AUBURN GRESHAM — In a letter to the Local School Council and parents at Walter Gresham Elementary School, Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale said the' "turnaround" planned for the school in the fall is moving forward.
"After much discussion and reviewing the information you presented to us including your proposal for an internal turnaround, [board of education members] have collectively decided not to reverse the decision made at the April board meeting," Vitale wrote in a letter dated Wednesday.
Parents said they had hoped the school board would reverse its decision.
Friday is the last day of school for Chicago Public Schools students, and the Gresham Parents, Students and Community United for Change group will hold a Friday afternoon news conference at the school, 8524 S. Green St., with Principal Diedrus Brown to announce their next course of action to get the turnaround plan reversed.
"The fight is not over. We are not giving up on our school," said Tiffany Walker, a Gresham alum and member of the parents group whose three children attend Gresham.
When a turnaround occurs, all employees, including the principal, must reapply for their jobs, and the Academy of Urban School Leadership takes over management of the school.
The percentage of Gresham students meeting or exceeding state standards has improved from 34.7 percent in 2004 to 58.3 percent in 2012 (including 64.4 percent in 2011).
But Vitale explained that the board's decision was not based solely on test scores.
"We [also] seek input from current and past network chiefs regarding the school's principal and staff, the quality of its academic program and school's culture," Vitale said. "Based on all these measurements, we continue to believe that turnaround through [the Academy of Urban School Leadership] is the best path forward for Gresham, its students and the school community."
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