td>No</td><td>46</td></tr><tr><td>LOWELL</td><td>No</td><td>45</td></tr><tr><td>PARKER</td><td>No</td><td>44</td></tr><tr><td>IRVING</td><td>No</td><td>43</td></tr></tbody></table><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Some 375 students from closed schools now attend Chicago charter schools, the figures indicate; 239 left the school district.</p><p>Receiving schools that did best at enrolling students from closed schools were those where the building didn&rsquo;t close. For instance, Pershing Middle School closed, but the building itself remained open, and staff from Pershing Elementary moved in and took over, making it a K-8 school. Ninety percent of students from Pershing Middle stayed for the transition.</p><p>Asked about the fact that just 60 percent of students from closed schools enrolled in their designated welcoming school, spokeswoman Becky Carroll said CPS supports parents&rsquo; right to choose where to enroll their children.</p><p>&ldquo;Thousands of parents every year choose to enroll their child at a different school in our district &ndash;or even outside the district&mdash;and we support them in those choices,&rdquo; Carroll wrote in an email.&nbsp; She wrote that the &ldquo;far majority&rdquo; of parents from closed schools chose to send their children to their designated welcoming school, and those children &ldquo;are now receiving a higher-quality education with the resources they need to succeed and thrive in the classroom.&rdquo;</p><p>Regarding the nearly 500 students the district cannot account for, officials have said district employees have called, written and gone door to door looking for them.</p><p><strong style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif;">Percent of students from CPS closed schools attending their designated welcoming school</span></strong></p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table { border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif font-size: 12px; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }</style> <table class="tableizer-table"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>Closed school</th><th>Total number of impacted students</th><th>Designated welcoming school</th><th>Number of students atending designated welcoming school</th><th>% attending designated welcoming school(s)</th><th>Did CPS name more than one receiving school?</th></tr><tr><td>ALTGELD</td><td>335</td><td>WENTWORTH</td><td>235</td><td>70.1%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>ARMSTRONG, L</td><td>92</td><td>LELAND</td><td>48</td><td>52.2%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>BANNEKER</td><td>261</td><td>MAYS</td><td>214</td><td>82%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>BETHUNE</td><td>315</td><td>GREGORY</td><td>23</td><td>7.3%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>BONTEMPS</td><td>239</td><td>NICHOLSON TECH ACAD</td><td>71</td><td>29.7%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>CALHOUN</td><td>234</td><td>CATHER</td><td>115</td><td>49.1%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>DELANO</td><td>259</td><td>MELODY</td><td>217</td><td>83.8%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>DUMAS TECH ACAD</td><td>241</td><td>WADSWORTH</td><td>183</td><td>75.9%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>DUPREY</td><td>92</td><td>DIEGO</td><td>46</td><td>50%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>EMMET</td><td>316</td><td>DE PRIEST</td><td>95</td><td>30.1%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>EMMET</td><td>316</td><td>ELLINGTON</td><td>111</td><td>35.1%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>FERMI</td><td>191</td><td>SOUTHSHORE</td><td>154</td><td>80.6%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>GARFIELD PARK</td><td>132</td><td>FARADAY</td><td>49</td><td>37.1%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>GOLDBLATT</td><td>213</td><td>HEFFERAN</td><td>100</td><td>46.9%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>GOODLOW</td><td>285</td><td>EARLE</td><td>198</td><td>69.5%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>HENSON</td><td>196</td><td>HUGHES, C</td><td>12</td><td>6.1%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>HERBERT</td><td>205</td><td>DETT</td><td>162</td><td>79%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>KEY</td><td>283</td><td>ELLINGTON</td><td>170</td><td>60.1%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>KING</td><td>204</td><td>JENSEN</td><td>84</td><td>41.2%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>KOHN</td><td>323</td><td>CULLEN</td><td>14</td><td>4.3%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>KOHN</td><td>323</td><td>LAVIZZO</td><td>47</td><td>14.6%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>KOHN</td><td>323</td><td>HUGHES, L</td><td>167</td><td>51.7%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>LAFAYETTE</td><td>306</td><td>CHOPIN</td><td>209</td><td>68.3%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>LAWRENCE</td><td>318</td><td>BURNHAM</td><td>240</td><td>75.5%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>MARCONI</td><td>177</td><td>TILTON</td><td>65</td><td>36.7%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>MAY</td><td>386</td><td>LELAND</td><td>285</td><td>73.8%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>MAYO</td><td>326</td><td>WELLS, I</td><td>242</td><td>74.2%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>MORGAN</td><td>157</td><td>RYDER</td><td>101</td><td>64.3%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>OVERTON</td><td>284</td><td>MOLLISON</td><td>146</td><td>51.4%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>OWENS</td><td>250</td><td>GOMPERS</td><td>175</td><td>70%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>PADEREWSKI</td><td>150</td><td>CARDENAS</td><td>24</td><td>16%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>PADEREWSKI</td><td>150</td><td>CASTELLANOS</td><td>38</td><td>25.3%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>PARKMAN</td><td>156</td><td>SHERWOOD</td><td>52</td><td>33.3%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>PEABODY</td><td>211</td><td>OTIS</td><td>162</td><td>76.8%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>PERSHING MIDDLE</td><td>175</td><td>PERSHING</td><td>158</td><td>90.3%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>POPE</td><td>145</td><td>JOHNSON</td><td>34</td><td>23.4%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>ROSS</td><td>272</td><td>DULLES</td><td>117</td><td>43%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>RYERSON</td><td>326</td><td>WARD, L</td><td>261</td><td>80.1%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>SEXTON</td><td>309</td><td>FISKE</td><td>218</td><td>70.6%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>SONGHAI</td><td>258</td><td>CURTIS</td><td>104</td><td>40.3%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>STEWART</td><td>196</td><td>BRENNEMANN</td><td>117</td><td>59.7%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>STOCKTON</td><td>299</td><td>COURTENAY</td><td>247</td><td>82.6%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>TRUMBULL</td><td>206</td><td>MCCUTCHEON</td><td>11</td><td>5.3%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>TRUMBULL</td><td>206</td><td>MCPHERSON</td><td>50</td><td>24.3%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>TRUMBULL</td><td>206</td><td>CHAPPELL</td><td>98</td><td>47.6%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>VON HUMBOLDT</td><td>264</td><td>DIEGO</td><td>169</td><td>64%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>WEST PULLMAN</td><td>233</td><td>HALEY</td><td>76</td><td>32.6%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>WILIAMS MIDDLE</td><td>80</td><td>DRAKE</td><td>58</td><td>72.5%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>WILLIAMS ES</td><td>211</td><td>DRAKE</td><td>169</td><td>80.1%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>WOODS</td><td>274</td><td>BASS</td><td>127</td><td>46.4%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>YALE</td><td>157</td><td>HARVARD</td><td>67</td><td>42.7%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td><strong>GRAND TOTAL</strong></td><td><strong>10,542</strong></td><td>&nbsp;</td><td><strong>6,335</strong></td><td><strong>60.1%</strong></td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><a name="20th Day figures">Source: </a>CPS data, WBEZ analysis. This table excludes preschool students, all students from&nbsp; shuttered Buckingham and Near North special education schools, and special education &ldquo;cluster programs.&rdquo; CPS has also excluded these students from its calculations of enrollment rates at welcoming schools.</span><a name=" "></a></p><p><br /><a name="10,542">*The district&rsquo;s 20th Day figures</a> show a total of 11,126 students attended kindergarten through 7th grade last year at 47 schools that closed for good in June. Of those, 584 were enrolled in two special education schools or in special education &ldquo;cluster programs&rdquo;; 10,542 were in general education programs.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Original data from Chicago Public Schools is attached below.</em></p></p> Mon, 14 Oct 2013 05:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/only-60-percent-students-chicagos-closed-schools-turn-welcoming-schools-108907 Closing schools diaspora http://www.wbez.org/news/education/closing-schools-diaspora-108518 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/by bill healy.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Students from Chicago&rsquo;s 47 shuttered elementary schools will head to new schools today. And while most will go to so-called &ldquo;welcoming&rdquo; schools the district has packed with resources, upgrades, and special safety provisions,&nbsp; new data show that many will not. The students from shuttered schools are enrolled in a whopping 287 schools across Chicago, forming a diaspora throughout the school system.</p><p>For every school it closed, the district designated another school as a &ldquo;welcoming school&rdquo; that students could transfer to. In a handful of cases the children from a single closing school were offered two or three welcoming schools.</p><p>Chicago Public Schools insists that the majority of the nearly 12,000 students from the closed schools are signed up at the designated welcoming schools, where it did big fix-ups, from paint to iPads. The district made $155 million in building improvements at those schools, adding computer labs, science labs,&nbsp; and installing air conditioning in every classroom.</p><p>It hosted hundreds of &ldquo;cultural integration events&rdquo; &ndash; from bowling parties to field days&mdash;to encourage social interaction between the two merging school communities and ease transitions between neighborhoods divided at times by longstanding tensions. And it has laid out careful security plans&mdash;including safe passage routes staffed by workers from the community to help students get safely to school.</p><p>But numbers obtained through an open records request show some 2,200 students from closed schools have <em>not </em>enrolled in welcoming schools, suggesting that the ripple effects of the largest school closure in recent American history could&nbsp; go well beyond the communities where the closures took place.&nbsp;</p><p>And while CPS says 78 percent of students have enrolled in designated welcoming schools, at individual schools, that percentage can be far lower. For instance, just 29 percent of students (42 kids in all)&nbsp; from shuttered Pope Elementary on the West Side have enrolled at Johnson School of Excellence, the designated &ldquo;welcoming&rdquo; school.</p><p>Instead, many former Pope students are enrolled at Crown Elementary&mdash;which has neither safe passage routes, nor iPads for every student.&nbsp; In some cases, schools that got major capital investments and programmatic improvements&mdash;to the tune of millions of dollars&mdash;will see fewer than 40 new children.</p><p>The scenario also puts at risk the district&rsquo;s promise to send every student to a higher performing school. For instance, Beidler, which itself has been on the shortlist for closure in the past, now has to manage an influx of students from eight shuttered schools (Stockton, Ross, Pope, Marconi, Goldblatt, Garfield Park, Calhoun and Bethune).</p><p>Many closing schools are sending nearly all their children to the receiving schools. One example is Ryerson, in the Garfield Park area. CPS says 326 Kindergarten through seventh graders were enrolled in Ryerson in May, and 311 have enrolled in the receiving school, Laura Ward, which will now be in the Ryerson building.</p><p>But other school communities are being pulled apart. Students from Lafayette Elementary, whose student orchestra became a symbol of community loss, are enrolled in 26 different schools, though the bulk will head to designated receiving school Chopin.</p><p>Students from shuttered Henson Elementary in North Lawndale are going to 21 different schools&mdash;including Crown, Penn, Mason and Lawndale. Just 32 of Henson&rsquo;s original 190 students are going to the designated receiving school, C. Hughes.</p><p>Tom Tyrrell, the former Marine Corps officer overseeing the shutdown of 50 schools and the transfer of 12,000 students to new schools, said Friday that Crown and other &ldquo;de facto&rdquo; welcoming schools would get what he called &ldquo;welcoming school funds.&rdquo; But he admitted that did not include building upgrades or iPads. The district has not said how much it has spent on Crown to help the school deal with an influx of students from closed schools, or how that amount compares to what designated welcoming schools received. A total of four closed schools are sending&nbsp; between 83 and 99 students to Crown (some exact figures cannot be ascertained because of the way CPS reported the data).&nbsp;</p><p>Other findings:</p><p>&bull; 40 of the 47 closing schools still have a handful of students that have not enrolled anywhere yet.</p><p>&bull; As of last Thursday, 118 students at King Elementary in the Tri-Taylor neighborhood still had not registered for school anywhere. During public hearings last spring the community raised concerns about safety and the long distance to the receiving school. Latino families said privately they would not attend Jensen, the receiving school, which is deep in an African American community. But King was an outlier. According to the district&rsquo;s figures, all other closing schools had 10 or fewer students left to enroll.</p><p>&bull; Handfuls of students at 36 of the 47 closed schools have left the district. At Jesse Owens, which used to be located at 125th and State Street, 10 students have left the district, the most of all the closing schools.</p><p>&bull; More students from closing Paderewski Elemenatary are headed to a nearby charter school than to Padarewski&rsquo;s designated receiving school. Twenty-eight students are slated to go to Catalyst-Howland charter campus, just blocks from Paderewski; 24 are enrolled at Cardenas, one of Paderewski&rsquo;s receiving schools.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 26 Aug 2013 00:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/education/closing-schools-diaspora-108518 Ex-Marine's mission: Make sure CPS 'Welcoming Schools' are welcoming http://www.wbez.org/news/education/ex-marines-mission-make-sure-cps-welcoming-schools-are-welcoming-108501 <p><p>School starts in just a few days in Chicago. There&rsquo;s a lot of last-minute scrambling every year at this time. But this summer, Chicago has also juggled a massive logistics operation because of school closures. WBEZ&rsquo;s Linda Lutton recently met up with the guy overseeing it all.</p><p style="text-align: center;">* * *</p><p>To understand the task facing Tom Tyrrell, imagine for a moment relocating the entire population of a small Illinois town. Something the size of Winnetka, say,&nbsp;or River Forest. All the people, all their stuff.</p><p>Oh, and before you move them in, you have to fix up the new place. Remodeling. &nbsp;Air conditioning.</p><p>That is essentially Tom Tyrrell&rsquo;s job: close 50 schools and move 12,000 kids to what the school district is calling &ldquo;Welcoming Schools.&rdquo;</p><p>Tyrrell is Chicago&rsquo;s commander in chief of school closings.</p><p><strong>TYRRELL: We&rsquo;re certainly responsible for the delivery of welcoming schools that are welcoming. And that&rsquo;s the mission.</strong></p><p>Tyrrell thinks in terms of missions. He&rsquo;s was an officer in the Marine Corps, retired as a colonel. He&rsquo;s been in charge of some pretty big transitions. &nbsp;Like one at the Pentagon&hellip;</p><p><strong>TYRRELL: &hellip;which was really taking the Department of Defense and trying to create the roadmap from the Cold War mentality to what we called then the asymmetric threat, which now we call terrorism.</strong></p><p>He was in Kosovo.</p><p><strong>TYRRELL: &nbsp;I was the senior planning person for the multinational team that was in Kosovo of about 40,000. Ironically, about the same size as CPS, I guess. So two big complex organizations. Both wanting to get better quickly.</strong></p><p>There are obvious differences between closing 50 schools and starting a new country or fighting terrorism. But there are also similarities.</p><p><strong>TYRRELL: You know, there are a group of people that don&rsquo;t want something to happen&mdash;that you&rsquo;re trying to persuade that this thing that you&rsquo;re doing is really in everyone&rsquo;s best interest, and to some extent the only thing you could do.</strong></p><p>Tyrrell has broken down this massive job into broad areas handled by top deputies. &nbsp;There&rsquo;s a &nbsp;global logistics firm&mdash;basically the district&rsquo;s moving company. There&rsquo;s an IT person. A textbook person. A consultant from Detroit, which used to be the leader in school closings&mdash;before Chicago.</p><p>On a table in Tyrrell&rsquo;s office are a half dozen guides on how to close schools. &nbsp;Yes, there are guidebooks for this. As American cities contract, as budgets get squeezed, as more charter schools open--big cities across the country have had to figure out how to close down schools.</p><p><strong>TYRRELL: There&rsquo;s D.C. for example. Here&rsquo;s North Carolina.This is a really good one, the Broad Foundation School Closure Guide.</strong><br />&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" height="409" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill%20Healy%20WBEZ%20photo%200001.JPG" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" width="615" /></div><p>As you can probably hear, Tyrrell is not from Chicago.</p><p><strong>TYRRELL: &nbsp;I grew up in Oklahoma&nbsp;and basically lived around the country and around the world for 26 years. </strong></p><p>Driving to visit a West Side welcoming school late last week, Tyrrell said we&rsquo;d be getting off at &ldquo;Exit 23B&rdquo; &ndash;that&rsquo;s what most Chicagoans would call Central Avenue.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s schools administration is full of people not from Chicago. Getting top-notch people from anywhere in world to dispassionately solve the city&rsquo;s problems sounds like common sense. But it&rsquo;s also caused complaints&mdash;that decisions are based on spreadsheets and maps that ignore realities obvious to Chicagoans, like gang lines, race lines, neighborhood culture and history.</p><p><strong>TYRRELL: Could we walk around a little bit? You show me? Basically I&rsquo;m just concerned&nbsp; about four or five things, and I think you guys have probably got &lsquo;em covered.</strong></p><p>At Duke Ellington Elementary, Tyrrell gets to figure out how his downtown plans are playing out. This is his first visit to the school. It&rsquo;s spacious and modern, built just eight years ago. It will serve as the welcoming school for shuttered Emmet Elementary.</p><p><strong>TYRRELL: Are you doing OK with staffing? </strong></p><p>Tyrrell asks assistant principal Salik Mukarram whether construction at Ellington has wrapped up. He tells him Ellington is not the only school still waiting for kindergarten furniture. He asks how clean-up is going. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><strong>TYRRELL: Do you need any more arms and legs? &nbsp;Cause we do have some surge teams available. </strong></p><p>Tyrrell estimates that every day he has somewhere between 300 and 500 people getting the closing schools closed and the welcoming schools spruced up.</p><p><strong>TYRRELL: What about your IT? Did you get a bunch of new stuff come in?</strong></p><p><strong>MUKARRAM: Well, we got another computer lab, I won&rsquo;t say &ldquo;new&rdquo; computer lab, because it&rsquo;s some equipment obviously from the other school.</strong></p><p><strong>TYRRELL: Are they flat screens at least?</strong></p><p><strong>MUKARRAM: No, no it&rsquo;s not the flat screens either.</strong></p><p><strong>TYRRELL: Where&rsquo;s that at? Can you show me that?</strong></p><p><strong><em>(lab door opens)</em></strong></p><p><strong>TYRRELL: See, this interesting to me cause we weren&rsquo;t supposed to deploy these unless we really had to, so I&rsquo;m not sure what&rsquo;s going on. So I&rsquo;ll have to check on this. </strong></p><p>The computer lab looks like your typical CPS lab. About 30 black Dell computers set on tables. Big fat monitors, and Tyrrell isn&rsquo;t happy with that. He takes pictures, and we head back to the hallway.</p><p><strong>TYRRELL: How many new students are you getting? About?</strong></p><p><strong>MUKARRAM: About? A little over 400 new students. &nbsp;So we&rsquo;re actually receiving more new students than we used to have. So our population more than doubled.</strong></p><p><strong>LUTTON: Whoa. So how does that feel?</strong></p><p><strong>MUKARRAM: It feels exciting. And challenging at the same time.</strong></p><p>The district gives Ellington a Level 1 rating, the best of three grades. But some have wondered how doubling in size will affect the school&rsquo;s culture and performance.</p><p>Next, Tyrrell takes me to DePriest Elementary, another school that&rsquo;s taking in students from Emmett. Principal Minnie Watson takes us to the gym, where enormous piles stretch up for the basketball hoops.</p><p><strong>WATSON: OK, All of this back here is material that we got from Emmet. We got science kits&mdash;and these are FOSS kits, and they&rsquo;re pricewise over $2000 apiece. </strong></p><p><strong>TYRRELL: Nice!</strong></p><p><strong>WATSON: We have display boards for the science fairs and for the history fairs. </strong></p><p><strong>TYRRELL: Nice!</strong></p><p><strong>WATSON: &nbsp;&nbsp;There&rsquo;s paper, there&rsquo;s pens....</strong></p><p>Like at other welcoming schools, the gym here is a staging area, so is the lunchroom&mdash; full of textbooks from the closed school, and new books too.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" height="339" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMAG1774.jpg" title="Boxes of books from shuttered Emmet Elementary in the DePriest school library. " width="603" /></div><p>Tyrrell says his takeaway from Ellington and DePriest is that they&rsquo;re ready.</p><p><strong>TYRRELL: These are two schools that are gonna accomplish the mission. </strong></p><p>Of course, many welcoming schools are in much older, needier buildings than the ones Tyrrell brought me to. &nbsp;In some, even today, construction work isn&rsquo;t finished . &nbsp;</p><p>That doesn&rsquo;t worry Tyrrell.</p><p><strong>TYRRELL: If we miss something --we&rsquo;ll go back and, whatever it is&mdash;we&rsquo;ll go back and fix it. If there&rsquo;s a computer that doesn&rsquo;t boot up, if there&rsquo;s a corner that didn&rsquo;t get painted. Something&nbsp;didn&rsquo;t get cleaned as well as it should have. We can fix that stuff. My report card is: does every student feel welcome at their new school? That&rsquo;s my report card. </strong></p><p>Tyrrell says he recognizes that the district&rsquo;s work will not take away the pain people feel at losing their schools.</p><p><strong>TYRRELL: We have got to focus now on making it worth that effort. And making those parents feel good about the fact that, I&rsquo;m sad that my school closed, I will miss that as a school in my community. But I am really glad&nbsp;with the performance of the school where my children are going now. That&rsquo;s the moment of opportunity for us.</strong></p><p>And the first test of that comes Monday.</p></p> Fri, 23 Aug 2013 01:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/education/ex-marines-mission-make-sure-cps-welcoming-schools-are-welcoming-108501