News about or from Schools

A service of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Schools Committee and the HPKCC website,
Help support our work: Join the Conference.
Join the Schools Committee.

This is a topical page of news from various individual schools, arranged alphabetically. Kenwood has its own page although there is a section with mostly different material here. For general schools and education news and essays visit School and Education News page. See also Test Scores page (2006 are up).

Community Action Council (CAC)- next February 22, 6 pm at Kenwood School..

August 23, Wednesday, 6 pm. HPK CAC (community action council for schools) meets adt Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell. Election of officers, Jane Averill Reading Day, consideration of draft letter on the Single Application.

Resumes in September 28th Thursday, 5:30 pm. HPKCC Schools Committee at Kenwood Academy Media Center, 5015 S. Blackstone. Use parking lot door, right 2 corridors, left, Meia center is left in middle of corridor.

Kenwood Good Buddies- Madison Holley a former participant in the Woodlawn Voices and Visions program, is a remarkable young student at Kenwood Academy who is raising money for the Best Buddies program at the school, a peer-support program for students at the school with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The group is raising funds for field trips, an end-of-the-year banquet and some other materials. Please make a small donation by clicking on the link below:
This is the work we have to do everyday in order to continue to be a resilient community. On behalf of Madison, thanks for your support!

Reprieve- Bret Harte's Special Needs Preschool will continue 2016-17, with an advisory council on continuing quality and on assignment of students to Harte. A "play-in" is planned at the school.


From Dawn Straus: January 2017

Just this afternoon, I received word that I'm the recipient of the Kraft Teaching Excellence in Secondary Teaching Award from CAMWS-a national Latin teacher award. I'm still in awe that I was even nominated let alone won. Thank you, Polly Hoover for nominating me. Thank you, Tom Sienkewicz for being the reason I ever even became a Latin teacher, and thank you to all my former and current student who inspire me each and every day to be a more erudite, empathetic, and compassionate person. What an honor!

Kenwood Academy High School’s assistant principal, Karen Calloway, received an award for outstanding commitment in education from Illinois State Treasurer, Michael Frerichs, last month. Awards were given at a celebration for the achievements of African Americans in the Chicago area to commemorate Black History Month. Calloway was one of five people to receive an award in different categories. “As an administrator, the work that you do isn’t always being noticed, but it was really a great feeling to be awarded something like this,” Calloway said


Congratulation Kenwood choirs for sweeping all categories in April 2016 nationals in Florida.

American Field Service sends several foreign students to Kenwood High School each year for about a year. They always need host families and and Kenwood Academy is hosting an informational meeting for interested host families tomorrow, Wed. Dec. 9 in the Little Theater of Kenwood Academy at 5015 S. Blackstone, parking in lot at Lake Park Ave. and 51st Street.
For further information contact Assistant Principal Janeen Hatoum at

Cuts at schools continue as the crisis escalates in winter-spring 2016.

STATE OF HPK SCHOOLS DECEMBER 2014 CPS PRES. TO THE CAC. (It is 8 MB and one slide may have error).
Dyett RFP issued by CPS Dec. 19 2014- link is in Schools-Educ. News.

Changes in level and SQRP for area schools as reported in Herald evening digest Nov. 23 2015.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) recently released its yearly rating of its schools, known as the School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) for 2015.

The ratings are 1+, 1, 2+, 2 and 3, from highest to lowest. Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., received the highest score of a level 1+ school.

While other Hyde Park schools remained at the same rating for 2015, two schools went down a level in their SQRP.

Phillip Murray Elementary Language Academy, 5335 S. Kenwood Ave., went from a level 1+ rating in 2014 to a level 1 rating in 2015. Bret Harte Elementary School, 1556 E. 56th St., received a level 1 in 2014, but went down in 2015 at a level 2+.

Both schools still remain at a good standing according to their SQRP scores.

CPS had changed ranking of schools from 1-3 (1 being top) to 1+, 1, 2+, 2, and 3 (1+ being best).
Murray from 2 to 1+
Bret Harte- goes from 2 to 1
Kenwood Academy High from 2 to 1
Canter (closed spring 2014) from 3 to 1
Shoesmith from 2 to 1
Ray from 2 to 2+
Kozminski from 3 to 2
Reavis from 3 to 2

The schools used distinct but both focused and broad strategies to advance.

DYETT to remain a school, reopen 2016. DYETT (which HPKCC sought to keep open as an open enrollment neighborhood school with high quality programs): October 24 2014 CPS announced it would put out in December a RFP for community proposals for Dyett High School as an open enrollment neighborhood school. The program will be finalized in fall 2015 and the new school open for the year 2016-17. This represents a substanial community victory although incomplete and reversal of the decision four years ago to phase out the school. There have been a couple of (contentious) public meetings. The Coalition tReviatalize has started a hunger strike and held sit ins at CPS.
Chicago Public Schools announced [August 21015] that the request for proposal process to identify a new open enrollment, neighborhood high school at the current site of Dyett High School is being extended to provide adequate time for the new leadership of CPS to review community feedback and proposals.


Kenwood Journeys. According to the November 9 2015 Chicago Tribune, the Tribune won a Midwest Emmy at last Saturday's 57th annual presentation for "Kenwood Journeys." This documentary by John Owens, Zbigniew Bzdak and Howard Reich grew out of Reich and Bzdak's 2014 series on the preparation of the Kenwood Academy Jazz Band for its appearance at Symphony Center with jazz great Jason Moran and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a world premiere work.Two weeks before the appearance, Band guitarist Aaron Rushing, aged 15, was killed near his home in South Chicago. The documentary's video release was the occasion of a school-wide celebration and is well worth the watch. It can be found at PS, our local schools and their students need all the support they can get at this time of crisis, and recognition of their achievements.

Ancona excelled again in 2015 at the Metro History Fair. Sidney Paris and Roley Corrigan-Halpern (7th grade) received superior ratings in Springfield. Paris' on Wilaim Hale Thompson and the 1919 Race Riot will stay on display at the Abraham Lincoln Library while Corrigan-Halpern's received "superior" on the Center on Halsted.

Bret Harte is looking for tutors who could help upper grade students with reading and math. They are looking for people who are available during the school day. Even one hour once a week would be helpful! If you are able to help, please contact Kristy Ulrich Papczun at

Ray was reported by its new principal Megan Thole to be moving ahead with new approaches in place. Teachers are said to be very pleased.

Ray Elementary School is in need of volunteers to help manage traffic on Kimbark and 56th Street in the mornings. This Kiss and Go program helps to keep children safe in the morning and allows for traffic to flow smoothly near the school. It only takes about 30 minutes -- from 8:20 until 8:50am. You can commit to as little as ne day a week, or you can be a substitute if a regular volunteer is unable to work that day. If you are able to help out, please email Sharon at

Kenwood Principal Dr. Gregory Jones is one of 21 CPS principals participating this year in the Principal Fellowship Program of rigorous leadership and executive training at Northwestern University.

New in the mix 2014 fall will be the Chicago Free School, leader Lauren Beitler. About 60 students are enrolled in the first year with 4-5 teachers, plus aides in Hyde Pakr Neighborhood Club. An expected arangement with Augustana Church did not work out due to cost of retrofit and upgrade of safety systems. The school will be "democratically" run with students etc. deciding what to do and learn at their own speed, and the rules. It has a board. It is based on a number of new models in other states.,

Great news for Shoesmith- in 2014 it shot up to Tier 1 status. 59% were at the 50th percentile on the NWEA in reading and nearly 55 in math, with 70% of the K and 1st graders exceeding state standards on DIBLES. The gain is 10% overall this year. The school stressed literacy and took ongoing looks and small-group work on students' actual work. It also stresses behavior expectation and works on this like it does on academics- peer on peer, peer on staff, and staff on staff. It's the climate. Achieving the required 95% attendance also matters. Parental involvement has also greatly increased with small-groups. Construction underway will solve ADA issues, exterior attractiveness, heating/cooling , and a new resource room for teachers and tutors. The mobile units will house the now-full-time arts program. Math is next...
Congratulations Principal Gates and everyone.

Bret Harte is also on the verge of becoming a Tier 1- when announced we should see the HPK schools in general made major strides in 2013-14. Harte held a ribbon cutting with the Mayor for its new payground funded mainly by Antheus Capital-MAC Properties. BRET HARTE WAS VOTED "MOST IMPROVED SCHOOL IN THE 5TH WARD" in a ward-ide vote, announced at acommuity awards confab Oct. 23, 2014.

Kenwood Jazz Band and its collaboration with composer-pianist Jason Moran leading to performance of Moran's "Looks of a Lot"at the CSO is subject of a documentary by John Owess for the Tribune, with Howard Reich and photographer Zbigniew Bzdak. The doc will first be shown on Channel 20 WYCC Friday Oct. 3 at 8 pm. This was subject of a 2-page article by Reich in the October 1, 2014 Chicago Tribune Arts and Entertainment section.

Ray school LSC chose interim AP Megan Thole as Principal September 18, 2014. Ms. Thole was praised as a communicator, team builder, and leader strongly supported by the teachers and after a lengthy public vetting of the many candidates, according to the Herald. She was introduced to the school community September 23 at a special LSC meeting.

Ray School Kiss and Drop program. Ray School started the Kiss and Drop program last year to keep kids safe in getting to school and to help with traffic control. The program is in need of a few more volunteers. The work is very gratifying and fun- wishing kids a good day on their way to school and wishing parents well on the way to their day. It only takes about 30 minutes- from 8:20-8:50am. Would you like to give a hand? You can commit to as little as one day a week, or you can be a substitute if a regular volunteer is unable to work that day.

May 21, Wednesday, 6 pm. HPKCC Schools Committee Biennial Thank-You Dinner for Principals, LSC and parent support groups of Hyde Park-Kenwood Schools. Featured speaker Dr. Charles Payne, U of C School of Social Service Administration. Dr. Payne presented evidence of a strong correlation between trust and school success and progress- between students and teachers, parents and teachers/school, teachers and principal, principal (and indeed all) and the district. Trust levels were highest among integrated schools, less in heavily Spanish populated schools, and lowest in African American schools. Examples of places with high trust and success--including long lead times of gathering and listening to feedback and correlated parental involvement (and less uproar when schools are closed) are Montgomery County and Baltimore in Maryland and the Logan Park area in Chicago.

In July 2014 Ingenuity, the CPs partner in developing CPS's 2012 Cultural Plan, released a "State of the Arts" (in CPS schools) report. Conditions described mainly were before or as the CPS Cultural Plan were being ramped up, but, Ingenuity said, showed how much far below standard things are. Especially disturbing to many are that funds for new art teachers etc. to schools are only temporary and rapidly go down the next two years and that this infusion is not likely to completely close the gap, especially in arts-in-schools deserts (and poor program, lack of resources and arts partners and in reaching 120 arts minutes and time-equivalent teachers in schools) in south and west side schools. This fits in with the US Department of Education findings that schools of poor and minority students are likely to have 1st year and inadequate teachers. Findings of Ingenuity: only 56% of schools met the 1:350 art teacher per student ratio. To get the report visit

Canter meeting June 16 2014

c. July 21 according to media announcement, Ald. Burns, Supt. BBBennett and Mayor Emanuel met and agreed to move Kenwood Academic Center (selective enrollment) into the closed Canter building (this will take a year). BofEd will have to approve but that's expected.

By Gary Ossewaarde
June 16 Alderman Burns devoted the entire monthly ward meeting at Kenwood Academy to the long-promised community meeting on re-purposing Canter (as delegated by CPS and the city to aldermen to hold such meetings.) (The alderman provided a handout setting forth his position and what he has done on Dyett. He would not answer criticisms of this or discuss alternative ideas (whether the would support them or not) such as Global and Environmental Neighborhood about Dyett discussed from the floor-- back and forth was at time very heated.)

Burns, Kenwood Prinicpal Dr. Gregory Jones, Network Chief Peters, and a spokesman for CPS Facilities offered (to this writer) a well-reasoned plan to transition the Kenwood Academic Center (KAC) for 7th and 8th graders into Canter in fall 2015 if possible and if approved by CPS. It will take at least a year of both remediation to the building and transition planning at the school and with the Network to make sure this will work. The principal promised there will be at least as many electives and opportunities at the academic center, and if possible growth in numbers, including plenty of opportunities for the students to do work in the main high school building and get used to the high school experience. Jones emphasized that his role is implementation-- the best education possible for the children admitted to the school, not policy. Emphasized among benefits was relief of crowding at Kenwood with opportunity for growth, and that the KAC can grow in the Canter building and perhaps more offered there also. And it saves the Canter building as a fully- utilized (speakers seemed to promise) structure that is a regular CPS school (negating in some degree the closure by a trade off allowing growth, Burns and the other speakers said-- see below on selective vs open enrollment). The audience generally agreed that the move clearly made the most sense, but thought it in some ways goes backward and that more needs to be included in the outcome (see below).

In answers to strong concerns, the Facilities representative said that if CPS approves the move, CPS is committed to finding the funding to remediate or upgrade the building, and to prevent its deterioration and to keep up the grounds (pointed out in bad shape) in the meantime. He did not promise improvements. Jones and the Network responded positively but without specifics or promises (at least partially because of scheduling and programming constraints and needs/desires of the elementary schools) to urging by many from the audience (appearing to represent consensus) that in-building KAC and middle-school opportunities be available to 7th and 8th graders in other HPK schools, particularly in the receiving (Harte, Ray) but (audience members asked) cluster/Network schools (Shoesmith, Murray but some pointed also to Kozminski and beyond) and also that teachers in these other schools receive at KAC demonstration and planning in best practices.

An apparent majority wanted the KAC to become an open enrollment school at least for the cluster or/and in other ways provide equal educational opportunity for the middle grades- indeed all the kids across the K-12 continuum, in comport with open enrollment in most of the elementary schools and in the high school. This seemed not to exclude the view of CPS that the various schools should be able offer options by way of what CPS called flavors-- such as language academy, math & science, et al-- but there was widespread expression that the children, or many of them, and the community has lost by the exchange of a selective enrollment middle grade program for the former Canter Middle School's open enrollment, and that this loss needs some kind of remediation.

Burns was strongly criticized for presenting the plan as seemingly "that's it" after only talking to some stakeholders, unidentified except for "CAC members". This was called not in the spirit of the CPS/Repurposing Commission publicly announced process and should have started with some kind of RFP earlier. He seemed to promise, without specifics, community input going forward. The school's transition planning process was also vague as to broader process or input beyond faculty, "parents" and the CAC.

Several Murray teachers are taking science training at MSI through the Golden Apple Institute.

Robinson's principal resigned in summ34 2014, LSC starting search.

Shoesmith in summer 2014 was undergoing substantial upgrades including A/C and to accommodate its large student body as can. the buterfly garden is much admired.

Bret Harte is getting a new playground, drop off route and staff parking. There was a delay in underground work due to extreme rains.

Kozminski- programs are blooming including the summer 2014 program of sports and academics led by Urban Initiative. Common Thread healthy cooking and eating and health will expand to all grades in the fall.

Network 9 chief resigned in July 2014, new chief is Janis Jackson.

The Code of Conduct is changing for schools, more toward restodrative justice.

Kenwood Academy Jazz Band performed a 50-minute world premiere of a work by a major composer Jason Moran at a packed Symphony Center May 30 2014. The band has been featured in major articles in the Chicago dailies--especially Howard Reich of the Tribune. More at

Kenwood's principal Gregory Jones was selected to the 2014 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellowship program. It looks at big problems. \

2014 local Golden Apple winners. Teacher of Distinction: Kristin Frank, 5th grade teacher at Lab School.

In May 2014 it was announced that Murray won its second in a row Illinois Spotlight Award for consistent improvement closing the achievement gap.

Akiba Schechter student Zev Goldberg in May won first prize in the essay portion of Science Fair competition in Illinoir IJAC. Other students won recognition also.

Five Kenwood students received Gates Millennium Scholarships in 2014. Kenwood is consistently the or a top gatherer of Gates Scholarships.

Release from Ald. Burns' Office July 24, 2013

DATE: JULY 24, 2013
At today's Chicago Board of Education meeting Reavis Math Science and Academy and Robinson Elementary School were selected to participate in a three year program of intense supports and services. The Chicago Public Schools Office of Strategic School Support Services (OS4) will provide academic support, professional development for school leaders, teachers, LSC members, and parents. Reavis and Robinson will receive extended day programming and non-academic student supports including social-emotional, medical, and attendance.
Alderman Will Burns said, "High quality public schools are critical to building the kind of community we want in the Fourth Ward. These new investments in Reavis and Robinson will help to improve student performance and community confidence in these schools. I am committed to bringing additional resources to our neighborhood schools so that all children have access to a quality education."

Reavis Elementary Math & Science Special School (834 E. 50th St) and Jackie Robinson Elementary School (4225 S. Lake Park Ave.) were selected to participate in a three year program of intense supports and services. The Chicago Public Schools Office of Strategic School Support Services (OS4) will provide academic support, professional development for school leaders, teachers, LSC members, and parents.

Reavis Elementary Math & Science Special School and Jackie Robinson Elementary School will receive extended day programming and non-academic student supports including social-emotional, medical, and attendance.

NOTE: in refinements in October 2013, Rep. Burns said he would support keeping Canter open as part of an area-wide balancing of schools, should there be constituent support such as through a mechanism and plan from a community action council.

CANTER MIDDLE SCHOOL was as of late spring 2013 to CLOSE but keep those entering 8th grade for another year. Ray and Harte as receiving schools (Ald Burns says Shoesmith also)-- will add 7 grade this year, 8th next. So, kids from Shoesmith, Ray, and Harte will be at Ray or Harte for 7 grade and current
7th graders at Canter CAN go to Ray or Harte for 8th grade. To complete list.
Hearings on closure of Canter and impacts on Harte and Ray-
April 8, Monday 5-7, April 12, Friday, 5-7 at Kenwood Academy 5015 S. Blackstone and April 17, Wednesday 5:30-7:30 at CPS 125 S. Clark St.

HPKCC RESOLUTION SEEKING DEFERRAL OF CLOSINGS has much information about school trends and studies, although its list and evaluation of closing and receiving schools was not the latest (114 v. 61 final) as of March 23. This is not a CPS site. CPS site on the matter is Another was passed on Dyett in Feb. 2014

(This is from a Hyde Park Herald Alert that has gone viral in the community):

I share the concern voiced by many in the community about the Chicago Board of Education’s preliminary decision to close Canter Middle School. In terms of becoming the first choice for area middle-schoolers, Canter did not completely live up to its hope and its promise. But by all accounts the school is vibrant, academically sound and a credit to the community.

The eighth-graders at Canter will finish school in June and then make their individual ways to high school. But what about the seventh-graders? The current Chicago Public Schools philosophy stresses continuity and likes schools that cover the entire elementary school waterfront, from kindergarten through eighth grade. Middle schools are no longer the preferred model. In looking at the list of Canter seventh-graders, however, it’s clear that closing the school before they enter eighth grade is to consign most of them to a complete lack of continuity. They left their home schools in September. Most will not be returning to those schools for eighth grade. Harte and Ray are the receiving schools for the Canter youngsters, but only 19 of the 105 Canter seventh-graders started out at either Harte or Ray.

The largest number of students — 38 — came to Canter from Shoesmith. Under the current CPS plan, they can’t go back to Shoesmith. Nearly 30 of the youngsters came from schools in Woodlawn, South Shore and other parts of the city. All of these students have one more year of elementary school. They left their home school for a year, they’ve had one year at Canter, most will find themselves in yet a third school before they embark upon a fourth school, the high school they will enter after the next academic year.

This isn’t good for continuity. And I can’t believe that this much disruption will provide these youngsters with the best education our public schools have to offer. I have urged the Chicago Board of Education to keep Canter open at least for the next academic year — and to reconsider the decision to close Canter at all.

Editor’s note: This column will appear in the April 3 edition of the Hyde Park Herald.


Herald editorial March 27, 2013

If Chicago Public Schools administrators have their way, t his will be the last school year Canter Middle school remains open. It was listed as one of more than 50 schools CPS announced would close last week because of underutilization. CPS is broke, we are told, and maintaining underused buildings will mean fewer programs for the students in them.

There may be school buildings in the CPS portfolio that are nearly empty, but Canter, 4[9]59 S. Blackstone Ave., is not one of them.

Several years ago, Canter was turned into a middle school into which all elementary schools in the neighborhood would feed. In making the case for this dramatic change (7th and 8th grade programs that were popular with many parents had to be closed in these schools), we were regaled with study after study explaining the specail needs of middle school-aged students and the value of an environment tailor-made for them. Local political leadership and public schools officials urged us to trust them.

Some six or seven years later, these students wil now be shuttled to Ray and Bret Harte elementary schools. Apparently, how middle school-aged children learn matters less to the current leadership, or the folks who were making the case when Canter was developed were wrong. Either way, it's a game of musical chairs these students cannot afford to play.

The negative effects of being moved to a new school on learning are so well-documented at this point that it should be a decision of absolute last resort. The network of support that parents, teachers and --most importantly --students develop in their school community is irreplaceable. Over time, new ties will be established, but inevitably teh damage has been done.

Sadly, the priorities of the decision-makers who oversee our public schools are more bottom-line-oriented than education-oriented. At the very least, we would hope that a "do no harm" to students ethos would be a reasonable expectation from education officials. Obviously, that is not the case.

Canter is a school alive with learning, with a dedicated staff of educators committed to making every day rich and rewarding for the children in their charge. We have an obligation as a community to support these teachers, who include our own neighbors and folks who have been teaching in our schools for years and even decades. In short we must fight for Canter.

Plans are presented as a "done deal" so routinely in our city that some residents have come to despair of having any input on important decisions. But careful students of how politics really happen here realize that with enough pressure, noise and press, many decisions are eventually -- often quietly -- reversed that are initially presented as inevitable. Let's make their decision to close Canter one of those decisions.

Then, once we reverse that decision, let's take a good, hard look at a few of our own. This school is slated for closure because its student population of 228 is well below the 390 that CPS thinks should be enrolled there. Setting aside for a moment the contentious issue of class size, we ned to confront the open secret in our neighborhood that m any parents do not see Canter as a viable option for their middle school-aged children. Why is that? And what can we do to rectify it?

We are stewards of the public schools in our community. Our responsibility to them and the children that learn in them is redoubled when CPS administrators try to take an axe to them. Let's treat this as a wake-up call.

Let's fight for Canter.

A local teacher in an accompanying letter said that the school was not underutilized and had a good program. There were bad breaks, CPS limited resources and reneging on promises, insufficient support from (in effect the TIF), prejudiced and uniformed parents- plenty of shame to go around. Ant the kids may not get the special attention they need in their receiving schools.

So what does this mean for "welcoming" schools? Ray and Harte will get the upgrades CPS offered even though only 7th graders will come in lieu of going to Canter. This includes air conditioning, tuck pointing, and whiteboards in every classroom. Ray's principal has asked for library/media upgrades. The work means NO SUMMMER SCHOOL IN RAY OR HARTE THIS YEAR. Meanwhile, the schools are looking at middle-school curricular and culture models, including Kenwood Academic Center's, and use of a pod approach or program like "The Leader in Me" or "CHAMPS." One problem is that few of the current elementary teachers have credentials for middle school, and with Canter staying open few of those teachers will be moving. CPS will now budget schools a set amount of money er student for core instruction v. present positions based on enrollment. Harte will prepare for 8th graders for kids that from out of area who may not be allowed to return to Canter. Shoesmith does not yet have a transition plan (as of end of May).

We encourage you to submit news or mini-articles for this page to the Schools Committee of HPKCC! Contact Chairman Nancy Baum.
See Kenwood Continues to Raise the Bar in the Kenwood page.


Meetings etc.



The next meeting of the HPKCC Schools Committee May 15 or 22? at 5221 S. Blackstone.

HPKCC Schools Committee is working with the HP Community Action Council for schools to work for a strategic plan for the best excellence and balance in all our area schools.

So it is said, so let it be FUNDED.... the new CPS Arts Plan 2012 and arts and PE initiative funded starting fall 2014, but only temporarily through TIF "surplus."

Kenwood Academy Shoe Drive through May 20, 2014. There is one bin by the door on Blackstone, as well as one outside the main office just down the hall. You would just drive north on Blackstone (Chaka Khan Way by Kenwood) and put your flashers on by the school, and run in with the shoes. If you prefer to go in the lot by Lake Park, you need to enter from southbound Lake Park Ave. and got to the southernmost lot nearest to 51st St. Park with flashers, and go to the glass doors. The bin is just past the security checkpoint there.

Most schools have "wish lists" and are having various drives for themselves or charities. Contact the school! Hint: They always need 8x11 paper!


Elementary Full School Day:

•Students will receive 52 additional minutes of instructional time each day.
•Students will receive 6 hours of instruction and 45 minutes for recess and lunch.
•Students will be in school for 7 hours each day, an increase of 75 minutes.
•Teachers will be in school for 7 hours and 40 minutes, an increase of 85 minutes.
High School Full School Day:

•Students will receive 46 additional instructional minutes four days a week.
•Students will receive 6 hours and 8 minutes of instructional time four days a week.
•Students will be in school for 7 1/2 hours a day, an increase of 36 minutes four days a week.
•One day per week the day will end 75 minutes early.
•Teachers will be in school for 7 hours and 40 minutes, an increase of 39 minutes.
The Full School Day will provide significant benefits to all students across the district, including:

•Elementary students will receive an additional 207 hours of instruction each year, and high school studentswill receive an additional 116 hours of instruction. Principals will no longer have to choose between reading, math or science because of limited time in the day.
•Additional time will create opportunity to add more intervention to ensure students who are falling behind in math and reading can get up to speed with their peers.
•Elementary students will have time for lunch and recess every day to relax, re-boot and return to the classroom ready to learn.
The Full School Day was structured with an eye toward providing teachers with adequate professional development and prep time to support their practice. Benefits of the Full Day include:

•Elementary teachers will have almost two additional hours of prep time each week.
•Elementary teachers will have self-directed prep time in the mornings, as well as additional prep time roughout the day to meet with parents informally, prepare for their lessons and supervise students who arrive at school early.
•Both elementary and high school teachers will receive an average of 75 minutes for professional development each week.


June 9, Saturday, 5-8pm. Shoesmith School benefit: Arts in the Garden. Come support the Shoesmith Community for an evening of entertainment as we raise funds for our fine arts programs including to fund an arts program in the school next year. Music, dancing, singing, and special performances. 1330 E. 50th St.

Open houses etc.

_________________________________Shorts and briefs.

Bret Harte Improvements

The parking facilities at Harte School in Hyde Park would be expanded through a proposed sale of a 12,300 sq, City-owned lot at 5528 S. Cornell Ave. The lot would be sold for $1 to Solstice on the Park LLC, which would use a portion of the site for the development of a 28-story condominium tower and the remainder as an expanded parking area for school faculty. The parking improvements are valued at $500,000. Work to start as soon as school is out in 2014.

The February 12 2013 Tribune carries a major feature on the coming impacts of raised state standards for test scores in anticpation of Common Core.
October 30 the state results were released. Among the more dismal is a correlation perceived by the Tribune between the amount of drop in a school its proportion of low-income students. Kenwood 7th-8th grade Academic Center ranked 12th statewide, clinging to 95% or better meeting state standards. No other local school stood out either for excellence or for steep or relatively little drop. Visit and search for all kinds of data (not just test scores) by school or district. Also

2012: City-wide scores rose modestly or plateaued, depending on point of view. In 2012 elementary percentage meeting or exceeding on state tests was 74.2 v. 74.3 in 2011 (2002 it was 44.1, 200661.8). The pioneer longer day schools did better only because of one soaring school. AUSL turnaround schools improved by 2.5% (3 times district average) but only to 63.9%. Charters did a bit better than the average at 76.6 and non-charters a half-point lower. Charters are slated to get more money per as well as more students next year. Increased school day did not work miracles, and what was in the added minutes has not yet been analyzed. Check your school online in and


A teacher at Ray and at Murray (at least) have been honored by Office Depot!

Kenwood students in 2013 earned $13 million in scholarships to colleges, the highest amount in CPS. They also won the highest number of Gates scholarships- the 2nd largest for a school in the country!

My Life, My Research, New Citizens Program: July 8-Aug 8 2013 15 high schools participate in an AfterSchool Matters program with Kathy Cohen at U of C on evaluating and adopting anti-violence strategies for their schools and neighborhoods, including surveys. (Includes Kenwood, King, Philips, and Dyett.) Will work with officeholders, journalists, KLEO Community Life Center, and SECC.

Murray basketball is 2013 champions and the coach Coach of the Year.

A student from Kenwood and one from Dyett were the two who presented in the citywide round of the CPS Science fair at MSI.
A Kenwood student, Amy Lewis, is among winners locally and statewide at the Chicago Metro History Fair 2013. Lewis also presented at the National History Day in Maryland. 3 winners on Hyde Park Township, honoring Janet Rowley, the Women's Building at the Columbian Exposition, and the saving of South Shore Country Club, weres to be h omored at a program by Hyde Park Historical Society June 22, 2 pm at Lutheran School.

Two Hyde Park students won Golden Apples- Phoenix Steele of Kenwood Academy and Amy Nothrup of U of C Lab School.

Ray and why schools have to race like mad to make make enough progress to not fall "behind." Based on a Ray state of the school presentation and feedback in January 2013.

Knowledgeable people at the meeting speculate that the easy out to "refill" schools will be to close Canter and other middle schools so that elem. schools without 7th-8th grades will re-create those grades. And possibly closing Reavis. They agreed that all the schools unless really full will have to prepare for changed boundaries and to receive students from closed schools.

The principal's report was very good and gives a very broad look at the rules the schools have to work around and the degree of everyone working together needed to move ahead on lots of fronts. One of Ray's problems (besides pressure on staff size such as cuts in language teachers) are that performance is a moving target-- scores (percentage of students that meet or exceed have to go up by about 5% over last year's in each category, plus the already high attendance rate get higher, in order to restore Ray's Level 1 rating-- CPS took it away this year because improvement wasn't "enough". Also, ahead of inplementation of the Illinois Core Curriculum and a new state test in a couple of years, the state is upping the bar of what it means to be meeting or exceeding standards-- for example, if on 20 questions getting 15 answers is now "meeting" and 18 or more "exceeding", these will change to say 16 or 17 and 19 respectively-- the schools have not been told what it will be yet and the ISAT test is in April. Also, because of late school start this year and the strike, there have only been 80 days in school in 2012-13 so far vs a lot more in the rest of the state, so the schools have to reexamine what is taught in the stretch now to the test so the kids are will have covered what is on the test.

Another problem for Ray is that were problems developing and implementing the Ray University, and they are in effect rethinking it.

People felt good order and discipline have markedly improved in the school, and lots of innovations have been implemented in line with the school's improvement plan.

School Progress Reports were sent home with students in early December 2012. Area results are posted in the Hyde Park Herald website,
The format is new. This one covers 2011 into 2012. A few:
Kenwood Academy: Level 2- average student growth, below average performance, partially organized school culture and climate, freshmen on track rose from 70.2 to 71. 5 (district 75.3).
Shoesmith is a Level 2 and off probation , above average student growth, below average performance, partially organized school culture and climate.
Ray is a level 2 with average student growth, average student performance, data missing for rest.
Murray is a magnet Level 1 school with above average student growth, above average student performance and partially organized school culture and climate.

Shoesmith received nice grants for gardens and a healthy eating mural. It now needs volunteers to help with the mural.

The 2nd and 4th graders working with Juan Carlos Perez have begun to create a "healthy eating" mural for the cafeteria. The wall's background is done. Looks fabulous. They will spend the next three Saturdays from 10 until 2 completing this project. There are two sessions each Saturday. Thanks to everyone who has helped so far--parents, U of C students, and, of course, the students and our leader, Juan Carlos. If you would like to help, let me know. If it is a great way to start the weekend. (wear "painting clothes).
Dec. 1 10 to noon; noon to 2
Dec. 8 10 to noon; noon to 2
Dec. 15 10 to noon; noon to 2

To get involved, join Friends of Shoesmith or their googlegroup:

Carolyn Pereira
Chair, Friends of Shoesmith
773 304 8506
773 536 6242

History Fair 2013 competitors.

These local schools were at the May 2 senior or junior competion in Springfield: Akiba-Schechter, Ancona, Kenwood, U of C Laboratory Schools, U of C Charter Woodson Charter. Stte Fair winners go to U Maryland competition.

Documentary seniors divisioninners: Maddie Rafkin an DJ Smith of UC Lab for "American Medical Association."

Exhibits Junior:
Brianna Allen, Woodson for "Architectural Preservation."
Nia Parker, Woodson, "Chicago Rust Belt"
Hannon Wilson, Kenwood Academic Center
for "Chicago's First Styscrapper"
Sasra Gardner, Ancona "Ed Carner's Mission"
Caleb Millikan, Ancona for "The 1919 Chicago Black Sox: Corruption or Rebellion?"
Danielle Calloway, Kenwood Aacademic Center for "The Chicago Housing Authority: An Unintended Disaster"

Documentarary Junior Division
Gabrielle Roitman, Akiba-Schechter for "A New 'Page' in History
Sydney Davis, Kenwood Academic Center for "Black Diamonds"
Maxine Aguilar, Kenwood Academic Center for
"Racism ini Hidgh School Swimming"
Lilitt Matar, Akiba-Schechter for "Sears Roebuck and Co. Home Kits"
Gonzalo Higuero and Xavier Hall, Kenwood Academic Center for "World's Fair

Research Paper Junior Division
Zev Goldberg, Akiba-Schechterfor "A History Divided"
Hope Rogers, Kenwoold Academic Center for "Folk Music"
Leah Finkielsztein, Akiba-Schechter for "Free Speech for All"
Shmuel GButman, Akiba-Schechter for "The Summerdael Scandal Police Corruption"

Webssites Jnior Division
Ireon Roach, Kenwood Academic for "Chicago Corrupt"
Mariah Helm and Anna Dennis, Kenwood Academic Center for "Manhattan Project"
Eva Lewis, Kenwood Academic Center for "South Shore Country Club"
Pierce Alber, Kenwood Academic Center, for "White Castle"

Kenwood students Shana Littleton and Sydnie Chassagne won BP scholarships to study 2013-14 in Brazil.

A group of King College students and residents will go to China this summer 2013 under a Chicago Urban League program.

Ancona School celebrated 50 years in May 2013.

News of Reavis. As of mid July 2012, the principal search has been narrowed to three. Each stressed an open door policy of collaboration with and survey of teachers, parents and community to advance cultural and academic climate and outcomes and make it a place to which students and teachers want to come. Lack of key facilities and supplies were also proposed to be addressed in a school that is a math and science school but with no science lab but does have a full clinic and large grant. Partnership with universities was also suggested. The three candidates are Ayesha Calhoun (asst. princ. at Marshall High), Gail King (asst. princ. at Von Humboldt Elem.), and Gail Cannova (dir. of curr. and instr. at North Grand High). Also suggested were audits, listening and learning, developing a relationship and climate of trust, looking at programs like AVID to raise scores that might also attract local parents. All favor restorative justice, peer juries, and in-school suspensions. Reavis has received notice it is subject to reconstruction.

Selected at Reavis: Gail King. She has said she want the school to be a place where the teachers and pupils want to come every day, with incentives for good behavior and excellent performance and teachers get the resources. She will support alternatives to out-of-school suspensions. she seeks trust where all are valued.

The FIRST JAMES W. WAGNER SUMMER JAZZ CAMP SCHOLARSHIP was presented on July 8 7:30 at Room 43 by Hyde Park Jazz Society to two Kenwood students--GianCarlo Jerry, trumpet, and Kayla Nicole Jones, trombone & clarinet--for study with Orbert Davis's CJP/UIC Jazz Camp.

Four HPK students were awarded engineering scholarships by the Chicago Engineer's Foundation: Joseph Baldwin, David Litt (gong to UILL) Romero Board (Trinity), and Zachary Stuart (Stanford) These are 4 of 106.

Akiba Schechter has added a new preschool playground to it fairly new regular playground.

June 9 2012 Shoesmith School and Friends put on an impressive Art in the Garden including performances by students and impressive art work. The OpenLands funded gardens were dedicated. There was a very nice set of foods donated from local restaurants, and donated silent auction baskets selected or donated by the classrooms.

St. Thomas had a fine project around Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. Ray a great closing to the year in Latin...

Murray Language Academy kindergarten teacher Elizabeth Luna was among the Golden Apple teachers announced May 9 2012. She was presented the award in her classroom by Gov. Quinn, who called her a "hall of famer and "The best of the best." Luna has taught at the school seven years, applying what she learned from her previous career in restaurant and wine management. Joyce Brown head of the selection committee told reporters Luna works to establish seamless routines for her kids so they understand the processes. Luna receives a tuition-free quarter sabbatical at Northwestern University, a $3,000 cash award, and as a Golden Apple Fellow will serve as a mentor to other aspiring teachers.

Murray principal gave a state of the school updates May 16 2012. News includes $5M in upgrades to a/c, windows, and various ADA, masonry, electrical and mechanical.
A Jeep commercial was filmed in the parking lot.
3 recess-lunch-classroom attendants were hired for the longer day. Teachers laid off due to budget cuts will be strongly considered for new slots.
Murray will use The Danielson Groups teacher evaluation system, which takes many components into account.
Murray uses Rush Medical Center's Neuro-Behavioral Executive Function for teacher development and child preparation for high school as well as the CHAMPS positive behavior program for safe and civil schools and classroom management.
End-of-year writing exam will be re-instituted for all grades for benchmark.
The school has hired a new Mandarin teacher
7th and 8th grader robotics team will participate in a U of C pilot program. And students will participate in a forensic sciences tour at Purdue University.

In May 2012 Dyett students and the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, with sponsorship and volunteers from the US Postal Service's Fruitful Neighborhoods, and Chicago Park District planted fruit trees in the urban farm/garden at the school. It's designed to sustainably provide fresh fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods.

University of Chicago Medical Center will sponsor Cease Fire with up to $120,000. The intervention/interrupter, counseling, and anti-violence program has suffered from state cutbacks and delayed payments. Specifically, interrupters will be supported in the areas served by the Medical Center. "It Shouldda Been Me" at ETA was one program.

Some kudos in May 2012. Merrit winners at Kenwood, Golden Apple winner at Murray, a new art gallery at Akiba, big art fair at Ray School June 1, and a welcoming party for new Principal Jones at Kenwood.

Many local students won awards in the history fairs at the state and national levels (see also History Fair). They were mostly from U of C Lab School, Bronzeville Scholastic Institute, Kenwood, and U of C Charter schools.

Exchanges were seen early in 2012 in the local newspaper and other forums about Murray policies and principal. The different groups of parents worked together to examine the issues and elect a team to the LSC dedicated to working together. Concerns included teacher assignment and curriculum and problems from severe growing pains over restarting 7th and 8 th grades (including need for more science space) and a wider disagreement in schools over how far down in elementary and middle schools to go to departmentalization (like high schools where you go each hour to another class) and requiring "aides"- AVID type organizing binders and notebooks.
Early in 2012 a dispute arose over a teacher's handling of student use of the n-word-- over 150 parents have signed a petition asking revocation of suspension of the teacher.
Some children have been reportedly withdrawn in mid-year.

Kenwood Academy LSC selected Gregory Jones as principal. And two students won Golden Apples: Markeira Davis and Hanah Reiman- two of only 135 the Foundation gave out.

Kenwood artists win prizes May-June 2012. At the Kenwood Art Show in the King room, artists including sculpture, painting and photography from advance placement to challenged was honored. The transfer grid portrait "Honest Abe" by over 100 students won the gold medal in the all-City Arts Competition. All-City silver medal winners are Victor Burks-Miles, Sam Clendenning and Khary Milloy. Junior and watercolorist Jylen Grayson won a bronze medal. AP student DeAndre Perkins received a scholarship from Marwen for his portraits of rap celebrities. He will attend the Maryland Institute College of Art. Armani Howard won a full scholarship the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Brendon Williams, Edward Harris, and Kayla Long also won scholarships.

Schools are now working to come up with smartest ways to use the growing school day, especially since the 30 schools with the best plans are promised additional funds.

U of C Lab Schools journalism teacher Wayne Brasler and student Sydney Scarlata received awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and Illinois Journalism Education Assn., High School Journalist of the Year, respectively.

Catholic school enrollment is up, reversing a downtrend in the city, including St. Thomas and Holy Angels.

St. Thomas Apostle 5th grade history teacher since 1982 won a Distinguished Service Award from the Archdiocese of Chicago in early 2012.

Two U of C schools students won POSSE mentored and grouped college scholarships. Brenda Benitez of Lab Schol and vernon Fleming from Woodlawn Charter.

Ancona, like many schools, had a celebration of King Day by having students research and present as well as special guests talk to the school.

Congratulations to Murray on selection for capital improvements. Murray gets $5.5 million for masonry repairs, ADA upgrades, and new windows, roof unit ventilators, and interior finishes.

For a second year, Murray won top honors for its food drive with Chicago Bulls. Naturally, there have been mutual visits by Bulls to Murray and Murray students to the United Center.

Six Kenwood students won a place in the 2012 Science Fair at MSI.

Elizabeth Kirby, principal of Kenwood Academy, has been promoted to chief of schools of the Southwest Side High School Network. Kenwood Academy's local school council is committed to hiring a worthy successor to Ms. Kirby, whose service to our school is deeply valued. We have convened a principal selection committee that includes teachers , parents , community members, educational support staff and a representative from the Kenwood Alumni Network. The committee meets regularly at Kenwood Academy and meetings are open to the public. Meeting dates can be found on the Kenwood website,, and will be posted at the school's main entrance. A brief school-needs questionnaire, designed to inform the principal selection process, can be accessed at We invite everyone's participation through Dec. 23. We expect that many people will have opinions, so please share them. The survey questions wil also be included in the next edition of the Kenwood Kaleidoscope, our school newspaper. Responses will be collected at the school's main office. The principal search committee is co-chaired by Rebecca Janowitz (community representative) and Walter G. Miller (parent representative). We are just beginning the principal selection process, but expect to have three finalists by February. At that time a public forum will be held where the finalists will be introduced and they will answer questions from the audience.

Students from King Prep and UC Charter Woodlawn High School debated as finalists in citywide Performance Trust debates December 10, 2011.

Akiba-Schechter 2nd graders have organized study around study and tracking of penguins of Antarctica-- in fact, the Akiba flag flies there.

Kenwood Band ("Jazz at the Wood) was reported to have really shown at the 2011 Chicago Jazz Festival 2011.

Lab School alumnus ('62) Sherry Lansing, who ran 20th Century Fox and Paramount when they produced 3 Academy Award winning movies in the 1990s, has given $5 million for the new Performing and Visual Arts Center at Lab School. This will include a 250-seat state of the art multi-media theater and facilities for the music, theater and visual arts departments.
Meanwhile, the Lab School is looking for principals for its Middle and High Schools, its incumbents having been selected to run prestigious schools on the coasts.

Bleachers on the Way for Kenwood-- said to be going to be installed over holiday or winter break.

According to the June 29, 2011 Herald, the $59K the 53rd TIF appropriated in May 2010 as its share in the costs of the bleachers and scoreboard are moving through City council- after submission by Mayor Emanuel (who visited the school to see quality neighborhood school education), Finance Committee has approved it. CPS will pick up the remaining $34 K. There had been an accounting glitch or shortfall in TIF funds. July 6, 2011 City Council passed ordinance, shepherded by Ald. Will Burns.

Brotherhood mentoring project at Kenwood Academy turns students into published authors of manual, gets national attention and emulation. Holds a forum at DePaul in October 2011 (Gina Sanchez at 312 325-8375)

Murray 7th grader Grace Law won first place in the city divisional Science Fair 2012. She next competes at Museum of Science and Industry.

Reavis 7th grader Rashad Thomas-Bland was interviewed and profiled on PBS' News Literacy Project/NewsHourExtra about his audio report on the impact of video games on youth. The program brings seasoned journalists together with middle and high school students for training in how to sort fact from fiction or non-significant. Rashad found that interviewing with the right questions the right way to bring out significant information and get the story hidden within the facts.

Shoesmith - Eva Nielson suggests taking a second look at the advantages of Shoesmith- see in alpha run below.

Remember the plans for an end of the year Shoesmith carnival? Well, it's back, now as the Back-to-School Shoesmith Community Carnival.

The carnival will be held, Saturday, September 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. outside the school (inside the school if it rains). There will be games, bouncy/inflatable-type fun, music, and food. The big idea is to bring Shoesmith families, teachers and neighbors together to celebrate the new school year. And the goal is to raise $5,000 to fund technology needs at the school.

Volunteer Help Needed
I know September 10 feels like a long way off, but lots of volunteer help will be needed that day. Can you let me know if you're willing to volunteer for a shift?Volunteer time slots:
Set up: 8:00-10:00am
Carnival shift #1: 10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
Carnival shift #2: 12:00 noon-2:00 p.m.
Clean up: 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Volunteer jobs: Ticket booth, Manning an inflatable, Manning a game booth, Selling food, Face painting.

Help us find more volunteers!
Could you help us find more volunteers--through your networks of friends and neighbors, your church, any other community groups that you're connected to?

Let me know if you can help. And thank you.

Eva Nielsen

Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center (LBP) is again trying to partner with a school for shared space and program. Options Laboratory Alternative High School (public charter) will occupy c40,000 sf and continue its mission of using the arts to reach at-risk kids aged 16-21. Options is a branch of Youth Connections Charter School, which has 20 schools locally. Options, expected to open Sept. 6, will be designated a Fine Arts and Technology alternative school serving ages 18-20, and is accepting applications at or at LBP for 175 open slots. Principal Shalanda Holmes recently completed the New Leaders for New Schools principal training program at Kenwood Academy (where inter alia she shepherded the showing of "Race to Nowhere" to over 300 residents and parents). She told the Herald she admires LBP Director Monica Haslip's vision to serve students who are out of sync with a traditional curriculum and need to be refocused.
"Arts" as defined in this program includes animation, gaming, music production, painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, and glass blowing, plus a business commitment-- all students take a two-year residency with partners such as Nike. The school (presumably through its parent organization and/or LBP) has also partnered with the University of Chicago, St. Xavier University, Museum of Science and Industry, Columbia University, Field Museum, Howard University, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Ray chose a new principal in 2011. Ms. Tatia Beckwith. Beckwith was a teacher, principal and district and county school administrator in the western suburbs.

Shoesmith chose popular AP Sabrina Gates.
The LSC believes with Ms. Gates as principal they can keep momentum moving, acknowledging there were some false starts in the principal selection process. Ms. Gates has served as a reading specialist in schools and Area 15.
Good news for Shoesmith on another front- composite scores are up from 63% to 75% at or above standard (goal is 80%+) and attendance is up to 95%. And they have grants, Friends of Shoesmith, and partnerships with St. Paul and Redeemer and First Baptist. Extended day with recess will be started. And the teachers are praised for a "What can we do!" attitude.

Kozminski LSC is about to select. 2 of 3 finalists (Myron Hester did not how), Kimberly Henderson (AP at Stagg) adn Nia Abdulah (AP at Chicago Talent Dev Charter) answered questions in a forum Aug. 22 2011, particularly on how the school could become more competitive and attract local families.

Hyde Park Day School and the Sonya Shankman Orthogenic School will be building a new structure at 62nd and Ingleside. Day School principal Karne Saling is leaving to become 5th grade learning specialist at the Lab School, so the Day School is seeking a new principal. The Day and Orthogenic schools are loosely affiliated with the University of Chicago.

Area restaurants are helping Dyett High School through the Chicago Botanical Green Youth Farm (of North Chicago Botanic Garden, Waukegan) program and partnership with four local restaurants- Graffiti Pizza, Norman's Bistro , and the two Z&H MarketCafe's in Hyde Park and Kenwood. Students learned planting and growing, healthy eating habits, and the outdoors an nature. They learned entrepreneurship by starting an outdoor produce market they operate under their own business plan and have become organic produce vendors. Funding is in part from Polk Bros. Foundation and Quad Communities. The owner of new Graffiti Pizza (700 E. 47th St.) related to the Herald how impressed she was that they had a business plan and could offer organic foods at a competitive price. Proceeds go to student stipends and plants for the 3/4 -acre farm plot.

Kenwood Academy students in 2011 set a record with the most Gates Millennium Scholars from one CPS school (5) ever! The applications with multiple essay requirements are a hurdle in themselves. Winners are Jenilli Barrow, Genesis Davis, Anthony Johnson, Akiba Lott, and Destinee Hakmanpour. Gates cover through doctorate and more support.

Kozminski students won the Area 15 Battle of the Books for 2011. Teamwork is stressed.

Canter Middle School students were recognized for creative poetry, narrative stories and informational stories in the Area 15 Young Authors competition. The work demonstrated focus, elaboration, organization, mechanics and presentation. Citywide is next.

Murray is making changes to adjust to addition of 8th grade in 2011-12. Murray is the only HPK magnet and added 7th grade in 2009 rather than feeding into Canter. Since space and resources required eliminating preschool (new referred to Ray but Preschool for All is on the cutting block), Murray held back adding 8th until all the entered preschoolers cycled into kindergarten. In order to be competitive, Murray insisted it offer algebra I and eligibility to place out of high school Algebra I, starting this new year. In order to build a new science lab for younger students, 5th and 6th graders will shuttle between subject classes, like students above them do. Science will also be available to the lower primary students.

Murray Language Academy, which has a special relationship with Japan, is collecting relief aid for the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Chicago. send to Murray Language academy, 5335 S. Kenwood Ave, 60615 Attn: Japan Earthquake Relief fund. Through April 6. Include your contacts. 773 535-0585.

Ray is well on its way to principal selection, with a forum planned for May 11. A 19-member committee is led by PTA member Lisa Samra and has met weekly to winnow the 40+ applicants to four. Statements will be given, pre-submitted questions taken, and a feedback form distributed at the community meeting. In the following two weeks the candidates will meet with teachers and the committee will visit candidate present employment.
The committee seeks someone experienced in all the grades and curriculum an in the classroom, working with students with specail needs, supports teacher development and community fundraising, work with U of C and support recess and active parent volunteering throughout the school day, according to member Dana Roby as interviewed by the Herald.

Kenwood Academy has not yet had release of TIF grant and CPS match for new bleachers and scoreboard. Snafus with the city were being addressed as of March 2011. The funds are said to be about to be released.

Good News- most of the lost teachers and programs have been restored at Ray and Murray, including Ray's World Language Magnet Cluster status and cachet English as a Second Language (the only such offered near the University of Chicago). Bret Harte and others had only partial restorations.

Too disruptive? many teachers and parents in HP schools are fighting the First Period Breakfast program. They want the time returned to study and breakfasts be available before. Details in Schools Hot Topics page.

Fall 2011, The Cambridge School will move from the old St. James UMC at 4611 S. Ellis to the much more commodious and school-ready former St. Ambrose School at 1012 E. 47th St.

Woodlawn UC Charter won the AA division debate championship and two members are going on to national.

Kenwood students displayed artwork in Washington before Arne Duncan.

Lab School's John Lin will perform with members of the Chicago Philharmonic May 15, 7 pm in Evanston's Pick-Steger Hall., 847-866-6888.

Author Natasha Tarpley (The Princess and the Frog-Princess Tiana and the Royal Ball) signs at Shoesmith May 21 at 2 pm.

Collaborations are blooming (literally). South East Chicago Commission gave one of the UC Neighborhood Beautification Grants to the Washington Park Conservancy for a community garden and natural art project at Dyett School.

Kenwood 9th grader Breanna Ward was one of four grand prize winners in CPS Black History Month 2011 essay contest. Award includes a $5,000 scholarship to Roosevelt University.

Murray will join 23 other CPS schools at TECH 2011 in Springfield May 5 2011. The Fair show to leaders what technology is doing in the schools and its importance in society.

Shoesmith Principal Pat Watson will retire at the end of the year. A search committee has been formed.

Shoesmith in spring 2011 was awarded a $7,500 U of C/SECC Beautification grant for a mosaic to be made for the entry area. Chicago Art Partners in Education (CAPE) will secure the artist.
Also, Shoesmith received an Open Lands Building School Garden Program Grant. A garden will be designed and built by a rep with the students over summer; planting will start in fall.

Children's Folk singer Ella Jenkins visited and performed at Murray in March 2011. Similar Billy Jonas did a workshop at Shoesmith and at St. Thomas and did a well-attended community concert.

Canter Middle School student Sebastian Augusthy received a Gold certificate in the citywide 2011 science fair and will be in the State Science Fair. Student Karl Germany received a Bronze. Both are coached by Laura Vroman.

In March Ray School had a fond farewell for retiring principal Bernadette Butler and began a public search for a replacement.

Hales Franciscan won the 2011 Class 2A state basketball championship.

Violence in, around and en route to schools remains a serious problem. The week of March 21, 2011 National Public Radio had a series on this. Sadly, one of the schools discussed was Hyde Park Career Academy. In Chicago in 2010 there were over 700 incidents and 60 deaths.

Sought by Shoesmith to supplement Neighborhood Schools and other Tutors:

The school is seeking four or five additional people to do literacy tutoring for low performing students in the primary grades (k-3). The school has a specific curriculum for tutors to use with these students. This opportunity requires a 10-week commitment, two 45-minute sessions per week. The school can work with your schedule and can match you with children for before, during or after-school time slots. Email Sabrina Gates, assistant principal, if you’re interested:

Read or Listen to a Student Read

Shoesmith kids need to be read to AND need a chance to read to you. If you would like to commit to reading to a child on a weekly basis at a regular time (during school is best!), contact assistant principal Sabrina Gates:

Good News - over 250 books have been donated to Shoesmith's library by a business or organization and the neighbors' Friends of Shoesmith is off to a good start.

Congratulations to Murray Language Academy 5335 S. Kenwood for winning the CPS magnet school/Midway Moving/Vienna Beef contest to collect food for the Chicago Food Depository. Chicago Bulls will be visiting the the school (with goodies and a throw-a-pie-at-the-principal contest), and the committee in charge will get Bulls tickets.

Ancona School has found a special way to engage parents-- The Book Club. Parents say what they are learning about parenting and what kids face today is eye-opening.

The Reavis Peace and Leadership Council (a Mikva challenge council sponsored by Elev8 and Quad Communities) attended the National Youth Summit of the Dept. of Education held at Howard University in Washington.


Bret Harte's wish list:
General supplies (copy paper, pens, pencils, crayons, scissors, staples, electric sharpeners)
Books for library (science, biographies)
Enrichment for math and science- manipulatives
Spanish program
Materials for English language learners (ELL)
Laptops for each teacher and laptop carts
Interactive white boards for primary depts
iPad for learning centers
Ink cartridges/toner
Copy machine
Laminator film (cold and hot)
Cp;pr poster printer and paper
Sponsor professional development for teachers
Sponsor field trips (transp., admissions
Incentive prizes for Pos. Behavioral Intervention and Supports)
Funding for before school and additional after school programs
Playground equipment

Murray's wish list

Human capital
Science Fair judges (Dec. 9 and 10)
Guest speakers to do lecture series for parents and staff on current research concerning health, well-being, and growth and development of school-age children:
Parents with school-age children to apply by December 17, 2010;
Cash to purchase classroom assistants;
Volunteers to tutor, mentor, or coach students in the after-school program;
Partnerships with local businesses;
Community support with our school-wide fundraisers; and
Community members to attend our Local School Council and PTO meetings

Technology Needs
Smartboards for classrooms, Language Rooms and library;
Laptops with Cart for primary students;
Random access memory (DRAM) chips to speed computers;
Apple ipad cart for upper grade students;
Technology Professional Development on topics such as proper maintenance, networking, diagnosing, servers, and distant learning;
Student-based software for after school program; and
Cash to purchase 6 sets of 2 speakers for smartboards to add quality sound to lessons;
Webmaster for website

Paper; HP Printer Toner; 6 sets of 20 books (about $1700) for our Battle of the Books Competition starting in November 2010;
Cash for teacher travel to Professional Development

Facility Needs
New classroom windows;
New classroom carpets:
Modern furniture of teacher and parent lounges:
New or refurbished copiers; and
Artwork and artifacts for the building


Kenwood students are featured in a video, "The Education They Deserve," by New Trier High students on the effects of uneven school funding.

Ray and Kenwood graduate Jeanette McDuffie now owns and directs her own film company, on such subjects as the initial reception of Dr. King's campaign in Chicago

A low education budget is being "tinkered" by the governor. CPS is finally getting real budget numbers to the schools.

Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center has reached out mightily into the schools with its public arts, entrepreneurial, and arts as a deterrent to dropping out hands-on models. It has also partnered with Prologue to set up (fall 2010) an alternative charter school for ages 16-21 in line with its special ities, the Joshua Johnston Charter School. The CPS Dropout Recovery Arts Program has recommended the school and the Board of Ed has approved. About 150 students will attend in fall 2010, at LBP while is search is made for a suitable building.

Kenwood joined most of Illinois schools in being unable to keep up with the accelerating demands of No Child Left Behind. It was placed on the watch list because of insufficient yearly progress for three years.

Shoesmith School conducted a test during the remainder of the school year (June 2-16) of limiting traffic on 5oth St. to school drop off and pick up only for each 15 minute peak periods (morning 8:45-9 am). The direction will be so as to encourage that kids will get on the side of the car at the sidewalk. Proper notices are being given. The test is cosponsored by the Kenwood Park Advisory Council. It was reported to be very successful.

And... Parents, the road is hard for child drop off, but the law is clear on not blocking school entrances or streets. Some parents have been so rude and such terrible drivers as to drive off other parents volunteering for traffic control at various schools such as Ray, Harte (see next item), and Shoesmith.


Safer child drop off and pick up being tried successfully at end of Shoesmith school year 2010.

Kenwood Assistant Principal Michael Boraz has been selected principal of Lincoln Park High School.

Murray won return 7th and 8th grade to the school. What does it mean for a Hyde Park schools vision or plan? And Canter, which although few Murray students went there has attendance on the low side. See in School News. and Canter.
Meanwhile, questions are asked how Murray can ad 60 7th graders-- needing to do research-- while the library hours are cut in half.

Ray school needs more neighbors to donate their RecycleBank points to Ray (40 lbs = 100 points = $10) by March 15 to fully fund the butterfly/Amanda's Garden with Ace of Spaces Community Gardening and the vegetable garden. the kids are really learning a lot. Check with the school and

June 2010: Ray School has made its Amanda's community garden also an outdoor learning environment and learning space, thanks to help from City Year (100 Hours of Power) and 50 Deloitte (IMPACT day)volunteers. The volunteers also enabled preparation of the vegetable garden. The volunteers also fixed up the baseball diamond, built a maze bench in the garden, and an outdoor stage for concerts, readings an theater. Students will sell garden produce for school needs.

The HPKCC Schools Committee was disheartened to learn that as of November 2009 that Shoesmith, Kozminski and Reavis schools were placed on academic probation. Reasons include low attendance ratio and poor scores on one test. The HPKCC Schools Committee has been in conversation with the school on how we and the community can help. 77% of Shoesmith students are at or below poverty level. 80% of the student live within the Shoesmith district. The schools have been and continue to take strong strides.

Retiring Ancona School director of admissions, Carol Parham, is honored at Ancona's May 23 "Every Child a Star" benefit. Among many of her services to the community is former membership on the HPKCC board.

Fall 2009: Kenwood Academy Brotherhood mentoring project turns students into published authors of manual, gets national attention and emulation

For more information about the Brotherhood at Kenwood, visit

A testimonial from Jay Mulberry June 11, 2009

I want to tell my Good Neighbors how wonderful I feel about Ray School.

I go there every day with a kindergarten student in the morning and because my wife teaches (taught!) there I spend an extraordinary amount of time inside. And, since I am a retired teacher and principal, I kinda can tell when a school is good.

Ray is good. Ray is great. Every day I walk through I say "this is a real school where real learning takes place and where there is real love of children." I have been in scores of schools and very few give off those vibes.

I am crazy about the teachers, I am crazy about the administration and I am even crazier about the parents who not only form a uniquely wonderful support group for the school exude a contagiously positive spirit. If you've never been to the Ray Cafe you have really missed something.

What brought out this sudden motherload of enthusiasm from a proud pessimist like myself? Years' of experience coming to a head yesterday at Ray when I spent the whole day and saw nothing but quiet, order, learning and good feeling the whole time.

So what's the big deal? In case you missed it, yesterday was the last day of regular school, the day before parties and picnics and report cards and vacation. No school is quiet and orderly and filled with learning and good feeling on the day before the end. But Ray was. There was no lingering in the halls, no running, no teachers screaming to keep order, no principal's office full of miscreants, no madness in the lunchroom, no teachers just "letting things slide", no calls for security, no principal glowering through the halls and playgrounds. It was another positive, productive day at Ray and there was probably not another school in Chicago that could claim that.

I think that says a lot about our neighborhood school.


Does your school seem to be slighted? Is only the worst side shown in the media? First find out what could be better, make sure you're involved and part of the solutions. But our friend Rod Sawyer goes beyond this and gives principles for making sure that what's in the media about your school is (not his phrase) the caviar, not the carp. Basically, you have to be proactive and feed media your material--the positive and what's being done about the negative--and that these are the real scoop, not someone's spin.

Adapted from the Herald, November 17, 2004:

  1. Know what you want your school to be known for and try to have it unique.
  2. Know the local paper's education editor and her or him give material--they can't write about nothing.
  3. Don't be discouraged if not all your material gets in--keep trying to make it appealing.
  4. Have parents send in letters, prizes and favorable citations, etc.
  5. Take the bad in stride, and if you're going to spin it, do it honestly and sensibly


Some independent websites of schools:

Bret Harte:

Canter: http://



Murray: http://


Shoesmith: http://



Ancona Montessori School.:


Searching for school namesakes; for whom were local schools named?

Who are they? From the Herald, January 26, 2005, with additions

[CPS seeks living relatives of persons for whom schools are named to serve as Principal for a day and help build connections to schools over the generations. Much new information has already been supplied by Hyde Parkers-and the Murray Principal.]

  • Miriam G. Canter. Wife of well-known area ultra liberal politico and publisher David Canter, Miriam worked tirelessly in earlier decades to keep the old Kenwood School going after students moved to new Kenwood Academy and make it viable as Louis Wirth elementary and middle school and with her husband were leading supporters of its conversion into the middle school for the Hyde Park Cluster of schools. She also worked for establishment and success of Kenwood Academy. (Louis B. Wirth was a pioneering sociology researcher and thinker at the University of Chicago who strongly influenced policy, including as reflected (or ignored) in Hyde Park Urban Renewal.) Miriam and David are survived by son Evan, who has served as Principal for a Day.
  • Walter H. Dyett. A highly popular and influential African American band teacher in such high schools as Wendell Phillips and DuSable.
  • Bret Harte. Famed short story writer of mid-19th Century California, probably best remembered for a famous jumping frog of Calaveras County. At least on living relative is known and is being contacted.
  • Kenwood Academy. OK, it's a stretch, but Kenwood was named for the Scottish estate of Jonathan Asa Kennicott's mother's family (to "ken" is to see or divine). They pioneered and built in Kenwood in 1856. Jonathan's brother John Albert was a horticulturist and founder of University of Illinois and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His son Robert founded the Chicago Academy of Sciences and explored newly-purchased Alaska with the vim of Louis and Clark but not the luck. Relatives founded and engaged in the school (then elementary) and Illinois Foundation for Education. Kenwood Academy high school was built in the 1960s (designer Aero Saarinen) in part as a split-off by people who did not want to send their kids to troubled and crowded large Hyde Park High--actually in Woodlawn. Hyde Park, once one of the best schools in the country, was originally at what is now Ray School.
  • Charles Kozminski. When on the School Board in the late 19th Century, this leading Chicago businessman insisted that a truancy department be established to enforce the school attendance laws. Highly regarded by today's principal! Locals in the late 19th century were miffed that the new school was not named Egandale, after the estate-area of Dr. Egan. No relatives found.
  • Philip A. Murray. Led the United Steel Workers and United Mine Workers until 1952. Widow found, hopes are she can come for principal for a day.
  • William H. Ray. The "Horace Mann of the Middle West," this leading educational thinker and principal of the old Hyde Park High School in the 1880s, died in mid-career. HP Presbyterian Church, where he was very active, hosted over 700 at his funeral. No relatives found.
  • William Claude Reavis. Reavis was a leading thinker in the Education Department of the University of Chicago, his career spanning over 50 years and his bride of the early 1900s dying at nearly 100 in the early 1970s. Relatives found.
  • Beulah Shoesmith. A highly revered math teacher at Hyde Park High who inspired many to become scientists and mathematicians, left her money to CPS for a school. No relatives found.

By Kiratiana E. Freelon

Hyde Park's oldest elementary school, Charles Kozminski Community Academy, is named after a man who registers only one hit in a Google search. But that one hit is enough to explain why every Hyde Parker, and Chicagoan for that matter, should know him. A 19th century state law required all children in Chicago to attend school for 12 weeks out of the year. But without anyone to enforce the law, hundreds of thousands of children still never saw the inside of a classroom by 1888.

It was then when immigrant businessman and Chicago Public Schools board member Charles Kozminski requested that a committee be formed to enforce the mandatory attendance law. Three "truancy officers" were later appointed to investigate children found on the streets during school hours.

Lionel Bordelon, principal of Kozminski Community Academy, 936 E. 54th St., recognizes the importance of his school's namesake, even if his students don't appreciate it. "Right now everybody is [honoring] Martin Luther King, but we should also include Charles Kozminski," Bordelon said.

Cynthia Greenleaf, CPS director of external affairs and research [position now of Mae Jefferson], wants all CPS students to understand how those Chicagoans or Illinoisan's with a school names in their honor made a difference in the city's history. "We want our students to be curious," Greenleaf said. "We want them to appreciate that one person can make a difference."

Greenleaf began to develop a CPS family tree three years ago, hoping to find a living relative for each of the approximately 300 schools named after significant Chicago business people, public officials, teachers and superintendents. By October, 2004, Greenleaf had found the relatives of four Hyde Park area schools: Kenwood Academy, William Claude Reavis Elementary, Dyett Academic Center, and Miriam G. Canter [Middle School[. She used resources from each school as well as the internet. She has yet to find a living relative of Charles Kozminski.

Once Greenleaf finds the relatives, she only expects them to do one thing--serve as a principal for a day of their respective school. "Schools think it is good to have people come from the outside and talk about their experience," Greenleaf said.

Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., bears the name of the neighborhood, not a person. So Greenleaf decided to search for the neighborhood's founder Jonathan Asa Kennicott. A simple Google search led her to, Jonathan's great-great-nephew Harrison Kennicott.

The Kennicott family prove to be pioneers in several areas of Chicago history. Jonathan Asa Kennicott built a house in a [fledgling] south lakeshore suburb in 1856 and named it Kenwood, after the home of his mother's family in Scotland. Asa's brother John Albert Kennicott, a horticulturist, helped establish the University of Illinois and the U.S. department of Agriculture. John Albert's son Robert Kennicott founded the Chicago Academy of Sciences and explored Alaska in the mid 1800s. "they keep popping up," said Harrison's wife Katie Kennicott of her husband's distinguished ancestors. "That family was instrumental in settling Illinois. Mine came over on the potato bus."

Katie Kennicott's dedication to foundations like the Chicago Foundation for Education led her to jump at the opportunity to serve as Kenwood Academy High School's principal on principal-for-a-day in October, 1004.

Ten blocks west of Kenwood Academy sits the Walter H. Dyett Academic Center, 555 E. 51st St. which pays homage of one of the most prominent high school band teachers. The perfectionist taught music to students at Phillips High School and DuSable High School. His students included saxophonists like Gene Ammons, Von Freeman, and Johnny Griffith, violinist Leroy Jenkins, pianist Nat King Cole, bass player Wilbur Ware and vocalist Dinah Washington. His wife, Gwendolyn Dyett Burkes still lives in Chicago. Last year the 89 year old participated in the principal-for-a-day event at Dyett Academic Center. She said she did not expect the board of education to name a school after her husband in 1972, three years after his death. "I guess they wanted to reward him for all his years of service to the board," Burkes said.

Greenleaf had no trouble finding the relatives of Miriam G. Canter, namesake of Miriam Canter Middle School, 4959 S. Blackstone Ave. Canter's husband David remained active in the school as a local school board member and supporter up until his death late last year. Miriam's son Evan Canter wants to continue the active participation of the family.

Miriam Canter helped save the school building from demolition when Kenwood students moved into their new high school next door. Miriam Canter and the local school council convinced the school board to preserve the building for six through eighth-grade students at Shoesmith. Evan Canter participated in the October 2004 principal-for-a-day ceremony along with Michelle Obama, wife of U.S. Sen Barack Obama.

He's quick to brush off the importance of his mother's legacy. "The legacy should be that it become an excellent school that happens to have my mother's name on it, he said." In the future Evan Canter hopes to assist the school in the use of computers and help with fundraising. But he is willing to do anything to help the school achieve its goals. "I'll do anything from sweeping the floor to cleaning the windows to help the school," he said.

These days local school councils choose the name of their schools, and Canter Middle School is the only school in Hyde Park whose local council chose to rename [its] school [-] from Louis Wirth. Miriam Canter died in 1999 and a her memorial service, [now] former principal Jimmy Johnson announced that he would initiate the name change from Louis Wirth to Miriam G. Canter. The council voted to change the name in 2000. [Wirth was a noted sociologist and social planner at U of C who challenged many then-accepted notions.]

Greenleaf hopes that the CPS History Fair Challenge will encourage more students to learn about their school names. Students who complete a history fair project on their school namesake for the Chicago Metro History Fair will receive a certificate and the best project will receive an award.

The students are not required to find the relatives of their school namesakes. It would just be a bonus, Greenleaf said. "Learning how to research should be more important", she added. "Finding the relatives is just a little bonus of taking advantage of important history.."

But in the meantime, Greenleaf will continue to search for as relative of Charles Kozminski.

Students or adults who find living relative for whom schools are named should contact Cynthia Greenleaf at the CPS Office of External Partnerships at [773] 553-1547 or email

To History Fair Page Top


News from the schools by alpha listing. Public then nonpublic

Ariel Charter

The boys Storm basketball team on the 2009 first annual Kenwood Oakland Bronzeville Conference Tournament. This is a conference of charter schools including Cambridge, UC KNO and UC Donoghue. Cambridge won the cheerleading.

Canter Middle School.

Launching a new leadership academy program- see Canter page.

A TIF gift helped give Canter Middle School a makeover


Dyett High School has a lot of problems being tackled by a new principal.

New Dyett Principal Robert M. McMiller evaluating ways to change the campus culture. From Herald article July 22, 2009

McMiller started in early 2009. His first priority is to bring a mature high school culture: in many ways it still acts like a junior high. One physical indicator is that the lockers are all on the 1st floor, like in elementary schools. Another was that graduations were held outside the school; graduation has now been made to work in the gym, which has been refurbished and is becoming a large-activity/performance center. A new orientation is planned for freshmen. Having students focus on ongoing skill sets is another change coming, including a music arts program and a medical technician program, taking advantage of proximate institutions. Also, school-based afterschool programs led or started by teachers are also under consideration. It's sad, he said that kids at Dyett go home at 2:30 instead of 7:30 as at King (where he was assistant principal).

McMiller said the ACT scores (average is only 17) have to come up--the school is on probation with one year to come up. Teachers have had to be moved around, and there are vacancies in Spanish, physics, and social studies. He also wants teachers to have better relations with students.

Bret Harte.

Harte is a strong school that knows it has to get better. Its LSC and PAC are very savvy and active.

In 2009, Bret Harte special education teacher Nichole Gaynor was named one of 13 teachers citywide finalists for Kohl McCormick Early Childhood Awards for teachers working with children from infancy through 3rd grade. About 10 autistic children attend her class part time. The skills start with the most basic and stress communication-- without which behavior can descend from frustration into tantrum.

Kenwood Academy. To the page on Kenwood Academy. Kenwood's website.

Kozminski Community Academy.

Kozminski is the first HP school to adopt CPS's new year-round program.
Myron Hester is the newly-elected Principal (Nov. 2011).
Hester has served 8 years in CPS starting as assistant principal at Julian then Tilden high schools. He says that his experience taught him how important it is to get kids ready for high school in the first place. "Creating more rigorous curriculum, while addressing students' individual learning needs is the main area...providing a safe environment and enrichment activities such as sports and tutoring are also priorities," he told the Herald. "From what I hear, Kozminski has been left out of the community or treated as a stepchild-- The students weren't going on field trips, and the last season the school had a basketball team was 2007... We want to be the premier school of Hyde Park." Since he came, trips to museum, a bb team, chess team, music, art with ArtShould, and Metrosquash have been going, and and UC tutoring and after-school are going strong. They are also seeking help from the businesses.

In late 2009, Kozminski joined two other Hyde Park schools in probationary status. The criteria are highly problematic, but bottom line is that each school has to show school and student growth. Kozminski has many programs and partners in place and is addressing problems, from attendance to parental engagement to score growth. The school is moving ahead under Principal Hester.

Murray Language Academy.

Murray's newsletter is online in its website, .

Murray Magnet School is a "School of Distinction." More than 90 percent score at or above. Murray in recent years tripled the size of its facility including new cafeteria, gym media center and arts room. Population grew by 90 and by 30 new employees. Student-computer ratio is 3-1 with a new website. Murray is a magnet that also draws from the community. It excels in academic fairs. It shares its nice gym with Chicago Park District and has a modern computer lab7th and 8th graders will be returning to Murray fall 2010.

A large contingent of Fulbright students from many countries visited Chicago and Murray, in conjunction with the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Chicago, lobbied for awareness and increase in foreign languages in schools. Murray offers French, Spanish and Japanese and hopes to add German- All right!!

North Kenwood Oakland Charter School has an active parents organization that is seeking a 501 status. It recently raised $20,000 for the after school program, which is magnificent (and charges a lot)-there is real paid professional as well as volunteer teaching and tutoring.

Ray Elementary


Ray moves forward under new principal Tatia Beckwith and team.

Reavis Elementary

In late 2009, Reavis joined two other Hyde Park schools in probationary status. The criteria are highly problematic, but bottom line is that each school has to show school and student growth. Reavis has many programs and partners in place including an enormous grant that moves toward the school becoming a wrap-around center. The school is addressing problems, from attendance to parental engagement to score growth.

Reavis had been on probation for 2005-06 (when probation had more dire consequences and definitions), having again failed to make "adequate yearly progress" despite valiant efforts and now faces possible sanctions. The new principal, Michael Johnson, marshaled additional resources and methods change, including vertical and horizontal planning and communication among teachers (which has helped in many other schools). Johnson says his goal, beyond major scores improvement, is to make Reavis be seen not as a school of last resort, but as a place were people are because they see Reavis as a good place for their children.

Reavis has already begun to receive additional resources due a probationary school. Reavis is the most extreme example of a dichotomy between a succeeding set of schools and a struggling set of schools in Hyde Park and also illustrates a serious drawback for low income schools and residents: students are largely brought in from other neighborhoods and the families move around a lot, making progress hard for students and retaining students and providing continuity and consistency hard for schools.

Reavis adds parent center, recruits City Year volunteers, seeks to be family-friendly

Herald, September 30, 2009. By Daschell M. Phillips

Reavis Elementary School has launched a parent program, part of a recent push to improve student services that has included extending after-school and summer program hours,and creating an in-school health center in partnership with Near North Health Service Corp. The goal of the parent program is to make Reavis, 834 E. 50th St., more of a community school and increase commitment in school, said Heather Ireland, program manager for elev8, and organization that seeks to improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged students in five Chicago schools.

"The parent program will help match parents to resources such as finding jobs, getting food and other issues that affect home life, so students can be successful in school, Ireland said. Since eleve8 began its work at Reavis in the summer of 2008, funded by a $3.6 million Integrated Services in Schools grant, parent participation has steadily increased, she said. "In the past we've had two or three parents come out to events," Ireland said. "This year we had 50 parents at our open house and we had 350 parents come out to our end of teh summer program."

The parent program was added in an attempt to keep parent participation going strong. It offers workshops including fitness and healthy cooking, a book club and GED preparation classes. The program has a meeting room where parents will have access to media materials including magazines and computers. The program also offers family field trip outings and specialty groups for fathers including the Big-man Little-man Basketball Tournament and the the Brotherhood Roundtable.

It's important to the families' well being to have parents more involved in the school system, Ireland said, adding, "If a child sees his parents at school, they will feel this is a safe place and will attend more." She said parents will also benefit because they are likely to find the school less intimidating, boosting the chances that they will feel more comfortable talking to teachers and asking their children about school and homework.

In 2007-2008, Reavis received ISS (CPS Integrated Services in Schools) grant utilizing $18 million for five schools from Atlantic Philanthropies. LISC New Communities is also partnering in the project and is in a 4-year partnership with Reavis. . The funds will be used for longer hours, more school days, and services to families.
Part of the money is used for a winter art project and show in the spring, Elev8.

Reavis has an active Parent Group, part of System of Care-Chicago Parents United (?). As a result of their effort, the school now has a parent resource room and the group is working on getting strong social services in the school.

In spring 2009, reps from US Dept. of Agriculture and Illinois Dept. of Ed. came to celebrate the school breakfast week. Parents were reminded of the links between nutrition, school performance, and a safe atmosphere. Life choices are at stake.

Shoesmith. June 2011. Shoesmith chose popular AP Sabrina Gates. The LSC believes with Ms. Gates as principal they can keep momentum moving, acknowledging there were some false starts in the principal selection process. Ms. Gates has served as a reading specialist in schools and Area 15.
Good news for Shoesmith on another front- composite scores are up from 63% to 75% at or above standard (goal is 80%+) and attendance is up to 95%. It is hoped this can get Shoesmith off Probation. And they have grants, Friends of Shoesmith, and partnerships with St. Paul and Redeemer and First Baptist. Extended day with recess will be started. And the teachers are praised for a "What can we do!" attitude.

Eva Nielson in HP Herald gives reasons for parents to choose Shoesmith. (Open House Nov. 29 10 am, next Friends of Shoesmith Dec. 14 7:15 pm.)The non-neighborhood schools are hard to get into-- they have first to choose your child. Shoesmith has:

New leadership and committed teachers who welcome active involvement by parents and neighbors

Smaller class sizes plus teachers interns from major colleges


Lango Spanish weekly

Integrated art instr. from Hyde Park Art Center, partnerships with Smart and the charter at Little Black Pearl.

Fun learning specials including literacy and math nights, book swaps, carnivals and fun fests

Comprehensive before and after school programs (Rockets, ARCC Dance, sports, band scouts, tutoring, garden club, Plants and Pollinators..

Time in the park and new butterfly garden with raised beds and bulbs and greenhouse- teachers incorporate plant-based learning in the curriculum.


The HPKCC Schools Committee was disheartened to learn that as of November 2009 Shoesmith School has been placed on academic probation. Reasons include low attendance ratio and poor scores on one test. The criteria are highly problematic. The HPKCC Schools Committee has been in conversation with the school on how we and the community can help. 77% of Shoesmith students are at or below poverty level. 80% of the student live within the Shoesmith district. HPKCC is highly pleased to see the school roaring back ahead.

The lsc is working hard to raise parental involvement; there are many weekend family activities. A story program has parents reading to their kids. The former principal, Ms. Bedar, and the new principal Pat Watson, were said to have very good rapport with students and parents. A new cafeteria is needed. It has a fairly new playground and good gym.



Akiba-Schechter. Josephine Gendler, 8tgh grader, qualified in 2010 for the state level completion of the national Geographic Bee.

Ancona School (private, Montessori) Five students and a guest from Galileo Math and Science academy finished 8th in the U.S. Open chess Championships in May 2007. and did well in the Chicago championships. Hired coach is Wayne Smith of the Hyde Park Academy of Scholastic Chess. The kids started playing at very early ages, with parents for the most part.

Hales Franciscan. In addition to its outstanding academic and college placement record, Hales Franciscan is actively raising funds to refurbish the whole building and more ($15 M is needed) , with help from Michael Jordan, who recently gave $5 million to bring the total to $8 million, enough to get started whether or not a bond issue can be worked out.

U of C Laboratory Schools.
Summer Lab returns for 2008. 773 834-7766,
Physics teacher David Derbies won a 2007 A Golden Apple teaching award.
In 2008 the track team excelled in the regional's. And one of their projects was to send letters and donations to the wounded soldiers, recovering in hospitals in Germany.
In 201, student Sam Frampton won statewide right to participate in he jazz ensemble of the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Conference. Andrew Sandwick was selected to play clarinet in the honors orchestra ensemble.

The High School has a new principal, Matthew Horvat.

St. Thomas the Apostle School principal, Dorothy Murphy, who has reached out to surrounding schools, parks, museums, and businesses and seeks to make the school more a part of the community. Murphy is past principal of St. Felicia, which the Archdiocese has closed. Open House March 26 9-2.

Woodlawn Community Academy had the distinction of leading the Rising Star Chicago public schools (79) that excelled in test gains. Woodlawn officials attributed its double-digit gains to redoubled use of Direct Instruction a "scripted" program. Even kindergartners are reading at the low-income charter school.

Woodlawn High UC Charter. Woodlawn High School UC Charter's spring concert and arts show had Yo-Yo Ma and CSO performers as MC. Yo performed an original piece inspired by the school. Ma and CSO work to develop the school's arts integrated curriculum and bring in many outside artists and performers to work with the students.


News about some advocacy groups

Parents United for Responsible Education ( has now established a Chicago Parents Union in conjunction with Kenwood Oakland Community Organization ( It's based on a LA model.

A service of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (email).
Help support our work: Join the Conference!