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Lake View Principal Leaving District, 'First Of Many,' CPS Colleague Says

By Ariel Cheung | June 6, 2016 4:31pm | Updated on June 6, 2016 10:02pm
 Scott Grens, principal of Lake View High School, touts achievements of the Class of 2016.
Scott Grens, principal of Lake View High School, touts achievements of the Class of 2016.
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DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung

LAKEVIEW — Principal Scott Grens will leave Lake View High School after two years leading the neighborhood STEM school.

Grens told staff Friday before notifying the Lake View community with the news Monday.

RELATED: Lane Tech Principal The Latest To Resign, Is CPS Exodus Under Way?

"As a teacher, coach, and principal, I put my heart and soul into Lake View High School and have many to thank for ongoing support," Grens wrote in an email. "It has been an honor to participate in this success serving as principal and growing together as lifelong learners."

Grens said he would help the Local School Council with the search for a new principal. His resignation is effective June 30, and he'll be leaving for an elementary school.

SCROLL DOWN TO READ THE FULL LETTER

The school's loss comes alongside several others as Chicago Public Schools face a 30 percent cut next year. CEO Forrest Claypool said last week that CPS will not open in the fall without a state budget, or at least an education spending plan.

The news came days after the state legislature failed to pass a bill before it recessed June 1.

Grens was among a group of North Side principals who called on Chicago to pressure legislators to support education funding reform in late May.

(from l.): CPS Principals Scott Grens, Mira Weber, Katie Konieczny, Nate Pietrini and James Gray speak Monday, May 23, 2016, at a forum focused on changing how Illinois funds its school districts. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

He detailed the severe cuts a high school like Lake View could suffer in 2016-17, asserting "there's not a whole lot of room to wiggle" without losing staff and programs.

RELATED: What Do Students Think About CPS Budget? 'We're Screwed' (VIDEO)

"He is the first of many, I think, [to leave CPS]," one principal said.

Both Palmer Elementary and Edison Park Elementary also got news of departing principals on Monday. Edison Park's Pete Zimmerman will retire after 25 years with CPS, while La Shawn Ray is leaving Palmer to accept a job with Minneapolis Public Schools.

Also on the West Side, Principal Daniel Zimmerman will step down from Foreman High School to take a job as the principal of an elementary school in Reno, Nevada.

Grens was unanimously selected as the high school's new principal in June 2014, following the abrupt departure of Principal Lilith Werner.

He got his start teaching English at the high school from 2008-2011 before serving as resident principal of Kenwood Academy High School from 2011-2012.

Scott Grens in 2014, when he was selected as Lake View's acting principal. [DNAinfo/Serena Dai]

He left his role as George Westinghouse College Prep assistant principal to take up the role of interim principal after Werner left the school.

This year, 86 percent of Lake View graduates are heading to college — a 20 percent bump from 2013 and 2014. Graduation rates are up and students have received a combined $12 million in scholarships so far this year.

RELATED: Lake View Seniors Soar As STEM School Sheds Its 'Last Resort' Reputation

In Lakeview, Grens is the latest in an ongoing leadership shake-up. Blaine Elementary is sorting out its affairs after Principal Troy LaRaviere was elected president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association amid dismissal proceedings from CPS.

At its May 24 meeting, the Blaine LSC said it needed answers from CPS on whether the district would push forward with the dismissal hearing and how that would impact the principal opening at Blaine.

In March, Yasmeen Muhammad-Leonard stepped into the permanent role of principal at Nettelhorst Elementary. She filled the role in an interim capacity during the 2015-16 school year after a year as the resident principal.

At Lake VIew, the next LSC meeting is set for Thursday.

Below is the full letter Grens sent to the LVHS community:

 

To:                   Lake View High School Students, Parents, and Families

From:              Scott Grens, Principal

Date:              June 6th, 2016

Re:                  Principal Transition from LVHS

 

Students, Parents, and Families,

Over the past two years, Lake View High School has grown tremendously. From improvements in student achievement and school facilities to shared values, students and staff know Lake View High School is HOME.

Honor for self, school, and society;

Ownership of learning and leading;

Mastery of skills and growth; and,

Education for the future.

HOME is about people, not a place. And, through collective efforts, the LVHS staff accomplished many improvements for students, including but not limited to, increases in College Enrollment, Early College Credit Attainment, Freshmen On Track, and the 5Essentials. It has been an honor to participate in this success serving as principal and growing together as lifelong learners to foster honor, ownership, mastery, and education.

These are significant achievements and great gains for you as students and families realized through hard work and collective responsibility. With teamwork, I am confident such gains will continue for LVHS. Therefore, I have decided this will be my last year as principal of Lake View High School. Effective June 30th, 2016, I will pursue a new learning opportunity as principal of an Elementary School.

As a teacher, coach, and principal, I put my heart and soul into Lake View High School and have many to thank for ongoing support, such as our students, staff, parents, family, aldermen, community members, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago leadership, and community partners. In the coming days, I will engage the Local School Council and CPS Network 2 in planning next steps in this transition.

I commend our hardworking students for exhibiting prideful school spirit and perseverance in solidifying Lake View High School as Chicago’s Premier Neighborhood High School. I look forward to the continued accomplishments of LVHS and each of our students in preparing for college, career, and community commitment. Also, as we finish another successful year at LVHS, please visit the following link HERE for helpful information regarding end of year events, dates, and important information. LVHS is HOME.

 

Respectfully,

Scott Grens

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