Ward Room
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School Closings Adversaries Press On

CPS superintendent visiting schools, CTU plans rally

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (file photo)

    Both sides of the CPS school closings issue were out in the community promoting their message on Tuesday.

    CPS superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett visited Hefferan Elementary, a Garfield-Humboldt Park school that will be welcoming new students this fall from soon-to-be-closed Hefferan Elementary.

    CPS Superintendent On Blending School Cultures

    [CHI] CPS Superintendent On Blending School Cultures
    Barbara Byrd-Bennett plans to visit with every closing and welcoming school to help ensure a smooth transition.

    Byrd-Bennett says she plans to visit each of the welcoming and closing schools to help ensure the students will have a smooth transition -- everything from making sure the welcoming schools have the materials they need, individual students with special learning needs are attended to, and that students have a safe passageway to their new school.

    "Blending is not just about the logistics of moving people from place to place," Byrd-Bennett said. "It's not the culture of School A and the culture of School B, is about blending the cultures together."

    CTU Bus Tour: How School Closures Impact Neighborhoods

    [CHI] CTU Bus Tour: How School Closures Impact Neighborhoods
    The Chicago Teachers Union bus tour was organized to show the dangerous neighborhoods and vacant buildings children would need to pass to get to their new schools. Kim Vatis reports.

    Byrd-Bennett said student ambassadors from the welcoming schools are sending postcards to their future classmates to try and develop relationships beforehand.

    The superintendent also addressed complaints that the school closings will lead to overcrowding.

    "Not only is the class size going to probably be very close to what it is now, under 32, there will still be extra rooms if you will, rooms for technology labs, for reading cafeterias and music rooms ... We want to be certain that we're not going to create overcrowded situations," Byrd-Bennett said.

    Meanwhile on the West Side, Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis was scheduled to host a unity rally and balloon launch at Matthew A. Henson Elementary School on Tuesday along with members of the Local School Council, parents and students.

    The Lawndale school is one of 54 targeted for closure, but CTU officials believe some Henson kids will be directed to Herzl, one of 25 CPS schools managed by the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL).

    AUSL has links to some current CPS board members, including president David Vitale, who used to chair the non-profit's board before taking his current position, and the CTU maintains that those relationships "question the independence of the decisions being made."