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CPS Moves To Close 4 Underperforming Charter Schools

By Joe Ward | November 5, 2015 2:57pm
 CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool and Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson have recommended the closure of four charter schools.
CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool and Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson have recommended the closure of four charter schools.
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CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools officials are asking the Board of Education to close four underperforming charter schools, the school district announced Thursday.

The four charters were recently placed on the district's newly created Academic Warning List, which forced the schools to devise a turnaround plan and face closure if the plan was not followed.

Just two weeks after the warning list of 10 schools was OK'd by the Board of Education, CPS is asking that four of those 10 schools be closed due to failure to implement their turnaround plans.

"The proposed closures announced today were made to ensure better outcomes for students, and signal to charters not performing well that they need to either improve or pack their bags because they will not be able to operate in Chicago," CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said.

The schools facing closure are:

• Amandla Charter High School, 6800 S. Stewart Ave. in Englewood

• Betty Shabazz-Barbara A. Sizemore Academy, 7822 S. Dobson Ave. in Greater Grand Crossing

• Larry Hawkins High School, 801 E. 133rd Pl. in Pullman

• Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter, 8 W. Root St. in Bronzeville

The four schools slated for closure received extra scrutiny because they were either on last year's warning list or were in the final year of their charter contract, CPS said.

Amandla, Shabazz-Sizemore and Hawkins were all on last year's academic warning list, and CPS said the schools failed to implement their turnaround plans.

CPS is recommending Lighthouse charter to close because its contract with CPS is up at the end of this year and CPS said it has "failed to meet the district's performance standards during the course of its contract."

"Closing a school is always a last resort, but after reviewing the performance of these four schools, it is clear our students need and deserve better options," CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson said.

The Chicago Board of Education will be tasked with approving the closures. Its next meeting is Nov. 18, though CPS did not say when it would bring this action to the board.

The schools would be closed at the end of the 2015-2016 academic year, CPS said.

CPS said it will be assisting families with students at the charters slated for closure through its Office of Access and Enrollment, which can be reached at 773-553-2060.

Open enrollment for district-run schools lasts through Dec. 11, CPS said. Families seeking a new charter school option should call the office of innovation and incubation at 773-553-1530.

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