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CPS: Marine Academy Not Moving to Ames, but Ames Will Have Military Focus

By Victoria Johnson | October 31, 2013 4:55pm | Updated on October 31, 2013 5:53pm
 An Ames Middle School sign announces a community meeting about converting the school to a military school on Nov. 1, 2012.
An Ames Middle School sign announces a community meeting about converting the school to a military school on Nov. 1, 2012.
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DNAInfo/Victoria Johnson

LOGAN SQUARE — In another twist in the Ames Middle School-Marine Math and Science Academy saga, a Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman said Thursday that Marine Academy will not move into the Ames building, but Ames will have a military academic focus next year.

Seemingly contradicting information released Tuesday at news conference attended by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) and Chicago School Board members David Vitale and Jesse Ruiz, CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said that the Ames building will not become home to the Marine Academy next year, but still will become a military school.

The school, which currently serves seventh and eighth grades, will add ninth through 12th grades.

"What's happening is Ames is getting a change in academic focus," Carroll said Thursday. "They're going to be associated with the [U.S.] Marine program, so like the Marine Math and Science Academy, they, too, will have a military academic focus at their school."

She added, "They're both going to continue as their own schools. They will have their own staff, and they will remain where they are."

Both Carroll and city spokeswoman Rachel Kruer said the Ames staff, including the popular principal, Turon Ivy, will stay on at the school at 1920 N. Hamlin Ave.

Tuesday's news release that said Ames "will be expanded from 7th grade to 12th grade and will become the permanent home for Marine Math and Science Academy," was misworded, Kruer said.

Marine Academy will stay on the Near West Side, where it shares a building with Phoenix Military Academy at 145 S. Campbell Ave., she said.

In an email clarifying plans for the schools, Kruer wrote Thursday:

"Ames is changing its academic focus and increasing its capacity, while Marine Math and Science students have the opportunity to enroll at this school. This will open more seats for a Marine curriculum at Marine Math and Science and at Ames, which will each remain at their current location, have their own ID number, and have their own staff."

The move still contradicts Vitale's statement last December that there weren't any plans to make Ames a military school.

On Wednesday, Emanuel said Vitale's comments were made when "we didn't have the report on overcrowding" in the district. Emanuel said more seats were needed at military schools to meet demand.