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Chicago Free School Moving into Kenwood Synagogue

By Sam Cholke | July 13, 2015 5:31am
 Chicago Free School will join City Elementary at K.A.M. Isaiah Israel by moving into the second floor.
Chicago Free School will join City Elementary at K.A.M. Isaiah Israel by moving into the second floor.
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DNAinfo/Sam Cholke

HYDE PARK — The Chicago Free School is moving, joining City Elementary at K.A.M. Isaiah Israel.

When classes resume on Sept. 8, the school will reopen in the former nursery school classrooms in the synagogue at 1100 E. Hyde Park Blvd.

“K.A.M.I.I. offers the potential to be a more permanent location for the school,” said Lauren Beitler, one of the founders of the school, in an announcement of the move. “The campus offers many useful amenities including an on-campus playground and increased classroom storage.”

During its first year, the school used the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood Ave., as a temporary home, but students had to clear out by 2:15 p.m. every day as the club’s after-school programs ramped up.

The move will allow the school to extend its day to 3:15 p.m.

The Free School, which offers a hyper-democratic approach to education where students and teachers are all heavily involved in setting discipline standards, how the curriculum is taught and other aspects of the school, is the second school to move into the synagogue.

City Elementary will continue to run its school on the ground floor of the synagogue while Free School moves in upstairs. Similar Free School, City Elementary was started last year by a group of parents looking for an alternative to public offerings in the neighborhood.

The school for kids on the autism spectrum or who have difficulties with the noise and distractions of a traditional school has been so successful in Kenwood that the parents are considering opening a second location on the North Side.

For parents curious about how the Chicago Free School will use its space or interested in enrolling for next year, the school will hold an information session on from 12:30-2 p.m. Aug. 2 at the synagogue.

For more information, visit the school’s website at chicagofreeschool.org.

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