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Press Release- May 2012

HPKCC Schools Committee Celebrates Biennial Thank-You Party for Hyde Park-Kenwood Public School Leaders

There was great enthusiasm for Dr. Charles Payne’s words of wisdom on Thursday, May, 3, 2012, when the distinguished U. of Chicago professor addressed the emeritus and newly elected Local School Council Members of Miriam Canter Middle School, Walter H. Dyett Academic Center, Bret Harte School, Kenwood Academy High School, Charles Kozminski Community Academy, Phillip Murray Language Academy, Florence B. Price Fine Arts Elementary School, William H. Ray Elementary School, Claude H. Reavis Elementary School, Jackie Robinson School and Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School.

Held at the Charles Kozminski Community Academy, 936 E. 54th St. in Hyde Park, whose principal is Myron L. Hester, the event was hosted by the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Schools Committee. The Conference holds this event every other year at the end of the term of office of the Local School Council. Recently the Hyde Park Herald posted the names of the newly elected Local School Council Members.

Dr. Payne, who is a well-known advocate of urban education, gave an incisive talk about the Chicago Public Schools. He was constructively critical and emphasized the need for comprehensive early childhood education. He cited statistics of achievements and failure of the Chicago Public Schools and challenged the evening’s current school leaders to become more conversant in these statistics. For instance: In Chicago 14% of 4th graders are reading at grade level or above but 4th grade showing a steady increase in basic skills. Over the last 6 years there has been a 10% increase in the number of children going to college.

Dr. Payne urged parents to examine these statistics and to hold the system to a higher standard.

Present at the event were the principals of various schools: Dr. Colleen Conlan of Canter; Shenethe Parks of Bret Harte; Dr. Gregory Jones of Kenwood ; Justin Moore of Price ; Sabrina Gates of Shoesmith; Gregory Mason of Murray; Justin Moore of Price; and Dr. Tatia Beckwith of Ray.

The members of the Schools Committee who worked hard to make this event happen are Nancy Baum and Camille Hamilton-Doyle, Co-Chairs; Gary Ossewaarde, Ismail Turay, Victoria Long, Fanya Burford-Berry, Josephine Njoku-Sanders, Beth Herring and Joy Clendenning.
A warm thanks goes to the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference for funding and to the many parents of Kozminski who helped out with the event.

The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference acknowledges as well the assistance of the University of Chicago and in particular of Shaz Rasul, Director of Neighborhood Schools Program.