Field Elementary School Principal Praises Parents in Keeping School Open

By Benjamin Woodard on February 27, 2013 4:37pm 

 Shamolia James, right, whose son attends Eugene Field School, is one of many parents who are active at the school, which was removed from a list of schools CPS threatens to close.
Shamolia James, right, whose son attends Eugene Field School, is one of many parents who are active at the school, which was removed from a list of schools CPS threatens to close.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

ROGERS PARK — The principal at Eugene Field Elementary School said "parental involvement" convinced Chicago Public Schools to remove the school from its list of those flagged for closure.

"One of the things that they loved about this school [is] the parental involvement," Metcalf said Wednesday at the first Local School Council meeting since CPS pared down its list of possible closures to 129. "That's a great piece that was taken into consideration. So thank you."

The principal let out a subdued "whoo!" and a golf clap at the 9 a.m. meeting.

In attendance was Jan, who graduated in 1962 from Field School. She requested to keep her last name private.

"We have a love for this school," said the 64-year-old woman who has lived on the same block as Field School since her parents moved to a single-family home there in 1954. "I'm so very happy the school is open. I'm happy that Field will endure."

Joyce Norfleet, who has a grandchild at Field School and volunteers with CPS to help boost parent and community involvement in public schools, said she wants to see even more collaboration among teachers and parents to ensure CPS won't close its doors in the future.

"We don't always know what CPS is looking for," she said. "When we think we're safe, we may not be safe."

District officials "didn't know our community here when they put our school on the list," she said. "They looked at the history, not the future."

Field School was taken off academic probation last year and put on "good standing," she said.

Last year, 72.3 percent of Field School students in 8th grade met state testing standards, up nearly 11 percent since 2010, according to school district records.

Community meetings continue through early next month before CPS must decide by March 31 which schools will be closed.

Other schools not on the list could still be either consolidated with a charter or other neighborhood school — or undergo a "turnaround," in which the school's faculty and staff are replaced in an attempt to increase academic performance.

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