Prescott Closing – So this helps explain it….

February 21, 2010 at 7:08 pm 10 comments

The is not officially confirmed, but I just read on NPN that the new Alcott High School will be housed in the current Prescott building.

Prescott has been a school mired in controversy during the past year or two.  They scooped up a principal whose contract wasn’t renewed at Ravenswood Elementary School.  The guy came across VERY well in school tours and hada desire to make quick changes in his schools.  But quick change in CPS can ffulle feathers and piss people off.  And even if you *get* to make the changes, ideally you still want to have the teachers and parents feel like they’re on board with him.  Rumor has it that this wasn’t his strong point.

This past year he tried to make some serious changes at Prescott which some parents fully supported whereas other parents and teachers were supremely pissed off.  Naturally there are valid points for each side, but to me, when you’re looking at a typical CPS school with poor test scores and declining enrollment (as Prescott had been) then somebody needs to step up and shake things up.

In any case, despite the controversy and in-fighting,  and well-intended efforts to make some changes to draw more neighbors in…. it was too late.  SPC slated the school for closing due to low enrollment.  I believe the parents tried to fight it to no avail.

And now I see why.  It probably makes sense to get the Alcott HS in there, but the scary thing is to think about the planning that was going on, probably without Prescott’ s knowledge.    Up on the north side we talk about the need for new high schools, but to get these CPS isn’t necessarily going to build nice new buildings like North Side College prep.  They’re going to look for existing underutilized space.

Parents need to act fast if their local school is shrinking or has consistently low enrollment for one reason or another.

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Little Rant about the Teachers’ Union Prescott 2nd chance

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Y  |  February 21, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Very odd turn of events. It really seemed like Schneider was being closed to turn it over completely to Alcott HS. I wonder what will become of Schneider now. I don’t know how Burley can handle more students coming from Prescott’s district. I thought they were pretty crowded already.

    It is also idiotic for CPS to disregard the fairly evenly distributed placement of grammar schools throughout the city by closing or converting different neighborhood schools. Students in some areas are now forced to walk up to a mile to get to school. Or due to time constraints, the parents are driving them, which exacerbates the traffic congestion around schools.—-why-these-schools.html

  • 2. Mayfair Dad  |  February 22, 2010 at 10:34 am

    The knock on Erin Roche is that he catered to the incoming yuppies at the expense of the largely Hispanic residents who had been at Prescott for two generations. The yuppie parents wanted to launch an IB program to ramp up academic rigor; this would have displaced some teachers so an anti-IB coalition was formed between the impacted teachers and Hispanic parents. Turmoil city.

    Roche tends to be a lightning rod for controversy. A similar dust-up at Ravenswood led to his ouster, even though the LSC gave him an exemplary performance review. Probably the reason CPS was compelled to offer him another school. Very bright guy but comes across as arrogant at times. Its his way or the highway.

    And yes, CPS must have been coveting that building for Alcott HS for a while. I am told there are empty school buildings on the Northwest side that CPS uses for storage, even though every school in Region 1 is overcrowded or operating at full capacity. Where are all these kids going to high school?

  • 3. hopeful  |  February 22, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    This had to be in the works for more than a year now. It makes me mad for the sake of the Prescott folks who were working so hard to market and improve the school. If they had known, they could have put all that hard work to use somewhere else. It probably feels like more than a slap in the face. Just goes to show….the board of ed does not care about YOU, whoever YOU happens to be. So sorry Prescott!

  • 4. Jan  |  February 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Seems like the Prescott building will be a good location in that it is across the street from Wrightwood Park, so any athletic teams can practice there. Also, Alcott HS is only slated to have 360 students at capacity, so it’s very small as high schools go, and Prescott is not a large facility. On the other hand, why does CPS persist in locating high schools so far away from any el stops? I guess if the majority of attendees are graduates of Alcott and live in the Alcott enrollment boundaries, they’ll have to walk up to Diversey, catch a westbound bus and then walk up Ashland to the school, which is not a very pretty walk, not a very short commute. I know this seems nitpicky, but the commute is definitely part of the equation when a kid is deciding about high schools.

  • 5. amy  |  February 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    so remind me about Alcott HS and how one would be admitted? selective enrollment or no?

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    I believe with Alcott is like half neighborhood, half lottery or something like that. No selection process like the SE schools use. Alcott Elem kids get first priority.

  • 7. hopeful  |  February 22, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Isn’t Alcott HS supposed to admit all Alcott elementary graduates who want to attend first, and then open a general lottery to others? As I understand it, it is not an SE high school, just a regular high school.

  • 8. Jan  |  February 23, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Alcott will automatically admit all Alcott elementary grads, then have a neighborhood lottery for any applicants that live within the boundaries of North Ave, Western, Belmont and the lake, and then they’ll have a lottery for all other applicants. There are 90 spots per class planned, and they had over 900 applicants this year, according to their website.

  • 9. also obsessed  |  February 23, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    hey hey!! 299 just reported:
    Last Minute Reprieve For Prescott and Marconi

    “Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman announced today that he is removing William H. Prescott Elementary School, 1632 W. Wrightwood, from the school actions list that is to be submitted to the Chicago Board of Education tomorrow, Huberman also said he is also suspending a proposal regarding the consolidation of Guglielmo Marconi Elementary School, 230 N Kolmar.

    “Huberman said CPS officials have received substantial input from the Prescott School community regarding plans to increase the school’s enrollment for the next school year. Prescott was proposed for closing because of under-enrollment. The school has less than 200 students and a design capacity to accommodate 600.

    “The school community at Prescott has put forth a variety of plans on how they would improve enrollment, and we are going to give them the opportunity to do that,” Huberman said. The success of those efforts will be reviewed this fall, he said.

    well what do you know. He kept Hamilton open too…..GOOD FOR HIM!!!!!!

    As a parent who was majorly invested (and still am) in helping my own neighbohood school increase enrollment for the past 4 years, I know what great lengths parenst go to in order to get people interested in their school They believe in it, and it’s great for their communities when so many get involved.

    I am so glad to see that their efforts paid off (in both schools).

  • 10. Y  |  February 24, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Looks like there was a reversal of the closing decision at Prescott. Congratulations to all who worked on keeping it open. Where does Alcott HS go now?,0,941728.story

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