November 29, 2011

Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Brizard Announce More Chicago Turnaround Schools to Boost Academic Success and Student Performance for Students Across Chicago

Six of 10 proposed turnarounds to be managed by Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) next year, whose students’ academic gains on the ISAT were more than double that of the district last year

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Jean-Claude Brizard met today with parents of students in turnaround schools led by the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) to discuss their experiences in transitioning their children from an underperforming school to a turnaround school. CPS has proposed 10 new turnaround schools serving 5,800 students for the 2012-2013 school year including a record six schools to be managed by AUSL.

“Every child in Chicago deserves to have access to a world-class education, to compete and win in tomorrow’s economy, but too many schools in our communities are not giving students the tools they need,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Turnarounds across Chicago are driving immediate results for students - with the right school culture, leadership and staff these children can succeed.”

Currently 123,000 students in CPS attend low-performing schools and just 7.9% of CPS high school juniors tested as college-ready in the 2010-2011 school year. Turnarounds change under-performing CPS schools by completely overhauling them and investing in critical academic supports without moving students to another school. This model has been proven to increase student academic growth and put students on the path toward college readiness.

Parents from five AUSL turnaround schools joined Emanuel and Brizard at Morton School of Excellence to share their experiences and discuss the academic progress of their children under the AUSL Turnaround model. Morton has achieved significant academic growth since becoming a turnaround in 2008, earning a 33 percentage point increase in students meeting or exceeding state standards on the ISAT.

“Schools are the cornerstones of communities, but when our schools fail our children we have to stand up and make a change. We must put the academic needs of our students first before they fall any farther behind,” said CPS CEO Brizard.

The turnaround strategy at CPS began in 2006 with the conversion of Sherman Elementary School by AUSL. Since then, AUSL has developed a strong overall track record of increasing student academic achievement within its 12 turnaround schools. Academic growth for AUSL students (8%) was more than twice that of the district average (3.8%) on the 2011 ISAT composite.

AUSL Turnarounds build successful students because of two critical investments: a top-to-bottom school transformation and comprehensive teacher training that prepares teachers to tackle the challenges of growing student achievement within low-performing schools. Students return in the fall to a school that is re-built around an entirely new culture of success.

AUSL makes critical investments both in training teachers and in the academic supports students receive. Last summer, Mayor Emanuel announced that CPS would double its investment in AUSL teacher training academies from seven to 14 over the next two years, which will add 200 teachers into the system that are specially trained to teach in low performing schools. Teachers receive intensive training at these academies to better equip them for effectively impacting student academic growth in some of the district’s most chronically underperforming schools.

AUSL would be designated to implement the turnaround strategy at six of the schools serving nearly 3,200 students:

  • Pablo Casals Elementary School, 3501 W. Potomac Avenue, which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years.
  • Melville W. Fuller Elementary School, 4214 S. Saint Lawrence Avenue, which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years.
  • Theodore Herzl Elementary School, 3711 W. Douglas Boulevard, which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years.
  • Marquette Elementary School, 6550 S. Richmond Street, which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years.
  • Brian Piccolo Elementary Specialty School, 1040 N. Keeler Avenue, which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years.
  • Amos Alonzo Stagg Elementary School, 7424 S. Morgan Street, which has been on academic probation for 5 consecutive years.

AUSL sets aggressive, transparent goals for schools, teams and students. By providing a wide range of rigorous courses, after school programs and interventions that help students catch up, students build the skills they need to succeed in high school and college. Supports provided through the AUSL turnaround models include:

  • Intervention and tutoring services for students who need extra support in reading and math;
  • Systems in place to increase student attendance, decrease serious misconduct and increase student satisfaction;
  • Advanced data systems and testing aligned with rigorous academic standards to help staff identify struggling students early and give them help they need to get back on track;
  • After-school programs to give students access to additional instruction time to further accelerate student achievement;
  • High-quality instruction including Common Core State Standards to ensure rigorous instructional program that gives students knowledge and skills needed to be ready for college and career;
  • In-house training for aspiring teachers that gives teachers strategies and tools needed to address diverse needs of students in transitioning schools;
  • Extensive extracurricular enhancements including fine arts and athletics to facilitate more well-rounded learning;
  • Teacher collaboration across subjects to maximize student learning and ensure students are not falling behind in any area;
  • Relentless efforts to recruit, retain, and motivate high-quality staff;
  • Provide evidence-based social-emotional programming; and
  • Full time social worker to provide one on one counseling.

Under the proposal, the CPS Office of School Improvement would implement the turnaround strategy at four other schools serving 2,650 students including:

  • Chicago Vocational Career Academy (CVCA) High School, 2100 E. 87th Street, which has been on academic probation for 10 consecutive years.
  • Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School, 4747 S. Union Avenue, which has been on academic probation for eight consecutive years.
  • Wendell Smith Elementary School, 744 E. 103rd Street, which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years.
  • Carter G. Woodson South Elementary School, 4414 S. Evans Avenue, which has been on academic probation for five consecutive years.

More information on the School Actions process can be found at the CPS website by visiting CPS staff also will be available to answer parent questions at the school and through the CPS Quality Schools Hotline at 773.553.5020. 


# # #