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HPKCC's new mailing address: 1507 E. 53rd St. #404.,

Meetings and bulletins. Community Action Council. LSC elections 2014- see LSC page.
Closings, Repurposings and Canter
(see link to new CPS site)


Brochure About the HPKCC Schools Committee (to pdf printable)
NAVIGATOR and index to Our Education and Schools pages
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Contacts Chair: Other members include Nancy Baum, R Carson, Jane Comiskey, Camille Hamilton-Doyle, Victoria Long, Gary Ossewaarde, Shaz Rasul, Ismail Turay from HPKCC and the community.
See links to new Dyett RFP in the School News page.

CPS website,, has been updated and reorganized with new parent resources.
The new CPS Student Code of Conduct- pdf overview

Meetings and bulletins--

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.

Suspecnded until fall except for a retreat, 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.

STATE OF HPK SCHOOLS DECEMBER 2014 CPS PRES. TO THE CAC. (It is 8 MB and one slide may have error)

Find statewide school rankings and success/weakness on the 5 Essentials:

Official:, More detailed:

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.

More charters and alternatives when CPS faces a massive deficit and has been closing neighborhood schools? Ald. Sawyer will introduce a resolution in City Council for a moratorium Sept. 2015.
See Raise Your Hand info flyer with links.
Although CPS closed 3 charter schools and may a 4th (and these can aopeal to a stae commission), it approved other new ones. And there is a federal pipeline - millions for startup costs of up to 22 more charter schools.
Meanwhile, CPS proposes to close or consolidate several schools in other parts of the city.

Dyett ,

An early look at the arts program for the 2016 incoming freshman class according to principal McLoyd. From Herald digest Nov. 11 2015.

Staff Writer

As one of several events to introduce the community to the future Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts, Principal Beulah Mcloyd held an information session last night about what the school will have to offer students next fall.

The session was held, Tuesday afternoon, in the Herman Hall Ballroom at the Illinois Institute of Technology, 3241 S. Federal St. Only 15 people showed up to learn more information about the new Dyett.

“Student voice and student choice is going to be huge,” Mcloyd said. “Education usually happens to kids without their input, but our students will work very closely with a counselor to explore their options.”

The options that will be offered to the 150 9th graders at Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St., will include advanced placement and honors classes starting at the freshmen level as well as an accelerated math program that covers five math classes in four years.

Mcloyd promoted the arts-focused emphasis and explained the three programs the school will offer next fall. Dance, digital media and visual arts will kick-start the arts programs, with more to come in the future.

“The main difference between us and other schools is that we will offer students four years of art while most schools offer only two years,” Mcloyd said.

The dance program will offer education in all forms of dance with curriculum input by renowned dance professor, Homer Hans Bryant. Digital media courses will comprise of students learning about technology, graphic design, videography and photography.

The visual arts program will work closely with Andre Guichard, who owns a studio and gallery in Bronzeville at 436 E. 47th St.

Mcloyd addressed that she wants to offer a balanced experience to the students between the arts programs and the school’s core curriculum. Her goal is to offer all basic sports and activities to the future students.

“It’s about providing them with excitement to come to school every day and the critical thinking skills that will help them in a variety of different careers and futures,” she said.

Sept. 24 CPS announced appointment of Beulah McLoyd Dyett principal. She had been disciplined several years ago for apparently carelessness that helped enable a major fraud/theft a a previous school. She is former principal at Clark High School after serving as assistant principal at Gage Park. McLoyd, a resident fo Bronzeville, says she is "fully committeed to ensuring... is the world-class success that the community deserved. The Coalition is expeted to protest that appointment should have waited for eletion of a LSC (which is apparently not guaranteed) and or a joint selection wih community leadership.
September 25 CPS held a poorly-attended meeting on a Friday night about boundaries. It seemed like the boundaries were drawn so narrowly (the old boundaries that left the scuhol under-enrolled) that the school wil leither fail or mostly be filled with higher-scoring students from outside, attracted to the arts and tech curriculum. 31 potential feeder schools are excluded. Not known if asked- could an adjacent bounded school not be moved from an old brinding into the newer school to participate creating a more neighborhood inclusive school?

DYETT- (see latest) Coalition info: #fightfordyett.
(AN ALT SUBMISSION IS FROM LITTLE BLACK PEARL But dthat would be for a contract alternative school)-- HPKCC seeks to have the school reopen as an open enrollment neighborhood school with high quality programs (we fought closure of the school).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 and reversal of the decision four years ago to phase out the school.
This reversal comports with HPKCC position and resolution.
March 2015 The Schools Committee has recommended to the HPKCC board a letter to teh CPS RFP committee supporting the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett and pointing out our long support for district-run open enrollment neighborhood schools.
The CAC supported a similar resolution and letter March 25.
HPKCC Board approved a similar letter from the Conference April 2.
However, the schools committee has learned that a proposal similar to that of the Coalition but stressing athletics and athletic careers as well as academic rigor has been submitted, as well a a contract school proposal from Little Black Pearl.
The Dyett proposals- More coming on June 17 2015 presentation meeting.
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.

September 19 (happened 18th?) The Coalition announced that the 30 have ended their hunger strike. They continue to insist on their demands. (ed. One hopes that with the hot-button suspended CPS and Ald. Burns, who asserted in his newsletter and the Herald that basically the problem is that KOCO wants to control the school and get contract work there), will engage in a dialogue for the best and truly open-enrollment neighborhood school. Also that CPS can somehow roll back the arrogant way it threw out the proposals and imposed a plan, perhaps now that Tim Cawley has resigned?)

However, CPS is moving forward with teams to develop the "innovatative" arts and tech sides of the proposed school, with no indication that the coalition be part of the teams (Sen. Raoul and Rev. Jackson as well as KOCO are among those insisting upon this inclusion at the least, as well as Green Techology and Global Leadership and immediate election of an lsc and principal.) According to the Herald digest,
.Moving forward with its plan for an arts and technology –based school at Dyett,

CPS announced, today, the chosen Technology Advisory Committees (TAC) to support the development of Dyett. To CPS Release on the TAC

“The experts who have volunteered to provide strategic guidance for the groundbreaking technology center at Dyett will play a critical role in developing a new pillar of the Bronzeville community,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson in a written statement. “It will be the first of its kind in the district, and we are excited to work with such accomplished individuals to assist us in developing this groundbreaking community resource.”

The Innovation TAC includes names such as Gerald Doyle, the vice provost at the Illinois Institute of Technology; Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871; and Jerrold Martin, vice chancellor and CIO for City Colleges of Chicago.

The Arts TAC includes Theaster Gates, director of Arts and Public Life at the University of Chicago; Kemati Porter, interim executive director of the Creative Arts Foundation; and Perri Irmer, president and CEO of the DuSable Museum of African American History.

Brown said that while he has no issues with the names included on the list, he hopes the coalition will be on the list as well.

“We want to be part of the infrastructure and planning and we will continue to push on that,” Brown said.

In August 2015 when hearing on the three proposals was again postponed to"give new CPS leadership time", 12 or more members o the Coalition went on hunger strike (along with Rev. Jackson), conduted umerous sit in sat CPS, City Hall and vigils on the Dyett site and various leader residences, reached out to DOE Secretary Arne Duncan, and rallied and finally disrupted city budget hearings. There were a couple of meetings with Mayor Emanuel and Supt. Claypool, who hinted that the decision may not be what any of the proposals submitted wanted, including possibly not reopening because of low enrollment in many surrounding high schools.

September 3, the day after the disruption at the budget hearing, CPS announced that a different solution wil be enacted-- an arts-focused school with a community/technology lab with guidance from IIT. The Coaliton was notified of the decision and that there would be no negotiation c 15 minutes before the conference and the Coalition was subsquetnly locked out of the building. The new schol would be a neighborhood open enrollment school, said to be with boundaries in the 3rd and 4th wards, but with "preference" for neighborhood students-- but a guarantee of entry (until the school were full) was not stated, nor whether there might be a requiremtn to meet a certain grade or score level.

The Coalition rejected the decision, continued the hunger strike, issued the following statement of demands September 4 as reported in

The recent announcement by Chicago Public Schools to open an arts school with a technology hub is not what thousands of Bronzeville residents said they wanted. There was overwhelming demand for Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School. We are willing to negotiate with CPS, but we will not be excluded from a school we have fought for, suffered for, and struggled to save. We are committed to the following:

· A School with a global leadership curriculum.
· A School with a green technology curriculum
· A School with vertical curricular alignment with the 6 feeder schools identified in the proposal.
· Dyett as a community school (open till 7p daily, with programs and resources for parents, students and the community).
· Dwayne Turner to serve as the principal of Dyett.
· The immediate elected and fully empowered Local School Council.
· The school must retain the name Walter H. Dyett.
· The Coalition to Revitalize Dyett must be fully represented* on the design/ planning team of the school.

*Some reports say by 6.

The High School Photo Project, a photographic exhibit by Linda Erf Swift February through April at the U of C Medicine outpatient clinic building.

Images from Kenwood Academy, King College Prep and
University High at the U. of C. Lab Schools.

25 prints are exhibited in the 4th Floor Atrium
of the DCAM building at the northwest corner of 58th St. and Maryland Ave.
During the day you may enter the building and just go up to the Atrium
to see the prints. No pass or I.D. is required.

For the last eight years, I have asked Seniors to bring a quote they
believe says something about their identity. They write the quote on a
chalkboard in their school and I take their portrait with the words they have selected.

An exhibit with a different selection will be shown at the Harold Washington Library in May.

Every month The Great Frame Up store has an exhibit of works of local artists, "Artist of the Month." The artist also comes and gives a talk at least once during their residency. 1448 E. 53rd St.

NEW REGULAR MEETING DATE FOR THE HPKCC SCHOOLS COMMITTEE- 4TH TUESDAYS AT 5:30 pm. 5221 S. Blackstone. RSVP Nancy Baum. Co-chairs are Nancy Baum and Camille Hamilton-Doyle. TBA

June 25 the CAC approved bylaws, elected officers and heard /discussed with Kenwood Principal Gregory Jones regarding transition of the Academic Center in the former Canter middle school building. This followed upon a previous meeting's presentation and discussion with a middle school expert. The CAC began its strategic plan with a three-part outline of priorities toward strengthening the K-12 continuum throughout the HPK schools through building the preschool and middle school experience and strengthening emotional and social supports through K-12.
Elected June 25 to sere for one year: : Co-chairs Denise Hill and LaKeisha Hamilton. Secretary Jeffrey Alstadt.
The June meeting approved bylaws, elected officers, and had an extensive discussion with Kenwood Principal Dr. Gregory Jones about transitioning the middle grade selective Kenwood Academic Center into the Canter building and possible enhanced options for other middle graders.
August- approved a resolution to support alderman continuing to keep Dyett open and as an open enrollment neighorhood school and noting it likes many features in the coalition plan (Global Leadeship and Green Technology); passed a resolution endorsing a national resolution for reduction in high-stakes testing, adn hears about and discussed the new Student Code of Conduct and CPS new suspensions polity.

HPKCC Schools Committee has been stressing the importance of upgrading Shoesmith-- and the school is now a Tier 1 school. Next is the combination of Kenwood Academy with the Academic Center in the Canter bldg. and we have our eyes on Kozminski also making strides.
So the Shoesmith Story:
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...
August 25- get the school ready day. Sept 2 8:30 open house.
Congratulation Principal Gates and everyone.

HPKCC Schools Committee Biennial Thank-You Dinner for Principals, LSC and parent support groups of Hyde Park-Kenwood Schools on May 31 featured as 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 nvolvement (and less uproar when schools are closed) are Montgomery County and Baltimore in Maryland and the Logan Park area in Chicago. Summary of Dr. Payne's talk in PDF.

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 and reversal of the decision four years ago to phase out the school.

Read letter approved at the HPKCC board meeting. The letter is set to be published in the March 12 Hyde Park Herald and sent to CPS and officials.
FYI: A contentious public meeting was held by the Alderman in late July 2014.
August 6 the US Dept. of Education agreed to investigate a charge of civil rights violation against CPS for policy and condidtion at Dyett. The Coalition held a press conf. and is confronting elected officials on Dyett and seeking their suppor tfor the coalition's Global Leadership and Green Technology proposal and has called a public meeting/rally for Sept. 13 at Dyett.

In a release June 11 2004 Ald. Burns responded to a press rally June 11 by the coalition to revitalize Dyett. He insisted he opposed the closing of Dyett all along, all should now work together for a neighborhood school of distinction there (distancing himself from certain aspects of the coalition to save Dyett as a global leadership and green initiatives school) and that the coalition had not presented thoroughly to the Bronzeville community-- strongly denied by coalition members, who also reviewed that Burns did nothing specific to keep Dyett until recently.

Alderman Burns said earlier in 2014 that he will convene a meeting on repurposing closed schools in the area, including Canter, per deal between CPS, the purposing commission, and City Council. The citywide commission on this has slowed the process. As of April 23, only one community meeting had been held in the city. Ald. Burns promises there will be meetings on closings in the area, despite his mentioning a solution for Canter in a recent Herald letter.

July 28 2014 Ald. Burns held a public meeting at King Prep on the future / repurposing of Dyett.
GMO. Burns said this meeting (mandated by th process for repurposings) was to gather input in breakouts on what people would want and expect if Dyett stays open as an open neighborhood public school school (which he has always said he wants) , and any proposals. Breakouts were preceded by Tim Black on who Captain Dyett was and why his memorial matters and CPS charts sort of implying that if the school were lost, there are 24 high schools within 3 miles that are sort of not too bad and coming up. (What the number of potential students shows was not said.) There was much objection to "starting over" on planning for the school since groups spent three years researching and preparing a proposal that is ambitious but can be modified. Burns said he didn't have other proposals - that was what the meeting was for and not supporting any at this time.
The largest breakout was in the auditorium. Nancy Baum of HPKCC read the Conference letter giving reasons schools should not be shut and why Dyett had the potential to be a great, focused school. This was well received. Many students and alumni gave testimony on the abandonment and collapse of programs during the school's 4-year phase out and the great programs it had before disinvestment. The Coalition to Save Dyett described aspects aims of their Global Leadership and Green Technology proposal. Many but not all expressed enthusiasm. As the evening wore on the meeting broke down into takeovers, loud accusations and political rally chants and asserting t"they" would take over the school and open it as they want it irregardless of CPS. And some left early, whether because of the tone of the meeting was not cler to this observer. There was also objection to "facilitators" scribbling on flip charts to keep up with comments as they herd tem (and sometimes pausing in bewilderment)- audinece members said just read the proposal, and some submitted their own notes. Distrust that the condultant Teska Assoc. of Evanston, CPS, and the Alderman might massage the comments was clear.
Rumors were repeated that Little Black Pearl would be taking over the school-- separately this has been vigorously denied by LBP director Monica Haslip. Also, the leaders of CPS and the Alderman have said (according to media reports) that they need a stronger, more detailed proposal for Global Leadership and Green Tecnology before they could use it as a platform--the BofE President quoted by Sam Cholke of DNAinfo as saying it's up to the Alderman.
Next step is report from the consultant - their faciltators were quoted by Sam Cholke of DNAinfo as saying after the meeting either that they heard that the school shouldn't close but not a consensus on what it would look like, or that the coalition group seemed to think it was enough to put their plan forward for it to be done.

Alderman Burns writes to the public July 31:

I want to thank everyone who offered their feedback and ideas at Monday night's Dyett Community Charette. We understand there are Fourth Ward residents who couldn't attend, and that others came, but didn't get the opportunity to have their input heard.

We welcome anyone who has anything further to contribute to the community planning process to send their thoughts and ideas to Teska Associates by emailing

Teska Associates will compile all the feedback in a report to Chicago Public Schools (CPS). This is an important measure for demonstrating our community's overwhelming support for a sustainable future for Dyett High School.

It's imperative that we continue to work together to show CPS and the Chicago Board of Education how important it is to keep Dyett open and to keep it as a high quality, open-enrollment public high school.

So please, send your feedback to

Members of the Coaltion to Revitalize Dyett High School and the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization finally met with Mayor Emanuel at Bret Harte Elementary School on August 29. The mayor refused to support the plan, but agreed to review the Dyett Global Leadership & Green Technology Plan, provide additional resources to the remaining Dyett students and get back in contact with the Coalition within 2 weeks. THERE HAS BEEN NO RESPONSE FROM THE MAYOR'S OFFICE AS AGREED.

The community has been pressuring Mayor Emanuel, Alderman Burns, and the Chicago Public Schools to provide the remaining students with all of the resources they need to be successful and to keep Dyett open and implement the community's plan for the school: the Dyett Global Leadership & Green Technology Plan in the school. The 13 remaining students at Dyett High School are calling themselves the Dyett 13. Last week many of the members the Dyett 13 held a press conference at City Hall to present their demands to the mayor.


"Simply put, our school shouldn't be in the condition it is in. Currently Dyett high school has thirteen students, with three teachers that actually teach in class and three online classes. We have no after school programs, Act prep, or extracurricular activities what so ever like sports. There is a serious lack of resources in the school and a serious lack of action taken to get them.

CPS and the administration at our school has spent more time spent encouraging me and my classmates to leave the school than bringing any resources into the school. In 2012, CPS promised that we would not be neglected during the phase-out. That promise has been shattered. Shattered to the point that we know our civil rights are being violated; we encourage the U.S. Dept. of Education to conduct its investigation honestly.

I think I can speak for the rest of the students when I say its hard to be in a school with such condition's and what makes it even more difficult is having no support from the people who are suppose to run the system. I believe officials in charge should be held accountable for letting a school become in such a condition under there watch. We don't want to switch to a new school in our last year. We should not have to. We pay taxes, so where is the return on our investment? As students, we know the situation at Dyett is a symbol of what's wrong with CPS' policies throughout the city, especially on the south and west sides. We are the DYETT 13, we will stick together and demand the support from CPS that we deserve."

Dyett Student Demands for a "Senior Paradise"

We want teachers for every class at Dyett and no more online classes!

Outreach to Dyett students who were co-erced to leave, offering them the opportunity to return
After-school tutoring and year-long ACT Prep.
A new, supportive principal!
Internship and part-time employment opportunities
College trips and Career Day activities
Quality senior activities; prom, luncheon, etc.
Sports team
“Life After Dyett” student supports and counseling
Off campus lunch

We did not create this problem. We should not be victimized or inconvenienced because CPS wants to shut our school down early. We deserve better than this and we will stand up for it. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, we need a response from you by Monday, September 15th. Do you really believe in Children First?

To date, there has been no response from the Mayor or the Mayor's Office.
Please join us for a Rally and Press Conference at City Hall on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 4 PM on the 5th Floor. We want the Dyett Global Leadership & Green Technology High School and immediate support for the Dyett 13 now!

Contact 773.548.7500 for a ride or more details.


CLOSINGS REPURPOSINGS and Canter- see more and in Schools/Educ. News.

(July 28 Ald. Burns holds a meeting on the future of Dyett. At King Prep, 6 pm 4445 S. Drexel.)

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 Principal 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.

Repurposing of buildings CPS website:

Read letter approved at the HPKCC board meeting.


Read Case For Canter, prepared by those testifying at hearings on school closings
More on Canter closings
CPS site:

10-year facilities plan:
If you would like to read some of the draft document, the section about Hyde Park schools starts on p. 194-
For more information: Adrienne Garner at CPS: or

On closings and repurposing including Canter and HPKCC resolution and letter

(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 is 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.



See report on ABCs of CPS in Friends-Drive page.

Important new studies out-see in UC Research page
A new CPS blueprint to integrating the arts and sc. into curriculum

To About the Schools Committee brochure (including pdf version and to short version).
View Report on February 23 2010 Recognition Ceremony and Talk, in pdf
To our recent reports and minutes.
To More on assets building collaborative, Promises
To Youth Programs Database
See what parents said about the school day in School News page.

Meetings and events (... are at top)

VISION OF THE CPS ARTS EDUCATION PLAN- approved by CPS board mid November 2012.

The guiding principle of the CPS Arts Education Plan is that every CPS student will receive ongoing high quality arts education both in and out of the classroom.

Through a comprehensive and sequential study of visual art, music, dance, and theater from K-12th grade, all Chicago Public Schools students will have the opportunity to develop into innovative thinkers and creative problem solvers who are capable of expressing themselves, understanding others and contributing to their city’s culture and economy for years to come.

The CPS Arts Education Plan honors and promotes the critical role of certified arts instructors as anchors for building robust arts programs and creating strong arts partnerships in schools.

Five Guiding Principles

¦Provide equity and access to arts learning for not just some, but all children

¦Return the arts to the ongoing education and school day experience (adds dance and theater to the mandated curriculum)

¦Provide quality sequential arts instruction

¦Prepare young people for life and work in the 21st Century

¦Support increasing high school graduation rates


The CPS Arts Education Plan will focus on creating goals that will elevate the following six standards in the arts:

¦District Arts Policy
¦In School and Out of School Arts Guidelines
¦Arts Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
¦Data and Strategy
¦Arts Partnerships & Collaborations
¦Professional Development in the Arts

Also: Common Core Workshop with experts for Public Schools arts partners. Thursday, July 26, 10-noon. RSVP to get the location-


There was a wonderful appreciation dinner by HPKCC for outgoing and incoming LSC, PTA, PAC, principals on May 3 2012 at Kozminski School. Dr. Charles Payne of U of C was a terrific speaker, new and outgoing principals shared their vision. All LSC members and PTA/PAC chairs were given certificates.

Schools Committee fall 2012 Schools Networking Dinner defines college-readiness and why grades and attitude toward learning top scores as preparers and predictors.

From article on the October 1 Dinner by Daschell M. Philips in the Hyde Park Herald

The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Schools Committee held its annual networking dinner Oct. 2. Camille Farrington, research associate at the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research and assistant professor at the university's School of Social Service Administration, was the guest speaker.

Each year the schools committee hosts the network event as a beginning of the school year meet-and-greet opportunity for administrators from Kozminski..., Canter..., Dyett...,Bret harte...,Kenwood Academy...,Murray.., Ray...,Reavis..., Robinson...,and Shoesmith...

Farrington, [who] worked for 15 years as a public high school teacher an administrator, spoke to the school leaders about the importance of college readiness and shared some information on how to prepare students for college life.

Farrrington is a lead researcher for the Chicago Postsecondary Transition Project, which is based at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Her research interests focus on policy and practice in urban high school reform, and particularly classroom instruction and assessment, academic rigor, tracking and dropout. She also serves as director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for the Network for College Success at SSA, working with CPS Transformation high schools as part of a federal School Improvement Grant.

[Her conclusions included that developing confidence and attitudes and approaches that lead to success as expressed in grades and a string of successes is the best preparer and predictor for college and for life. She gave many tips for parents, teachers, and administrators.]

Nancy Baum, co-chair of the schools committee, said this year the committee wil continue to focus on its ongoing school supply drive, which was launched in August. the committee is asking the community to visit and make $10 donations to purchase supplies such as pencils, pens, markers, crayons, spiral notebooks an filler paper for public schools in Hyde Park and Kenwood.

The committee is also planning a forum from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 15, at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood, titled "The ABCs of Chicago Public Schools" for parents of young children who want to know how to enroll them in schools [and how to negotiate a best fit in school and program for their children].

A wonderful networking dinner with schools telling all was held Sept. 29 2011.

Networking dinner shows schools alive with innovation, rich learning

On September 29 the Schools Committee of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference held its annual Networking Dinner for area school principals and school council or parent group leaders. The dinner was graciously hosted by Ray Elementary and its new Principal Tatia Beckwith in their lovely modern cafeteria. Schools represented included Bret Harte, Canter, Kenwood Academy, Murray, Price, Ray, Reavis, and Shoesmith.

The highlight of the evening was the reports from principals and representatives on what they are doing to serve students, parents, and the larger community. The lesson was that all the schools in Hyde Park and Kenwood are adopting innovations and making great strides to be schools any family would be proud to attend and worthy of the community’s pride and support.
One of the most interesting programs is Reavis’ health clinic, described by Principal Michael Johnson. Children of the various schools can go to the clinic for treatment, immunizations, or broader care. The school also seeks to engage families so children will have the advantage of growing up in one school until ready to move to the next-level school. This involves 1-creating safety nets and continuous evaluation so the kids don’t fall through the cracks, 2-providing resources, 3-regular celebrations of accomplishments, and 4-projects for which each student and teams are responsible, from concept through research to creative presentations at student-led conferences. The school has an expanded day and a strong summer camp for students as well as a teaching program for parents.

Assistant Principal Karen Calloway described Kenwood Academy’s 7th and 8th grade Academic Center magnet program, which consistently places among the very top schools in Illinois—and most of these students are prepared to move on to the high school, and do. Some of the programs in place in the high school include Freshmen on Track to graduate, programs to help parents know the expectations and track student progress, mentoring teams, and college readiness and familiarity. Many Kenwood students excel at earning college scholarships. Ms. Calloway said Kenwood enjoys being a neighborhood school and encourages community members to be involved.

Principal Colleen Conlan showed how Canter Middle School has adopted a high school model and a method for developing leadership skills so that students will be ready for high school (and thinking about college) even if they go a school in another neighborhood.

Shenethe Parks told how Bret Harte prepares students for middle school. At the 4th grade students experience departmentalization with assignment to four teachers who stay with them through 6th grade. Harte has quasi-independence and uses an Options for Knowledge lottery for half the students’ admission. She encourages all to “come see the culture”- she prefers personalized tours by appointment to open houses. She acknowledging excellence takes constant work. They have many afterschool programs, but it’s hard to maintain consistency year by year. University of Chicago helps for clubs and University of Illinois Chicago provides classroom interns. They use hands-on Everyday Math.

Tatia Beckwith, new principal at Ray School stressed that one has to keep finding new ways to manage changes and challenges. Key is to create a leaning environment—“respectful learning.” One change that has helped is reducing the number of classroom-change bells—rigid 45-minute periods weren’t working. Using intervention teachers was also praised—pulling sets of kids out of classes for special attention or projects—and self-directed projects for those who have surpassed. Developing self-direction and personal responsibilities are important goals.

Murray Language Academy was represented by Principal Gregory Mason. Several ideas were taken from LaSalle Academy. In restoring 7th and 8th grades (which was a challenge), they eliminated preschool, making sure that successfully moved to Ray. German was taken away, but now they teach Mandarin. The school has a lottery but do not enter by test. The school has added many afterschool programs, stressing development and use of teamwork, math skills, including chess and robotics clubs. They work on finding ways to keep the children learning year round. Community Service including food drives (4,000 pounds collected) is big. The 4th grade begins to experience departmentalization/rotation and use of organizing binders. Parental help is critical to the school.

Community representative Hilliard (for new principal Sabrina Gates) told about change and progress at Shoesmith School—a lot of buzz and a lot new. The motto is “excellence without excuses”: tell “how we will.” Newly introduced recess in a day with an extra hour total has worked really well. (Recess uses a separate set of monitors.) Friends of Shoesmith grants and volunteers has helped. South East Chicago Commission provided a grant for exterior murals that stress the themes of soaring and heritage. Students built a garden, which is integrated with classroom learning. Again, the culture is “all on board,” being respectful, responsible, safe, and bully-free (“bully in a box” program.) Parents come in and watch the classrooms, halls, drop off, etc. The school utilizes technology, including new website Lingo Spanish is integrated into the curriculum. Scouts are active.

Asst Principal Aisha McCarthy for Justin Moore spoke for Price. Price is working on its climate and collaboration/co-education with other schools. For example, the school serves only the upper elementary grades. Students can take algebra at King. They have many field trips.

And so each told how they make learning engaging and year-long, bring in specialized partners and institutions, keep up with the needs and challenges of the students, and involve families and neighbors. An especially encouraging case is Shoesmith, where staff, principal, and enthusiastic neighbors have “bought into” bringing this school to the next level. A key player at several of the schools is the “Friends of” which link neighbors and parents working in and supporting the schools. The Schools Committee has been asked how this model could be brought to other schools and whether we need a community wide alliance of such groups.

Shaz Rasul, Director of the University of Chicago’s Neighborhood Schools Program, told what hey are doing to help all the schools and encourage sharing of successful strategies.

The Schools Committee works primarily with principals and parent support groups, promoting networking and sharing while working with others on best ways to create a community of schools collectively plugged into the community at large and its resources. Presently, we are preparing a Directory for use of the schools. We are planning a coffee with principals to further mutual goals. The core members of the committee are Nancy Baum, Camille Hamilton-Doyle (chair), Gary Ossewaarde, and Ismail Turay. We need more members to effectively serve the large number of schools in our neighborhood. Contact Camille Hamilton-Doyle at 773 373-6944.



March 10 2010 "A Race to Nowhere: The Dark Side of America's Achievement Culture," was screened at Kenwood Academy followed by a principal's forum. Sponsored by the schools of HP-K, Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, Hyde Park Schools Initiative, and the University of Chicago Neighborhood Schools Program. A panel of principals and Neighborhood Schools moderated by Gabriel Piemonte of the Herald followed. ABOUT. Watch follow up forums et al.

View Report on February 23 2010 Recognition Ceremony and Talk, in pdf

See about a move... movie, Race to Nowhere, against the push for more from the kids. Tell the HPKCC Schools Committee what you think of this at Find a description in Community Schools page.

Local School Councils- go to table in the LSC page- always check with school.

Board of Education usually meets 4th Wednesdays, 10:30 am, 5th floor of 125 N. Clark.


The December 8 2010 Herald carried an article about involvement of the Schools Committee with schools and the Hyde Park Schools improvement initiative. The article noted that the Committee was the first to invite Jacqueline Edelberg (How to Walk to School) to Hyde Park (in February 2010). The committee has a long record of working for school improvement in Hyde Park and Beyond before LSCs started. The article is incorrect in attributing to us the Canter Middle School initiative. Noted was our annual networking dinners and drawing lsc members into the committee while attending lsc meetings and learning about what is in schools now--actually a lot--and how how they all can have such. The article noted the importance of involving parents of pre-school age. Two from the Parent Support Network of such attended the Committee meeting of December 1.


The Schools Committee of HPKCC- history, goals/mission, personnel, initiatives... read on to accomplishments and tasks

The Committee as part of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and others had a long and illustrious history and citywide reputation from at least the 1950s and in the era well before elected local school councils. Today our revitalized committee, started first by then-President Homer Ashby and picked up by Nancy Baum, monitors developments and progress in our neighborhood's schools, shares information about schools and educational resources and issues (from principal coffees nd school networking dinners to our website), seeks collaborations with agencies and local groups, and most of all seeks to foster a conversation about the direction of our schools. We are heavily involved with promoting, growing and helping Local School Councils.

Our goal: "Every school in the neighborhood one that every parent would be glad to send their children to."

“The mission of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Schools Committee is to provide community support for the schools and to provide a place where Local School Council members can get together to share information.” We propose that all schools be such as parents are proud to have their kids attend and that all kids have available the means and programs to build the assets and skills they will need for adulthood. Read more.

Our Committee core members: Co-Chairs: Nancy Baum, Camille Hamilton-Doyle, Members: Jane Comiskey, Victoria Long, Rudy Nimocks, Gary Ossewaarde, Shaz Rasul, Ismail Turay, and new persons coming on board. ADD YOUR NAME!
The committee now meets 3rd Wednesdays, 5 pm at Nancy Baum's, 5221 S. Blackstone.

Sister committee: Chicago Academic Games League. Visit the CAGL homepage CURRENTLY IN SUSPENSION.

Also- we hope community members and businesses- and especially parents will want to choose a school and attend some of their LSC, PTA, PAC, open houses and other events and meetings to show community support and get involved. The Local School Councils have many good-hearted people whose hard work deserves to be recognized by all of us.

Partially drawn from the January 2011 Conference Reporter.
The HPKCC Schools Committee. Engaging communities and schools.

By Gary Ossewaarde

The HPKCC Schools Committee serves as a resource, facilitator and networking provider for schools, school councils, parent groups and the larger community. Our aim is good schools in which the community and parents are engaged. To facilitate our goals, we meet with educators and school reform experts, hold networking dinners and lectures, attend school council meetings, and invite members of the latter to our meetings, and support any mechanism likely to help our schools advance (especially by working together -- we were proud to take the community lead in creation of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Action Council for Schools)

We have online directories of resources and of the many enrichment programs available to children and families during, after and outside of the school day. (Visit We want to make sure there is a set of robust, varied programs, widely available. We are also preparing a user-friendly print directory of schools' schools contacts and information. And we are planning a forum/workshop on "Where are the Parents? Help for parents to Become More Involved in Their Children's Schooling." ....We are now ready to work with others to strategically bring community resources and volunteer to specific schools and to the Hyde Park-Kenwood schools as a group. In that regard, we were pleased to learn of and work with a new community working group called Hyde Park Schools, convened (in 2011) by the Hyde Park Herald and the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club and intended to help Hyde Park and Kenwood schools discover common goals and resources and marshal the community and its businesses in support of our schools.

Hyde Park Schools has so far created focus groups of parents, educators, and citizens evaluating arts (CPS Arts Plan); fundraising; special needs and technology; curriculum; physical education, health and wellness. Joint fundraising, grant writing, and program sharing are already being considered. There is a growing consensus calling for such neighborhood collaboratives--from experts, foundations, CPS administrators, teachers, parents, and community organizations. Other neighborhoods have pilot programs; HPK would seem to be a likely prospect (possibly a focus of the Community Action Council in now in place.)

The Schools Committee is still working on a way to purpose Canter Middle School as a public school-perhaps with 6-8 grades to relieve the pressures at Shoesmith, Ray, and Harte.
We are also looking at ways to keep Dyett open a neighborhood high school, among other things preventing a school desert, keeping students from having to go to highly distant Philips, and relieve crowding pressures at Kenwood. And we want our schools to remain options for students, both in our neighborhoods and outside.
And we are very concerned with public knowledge an input into "repurposing" any schools that remain closed. We believe the buildings primary use should remain schools/public education.

Tasks. One of our tasks is to promote effective Local School Councils and encourage committed parents and residents to run (see top of page for information on how to do so and deadlines).

Recent activities include visits to community and other enriched schools around the city, regular meetings with principals and their administration (including learning needs we can work on), a tour of the neighborhood for intern teachers, promotion of involvement in SIPAA planning and especially LSC elections, networking and recognition dinners for LSCs and school administrators.

We feel that a lynchpin for educational success in neighborhoods is high school readiness in the feeder schools-- in short a strong pre-K-12 continuum including the middle school experience, without which even the best high schools have difficulty with their goals. from order and creativity to full college readiness and college success.

Visit also Link to an earlier Kenwood School Improvement Plan survey:

Find out all about any public school including detailed scores at Search school.

Did you know there are lots of ways for councils and schools to get freebees or funds from CPS and others. We bought in speakers to tell the LSCs and school administrators. One is to get your neighbors to donate the "points" they earn from the weight of recyclables in their blue carts--one Hyde Park already has! Find out in Donated RecycleBank Points are matched with dollar donations by RecycleBank to environmental initiatives at schools nationwide. RecycleBank will donate $10 for every 100 Points donated to your school and double it thanks to Gconony Visa and Coca Cola. They are once again accepting grant applications from schools in RecycleBank - serviced areas for the development of programs that empower youth ages 6–18 through a focus on environmental awareness, education, and action. Deadlines Oct. 15 and Dec. 15.

Access HPKCC Youth Programs Database in PDF- All are encouraged to download, print, and share: (printable pdf)
That portal also leads to the complete topical, descriptive Afterschool database
(direct link).

Scuttlebutt and Alarms

What do you think about high-stakes testing and "opt-out" from ISAT? let us know at

Are "promise neighborhoods" the way to go for poverty neighborhoods, and what might be adapted here, especially goals that fit what the Community Action Council is seeking by way of early learning, the middle school experience, and social and emotional development wrap-around? See page about. some, including at CPS, think we could do something like that here. One Schools Committee idea for our neighborhood-page about.

visit Organizing Schools for Improvement, UC Research Findings. And related Defining Excellence.

It's out, and may help us in our goal of engaging schools-programs and parents: A new CPS guide to integrating the arts (including social studies and sciences) into the curriculum and creating full engagement with arts program providers was released as of October 23. It was announced at, inter alia, the HPKCC Schools Committee September 29 2009 Networking Dinner for Schools and LSCs. For details contact It's called the "Chicago Guide for Teaching and Learning in the arts."

The committee encourages parents to sign their kids up for the school lunch program-- each school's funding in part depends on this.


Visit these Schools and Education pages:



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