Proposed Passage Charter HS for the north side

November 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm 59 comments

From DNA news:

(P.S. Have you subscribed to DNA news for your neighborhood?  I love the unbiased reporting of local events.  It’s a great way to keep up on school changes, restaurant openings, protests, neighborhood changes, Alderman stuff.  I really like this site.)

Should the north side community protest the expansion of Passages Charter High School?  The school wants to continue to add a grade per year to their elementary school.  The HS would be small, around 60 kids per class.

FYI, Passages elementary performs slightly above the CPS average, around the same as nearby Peirce Elementary.  Passages appears to have a higher African American population (50%) compared to surrounding schools, and a higher low income student body.  Should the community be opposing any and all charters?  Does it matter when they’re small?  Is this a threat to Senn (and Lake View and Amundsen?)

By Benjamin Woodard on November 22, 2013 9:59am | Updated on November 22, 2013 9:59am

EDGEWATER — Ald. Harry Osterman and Senn High School’s principal oppose an Edgewater charter school’s proposal to offer high school classes in the neighborhood, saying it’ll harm progress made by neighborhood schools.

“We have a college-prep school that serves our diverse community in Edgewater — and that’s called Senn High School,” Osterman (48th) said at a public meeting Thursday about Passages Charter School’s plan to add high school classes beginning next fall. “We don’t need a charter school. we don’t need another high school in Edgewater. We have one.”

Osterman said Senn’s success in recent years has led to a resurgence in support for public education in the neighborhood.

Senn Principal Susan Lofton, who has largely been credited with leading the transformation at Senn, said a new charter high school could jeopardize what’s been gained so far.

“There are ways to deliver curriculum and ways to get people to produce — and the neighborhood school can do it,” she said. “Senn’s been in this community 100 years. And we’ll be here another 100 years because we were built to last.”

But Passages Principal Nicole Feinberg, who has led the pre-kindergarten through 8th-grade charter school at 1643 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. for the past five years, said she doesn’t want to compete with area high schools.

“We’re not looking to be a Senn, an Amundsen or a Lake View,” she said, adding that if the Board of Education does approve its application in January, it would add one grade per year. Passages is “a small community environment. We’re not looking to be a big neighborhood school.”

She said no more than 240 students would be admitted into the high school grade levels. This year, the school has a total of 433 students, according to CPS data.

“Our parents are really looking forward to it,” she said. “It’s a growing community.”

Feinberg also said the school would replace what was lost when St. Gregory the Great, directly next door, closed last year. The Catholic high school had 92 students at the time.

But Osterman and other opponents — including ONE Northside, an activist group that organized the meeting Thursday — say any type of competition will drain money from neighborhood schools.

“I’m going to fight to make sure that that high school does not open,” Osterman said. “Adding Passages [high] school is a distraction in this community, and it takes money away from Senn.”

Passages is in fact located in Ald. Pat O’Connor‘s 40th Ward. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

James Morgan, the former chairman of now-shuttered Trumbull Elementary School, encouraged the community to support its neighborhood schools.

“Just like the community rallied around Trumbull to keep us open, we need to do that now to make sure nothing happens to Senn,” he said.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Lincoln Elementary’s new annex met with neighborhood opposition (and that’s a nice way of putting it) Change in test scores allowed from private schools for SEHS

59 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cpsobsessed  |  November 23, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Other north side private options I was discussing with some friends last night that will be ready next year+

    Lycee Francais high school IB program open to non french speakers. I’m sure this will be a very rigourous college-focused curriculum

    Beacon Montessori HS opening in Evanston. A friend of mine toured the facilty, skeptical because it’s in downtown Evanston, but said it was very impressive and the space is really nice, kind of like a cool techy office space.

    Of course both are $$$.

  • 2. NW side mom  |  November 23, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    I don’t understand why a charter school would take money from a neighborhood school. Can anyone out there clarify?

  • 3. cpsobsessed  |  November 23, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Well, with the per student funding, students “take” money with them. If the area neighborhood schools lose 60 kids a year to passages, that is theoretically less $ for the non-charters.

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  • 4. NW side mom  |  November 23, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Though if the charter has different stats than Senn, they are theoretically taking kids from outside Senn’s area. And charters can draw from outside neighborhood boundaries, so less pulling from Senn’s population. I have mixed feelings about charter schools, but I do think it is good for parents and students to have more than one choice. In a general sense, I believe competition to be a healthy thing. However, when taking into account the realities of CPS funding, it admittedly can take on a very different dimension.

  • 5. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Senn is really coming along and doing well as are the other 2 schools, I would hate to see a charter come in and siphon their money. Sure they want to get Passage wants to say they are taking St. Gregory kids, but they aren’t taking their Catholic money~they are being funded by PUBLIC funds and going into to private hands.

  • 6. Angie  |  November 23, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    @5. SoxSideIrish4: “Senn is really coming along and doing well as are the other 2 schools, I would hate to see a charter come in and siphon their money. ”

    If Senn is doing so well, why would people go to charter instead?

    Senn seems to be changing for the better, but it is not there yet. Meanwhile, some kids need a good school now, not when and if Senn becomes one some time in the future.

    Parents of Passages kids who want this school are taxpayers, too, so why shouldn’t they have the right to choose a high school for their children?

  • 7. HS Mom  |  November 23, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    It seems between this and other recent news about schools receiving improvements we have turned into a pack of wild dogs pouncing on any crumb out there. It’s sad that any improvement, innovation, or attempt to better our learning environment is met with more than just resistance but out and out war.

  • 8. Veteran  |  November 23, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Very interesting comment section…..

  • 9. cpsobsessed  |  November 23, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Thanks @Veteran, good addition to this post about the Sun Times trying to get UNO records.
    this quote from that story is so true. Not lookin’ good to the public, UNO.

    “A forensic audit of the UNO Charter School is the most appropriate action to take. Unfortunately, every time UNO refuses to release public records of its expenditures of PUBLIC FUNDS, the entire UNO organization and every one of its school become more and more suspect.”

  • 10. pantherparent  |  November 23, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    @6 Angie People go because they equate “charter” with “better” whether backed up by data or not. I’m not looking to open the charter debate, but just stating a reason why many choose charters.

  • 11. Angie  |  November 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    @10. pantherparent: ” People go because they equate “charter” with “better” whether backed up by data or not.”

    So what? It is their right, and they may have their reasons for doing so. Maybe they like the strict discipline code at Noble, or the innovative curriculum at Quest. Besides, CPS is cracking down on the underperforming charters, and is going to close the ones that don’t show improvement.

  • 12. BL  |  November 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Senn also refuses to enroll newcomer and refugee students as they are seen as “detrimental” to their graduation and testing rates, so these students are pushed to Sullivan, who is overwhelmed already with these populations. The refugees/newcomers are also encouraged to transfer as they are not yet prepared to do IB work. I know because I work in Central Office in an office that handles these complaints often. Passages is wonderful at working with refugee/newcomer students, much more so than most of the CPS schools in Rogers Park and Edgewater (minus Swift, New Field, Armstrong, and Hayt). I am not a charter proponent, but I would prefer to have these children attending Passages because I know they will have a staff dedicated to helping students achieve.

  • 13. StudentMom  |  November 23, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    I honestly do not understand why the STATS of “African American Poor People” would be the predominant “Class” of students at this school Furthermore, if an African American Parent would wake up Early enought to take their child miles away to a Better School, what seems to be the problem? I also have a problem with “Great Schools” being in Highly Driven Tax Payors neighborhoods. Why ? The African American Household Pays Taxes, owns homes like everyone else yet their taxes are going towards Great Schools in Other Neighborhoods. Why is this ? Because the Taxes are higher ? Well if you all would pass on Goverment and Tax Funded Jobs to Everyone and not just your friends and family and their children in this “Entitiled and yet so Corrupt” City, These African American Households could afford to live in your neighborhood and allow their children to just Walk to school like your children are able to. I’m deeply offended by your “By the way, they are BLACK and do not live among us” Voice because not everyone is poor, not everyone is gang banging, thieves, on section 8 or anything else but choose not to be the black ball in the huge bubble. And by the way, I consider myself African American with an White/French Grandmother. those little “Words” are very clear and in case you haven’t noticed, may people did learn to read, get formally educated and want their children to live an American Dream even if it isn’t the ENTITLED ONE that you were given!

  • 14. Angie  |  November 23, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    @12. BL: Wait a minute. I thought Senn was a neighborhood school, required to accept anyone who lived in the attendance area. Are you telling us that they are (gasp!) counseling the students out, which is like the biggest crime that charters are usually accused of?

  • 15. anonymouse teacher  |  November 23, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Regarding #12’s post. I don’t believe this is true information by someone who “works in central office”.

  • 16. anonymouse teacher  |  November 23, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Its awfully hard for me to believe that Susan Lofton would allow Senn to turn away students who live in the attendance boundary. She’s been running interference down at the red line on a regular basis with staff members between the bangers and her students to ensure her students can get to school safely. She’s been actively working with the community to ensure the few knuckleheads don’t do stupid things like vandalize property, etc. Principals like THAT do that for one reason only. Sheer dedication. Those aren’t the kind of principals who tell refugee kids they can’t come to their school. Perhaps the students trying to enroll were out of the boundary, perhaps they didn’t understand the application process, but blatantly kept out or counseled? I don’t think so. The accusation doesn’t gel with any single other piece of information I am aware of regarding Senn or Ms. Lofton.

  • 17. IB obsessed  |  November 23, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    As someone who lives in the Senn neighborhood, it does not ring true with me either, anonymouse teacher. I talk to the Etresian and Myamar immigrant kids walking by my place on their way to Senn in the morning. Anyone who has been to the Senn International Night can tell you about the amazing array of nationalities represented at the school. 50 something in total. Any student from the neighborhood who is serious about learning is welcome, is the consistent message coming from the Senn administration.

  • 18. IB obsessed  |  November 23, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Angie, Asian Human Services which sponsors the Passages charter in Edgewater will outsource the management of the proposed HS to American Quality Schools. AQS is an educational management company with a dismal record in fiscal management and academic performance. All of their secondary schools in Indiana have received poor grades on academic achievement. They have managed other schools in Chicago with poor results. This why we oppose an AQS charter in Edgewater.

    I judge charters on a case by case basis. I have volunteered at a charter that I believe is worthwhile. Why do you automatically champion charters without knowing the specifics of their performance? If the neighborhood school has community support and is on the upswing why divert resources from it to a new school? i

    Regarding your remark that Senn “is not there yet”, I will most likely pass up LPHS IB and send my child to Senn due to the impressive and dedicated Senn faculty I have talked to. The United Nations student body is the ideal lab for IB, and you don’t get that at LPHS. The average (not median) IB ACT at Senn is 22. I had dinner tonight with people from NW suburbs whose zoned HS has the same average ACT. They are not concerned that this HS is not good enough for their high achieving kids, and are confident that they will continue to excel, given all their socio-economic advantages. I think the same for mine.

  • 19. OTdad  |  November 24, 2013 at 12:06 am

    @13. StudentMom:
    “I also have a problem with “Great Schools” being in Highly Driven Tax Payors neighborhoods. Why ?The African American Household Pays Taxes, owns homes like everyone else yet their taxes are going towards Great Schools in Other Neighborhoods. Why is this ?”

    CPS funding is per student basis. If two schools have similar number of students, they get similar amount of money. Race, neighborhood, rich, poor… don’t matter. Probably poor neighborhoods will get money from rich ones, not the other way around.

    What makes a “Great School”? It has a lot to do with the quality of the students, or the quality of parents who raised those kids, not the facility. Basically, we cannot just build “Great Schools” without “Great Students”.

  • 20. Counterpoint for discussion  |  November 24, 2013 at 2:00 am

    It’s a great idea if you are in the charter school business, but a bad idea if you are pro union, pro public funding going to public institutions, or pro integration rather than separation.

  • 21. Veteran  |  November 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Please read the article and the following comments.

  • 22. Jones  |  November 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    As shared under hs posts, Noble Muchin speaker mentioned Noble May be opening a high school on Northside next year. I wonder if it would be in Taft attendance boundary as Many families would like a nearby option other than Taft or paying for private schools. Nothing other than Taft around these parts. The attendance boundary for Taft is HUGE.

  • 23. cpsobsessed  |  November 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Does anyone know where to find an attendance boundary map? I can’t find that online anywhere.

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  • 24. cpsobsessed  |  November 24, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Oh wait, I see it. On the school locator you have to search by address, then select a school. As far as I can tell you can’t do it by just searching for the school by name.

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  • 25. cpsobsessed  |  November 24, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Ok, last update, need to scroll so the mouse is over the school name for the boundary to show up.

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  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  November 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Wow, that Taft area IS really big and oddly shaped. Didn’t realize the school is so big (over 3000.)

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  • 27. Jones  |  November 24, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Yes. The free option is CICS Northtown. Not to many options around for those who want to stay in area and not go to Taft or private.

  • 28. pantherparent  |  November 24, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    @25 CPSO Taft has gotten very big and overcrowded. Rumor has it that are going to build an annex where the baseball field is. Then they are going to build a baseball stadium on the roof and play up there.

  • 29. Jones  |  November 24, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Haven’t heard that rumor. Think annex will make school less attractive for those who already find it lacking. Ib program giving people hope but annex and growing without good results first not ideal.

  • 30. HS Mom  |  November 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    @28 you obviously haven’t been over to the Lincoln Park discussion lately 😉

  • 31. IB obsessed  |  November 24, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    CPSO, I tried to post a comment last night that included info on American Quality Schools, the company that would be managing the proposed Passages HS in Edgewater. Immediately after submitting it, I received a message that my comment is “awaiting moderation”, and it still has not appeared here. Why would that be? I wasn’t aware any comments were subject to moderation before appearing here. Is there a rule about this?

  • 32. local  |  November 24, 2013 at 9:13 pm


    Trouble in Pill Hill
    The effect of gangs on a middle-class South Side family

  • 34. cpsobsessed  |  November 24, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    @IB obsessed, there is an auto system that puts some comments into mod, I think if there are 2 links or more. Sometimes 1 link seems to set it off as spam, which may have happened as I didn’t get an “awaiting moderation” email on it. I will check when I am back on the laptop. Thanks for letting me know!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • […] Proposed Passage Charter HS for the north side CPSO: Should the community be opposing any and all charters?  Does it matter when they’re small?  Is this a threat to Senn (and Lake View and Amundsen?) […]

  • 36. Mom  |  December 2, 2013 at 9:21 am

    As a mom in Edgewater, and one who has been eagerly watching and awaiting the improvements to Senn HS, this potentially new charter is silly. If folks in the neighborhood don’t like Senn, sure send your kid somewhere else but don’t take public funds if you don’t like the public school. You can go to numerous other places. Ms Lofton has made huge positive changes happen at Senn and anything that threatens that is a negative in my humble opinion. Plus, there is also a public naval academy there in the building to spice things up as well. There are other already functioning public HS’s in the area (Lakeview, etc.) that also offer a decent education, go there. There is no need for another ‘public’ choice to siphon public funds away from any of these places either especially when the new comer is really not that much better in the long run. If it was leaps and bounds an improvement, I might be swayed but a point or two is negligible and probably a statistical burp.

    Furthermore, the allegations that students were inappropriately turned away from Senn, seems to me, a total fabrication/misunderstanding as the school is completely integrated and multi-ethnic and CELEBRATES this fact all over the place. Most prominently on their website front and center.

    Senn is encouraging the community to become involved. I’ve been in that building numerous times in the last year for events and concerts, etc. Free and open to the public. Next week YoYoMa will be there. It’s like having a festival center near by. Will Passages be doing this? I think not. Plus if it’s part of the Asia society, they have a mission to ASIANS right? What about everyone else? What sort of focus is there going to be towards the needs of non-asians? Etc. It just seems all so un-necessary. Isn’t it the charters who ultimately pick and choose their student body, not the neighborhood schools who are legally required to take anyone within their boundaries?

    Maybe I’m emotional because as a mom of a 5th grader, the HS thing is already eating away at my soul. I don’t want to freak out my kid with all the pressure of testing anymore than it has. I want my kid to ride his bike to Senn and anything that may threaten the continued upswing of this school is seen as suspicious by me and my neighbors.

  • 37. Counterpoint for discussion  |  December 2, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Regarding your remark that Senn “is not there yet”, I will most likely pass up LPHS IB and send my child to Senn due to the impressive and dedicated Senn faculty I have talked to. The United Nations student body is the ideal lab for IB, and you don’t get that at LPHS. The average (not median) IB ACT at Senn is 22. I had dinner tonight with people from NW suburbs whose zoned HS has the same average ACT. They are not concerned that this HS is not good enough for their high achieving kids, and are confident that they will continue to excel, given all their socio-economic advantages. I think the same for mine
    If you really think Senn is a good fit for your child, than your child must be a good fit for Senn. Based upon your own words “given all their socio-economic advantages. I think the same for mine”; than good luck with your rich kid in a school that has real “hood” issues. I don’t want to see a good kid fail with life issues at a young age, so please reconsider.

  • 38. IBobsessed  |  December 2, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Upon what FACTS about Senn, not preconceptions, are you basing this advice Counterpoint?

    FYI. My child is middle class, with college educated parents and a literacy rich home. She is a motivated student who enjoys learning.

  • 39. IBobsessed  |  December 2, 2013 at 11:47 am

    P.S. Do you live in the suburbs? Perhaps you should consider moving there if you have an aversion to dealing with any and all “hood issues”.

  • 40. averagemom  |  December 2, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    The Asia society is not to support asians. It is an international program to learn about asian societies and build a global perspective. Ogden uses the Asia society and IB together for an international education. The asia society requires the school to offer an asian language, but doesn’t require all students study it.

  • 41. HS Mom  |  December 2, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Walter Payton is also a member of the Asia Society. It’s also about exchange programs throughout the world, not just Asia.

  • 42. peirce parent  |  December 2, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Asia Society and Asian Human Services Inc. (AHS) are two different groups.

    AHS which sponsors Passages School is a social service agency.

  • 43. HS Mom  |  December 2, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Oh….yes I see that in a post now. Big difference. Does this group actually perform a function that could be beneficial or are they the go-between?

  • 44. AvilleMom  |  December 3, 2013 at 7:49 am

    @36 Could not agree with you more Edgewater Mom. Community groups and our local politicians have worked so hard to nurture Senn working closely with the dynamic and dedicated principal. I’ve watched closely as my 6th grader inches closer to high school as well. As the mom of a first grader I said there was no way in &%*#* Senn was a high school option, now it is a possibility. Also in the area, Amundsen, is making great changes and becoming another option for Northsiders. Why should our children be shuttled 5 to 7 miles away every day, or spend hours of their already overscheduled days on the CTA?

    Keep the momentum going at Senn and Amundsen…..A charter school here is just not needed. Just because a building sits empty does not mean a school has to fill it.

  • 45. educator  |  December 3, 2013 at 9:42 am

    It doesn’t matter if Asian Human Services is a good provider/operator of Passages Charter. They ARE NOT operating the high school. It is being contracted out to “American Quality Schools” and that name is a misnomer based on their track record. Why would CPS allow this charter operator to open another school with its current statistics. I thought the district was “data-driven”? Also this charter high school is unneeded in a neighborhood that is underenrolled in its current high schools. Any and all public funds should be given to Lakeview, Amundsen and Senn which are neighborhood high schools who take all students within boundaries and are all improving with dynamic principals and a variety of programs to fit many types of students.

  • 46. cpsobsessed  |  December 3, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Where are scores/data available on the American Quality Schools? Are there others in chicago?

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  • 47. educator  |  December 3, 2013 at 10:25 am

    If you read the above linked article in post #18, you can get the info. AQS was the operator of Austin Business Academy (inside Austin high school) and some other schools, but did not renew the charters in 2011. AQS currently operates two charter schools in CPS – Plato Learning School (Level 3 on probation) which is K-7 with dismal ISAT scores and Passages (Level 1). Passages though its Level 1 does no better (and is usually lower on test scores) than all of the neighborhood schools that surround it who take all students in their boundaries (Peirce, Hayt, Goudy, Swift, Chappell). Most of the students that enroll in Passages come from Uptown where the school was originally located when it opened (it moved into St. Gregory’s building a few years ago). AQS has no record of a successful high school. In the article, the president of AQS said they were getting out of the business of high schools to concentrate on elementary schools. AQS also lost their bid to operate 5 other elementary schools in 2011 (CICS took away five charters from AQS and gave them to two other operators). AQS has an equally unimpressive record in Indiana. Why would the families of Edgewater want more of this at taxpayer expense?

  • 48. IBobsessed  |  December 3, 2013 at 11:19 am

    If Senn actually wanted to turn away “newcomer and refugee students”, then principal Lofton would welcome this charter, not oppose it. She would eagerly funnel student over there, because Passage states that it is “focused specifically on the needs of immigrant and refugee students.”

  • 49. Family Friend  |  December 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    I know a great deal about Passages, and I would love to see it continue through high school. Almost four years ago, my daughter, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Francophone Africa, was asked to tutor the mom in a family of refugees from the Republic of the Congo. The refugee agency offered English classes for adults, but the day care program could not accommodate the family’s youngest daughter, who is profoundly disabled. The two older children were enrolled in the neighborhood elementary school. A couple of months later, my daughter called: “Mom, do you know of a charter school where these kids could go? They have been in school almost two months and the administration has not even sent in the paperwork requesting ELL support. They are not learning anything.” As it happens, I did know of a school. Passages, which is chartered to Asian Human Services, was founded to serve the needs of immigrant and refugee children. Not only is it more diverse than neighborhood schools, with more students living below the poverty level,it has a very sizable proportion of ELL students. For refugees like my proteges, Asian Human Services provides school fees, uniforms, and transportation, as well as after school programming.

    We visited, and the children were enrolled. The older child, a girl who is now a sophomore in high school, became amazingly proficient in English in about six weeks, a function of her own intelligence and Passages’ outstanding ELL program. Her younger brother, now in 6th grade, struggled — and it was Passages staff who realized it was more than a language problem. He is dyslexic, and will struggle with reading, in any language, for the rest of his life. But he is bright, and Passages’ special ed team has crafted an IEP that has really helped him with reading, while emphasizing his strengths, especially math, and helping him deal with the frustration of not being able to read very well. Plus, they continue with ELL support. He is a wonderful, happy, kid and I love spending time with him.

    A couple of years later a friend from Kyrgystan asked if I would sponsor her daughter and her family, who had won the “green card lottery” (yes, that’s what they call it). The family’s older daughter, five, complained after a trip to the park, “Mama, why can’t I speak English? All the other children speak English, but I speak only Kyrgysz and Russian.” I recommended Passages, and within two months of starting kindergarten, this bright child was not only speaking English, but reading English. Her younger brother is now in kindergarten at Passages and is doing very well.

    Would I love to see my young dyslexic friend continue at Passages for high school? You bet! I have been very worried — at some point his parents will no longer be able to care for his younger sister, who requires full time nursing support. If he cannot make his own way, his older sister will be responsible for both of them.

    Other than that, I have seen the staff at Passages work really hard to raise the performance of every student. Students may start out with educational deficits, but by the time they reach eighth grade, they are studying a tough curriculum.

    The discussion on this post has centered on the political impact of a small charter high school in Edgewater, and not on the well-being of the children it serves. Yes, we owe a good education to all of our children, but we also owe a good education to each of our children. Passages serves a very important role for immigrants and refugees, and I support it wholeheartedly.

  • 50. Family Friend  |  December 8, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    P.S. AQS operates Passages’ elementary school. In general, I am not a fan of AQS, but Principal Nicole Feinberg is exceptional. Her tenure at Passages has been an upward arc.

  • 51. Veteran  |  December 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Our neighborhood school does very well with ELL students and the class size is 32+. It is very well known in education circles that if a child is bright he/she will learn English quickly with or without ELL services. If the child has had prior eduction in the native country it certainly is a help-some children come to America with no prior schooling, some come already speaking English because it is taught as a second language in the native country and those who come with unaddressed learning issues do struggle and teachers have to fight to get evaluations/services.

  • 52. anonymouse teacher  |  December 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    70% of our bilingual/ESL staff was cut by the state this summer at my school. We had a great program before that. The one remaining teacher told me he expects his position will be cut this coming year along with all the other expected cuts again.

  • 53. Counterpoint for discussion  |  December 13, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    How about a thread about LSC elections. Which LSC’s are a mess, and which are great? That is a big driver as to which schools are headed in the right directions.

  • 54. cpsobsessed  |  December 17, 2013 at 11:03 am

    DNA has an update on this.

    I was curious about the community group they mention in the story. WANT (or West Andersonville Neighbors Together) is a 2 square block area that has the Passages school inside the area. It’s also sometimes difficult to determine how representative of a neighborhood a community group is. Press picks up on things and makes it sounds like a whole community is outraged. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t… it’s just hard to determine.

  • 55. local  |  December 18, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    @ 53. Counterpoint for discussion | December 13, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    I’d like to know more about the LSC elections and timeline.

  • 56. ravenswood  |  December 20, 2013 at 10:05 am

    @cpsobsessed: I’m on the board of WANT. WANT has as members about 150 households in the direct area of the school. I would say the DNAInfo piece overstated the degree of outrage (“blasts” was a bit strong), and it didn’t mention one of our main objections, which is there is currently a significant traffic issue caused by the elementary school, which can only be worsened by the addition of more students (and students who may be driving to school to boot); the traffic situation has given rise to many complaints from residents, and Passages doesn’t have a parking or traffic plan to account for the proposed expansion.

    We had an open meeting with about fifty members present, and no one spoke in favor of the proposal. All voted against support, save two abstentions. Other local residents who couldn’t attend the meeting have also expressed their opposition to us, and, while I’m sure there are people in the neighborhood who support the proposed expansion, we haven’t heard from them. So I think the position is representative (though, again, while some people are quite upset about the proposal, the overall tone is not quite as firebrand-ish as the DNAInfo piece made out). Certainly it’s more representative of community opinion than what Passages has mustered as community support in its RFP, which appears to be mostly support from parents with children at the school. That’s valid, but it doesn’t really check the “outside community support” box on the RFP.

  • 57. Mayfair Dad  |  January 6, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    I have heard Noble is actively shopping for high school locations on the Northwest side but wants to avoid another Prosser situation (i.e. opening in a location too close to a neighborhood high school, which only serves to antagonize and organize the community against Noble.) One of the parcels under consideration is the Sunstar headquarters building on Foster Avenue near the expressway.The building is quietly up for sale as the company seeks a new headquarters address in the suburbs. There are many advantages to this location, including great accessibility and reducing overcrowding at Taft. So far the alderwitch is mum on the negotiations, although she will do as she is told when Rahm makes his preference known. I anticipate Noble announcing their intentions during the next batch of CPS charter expansion faux-hearings.

  • 58. LUV2Europe  |  January 6, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    57 i’m fine with new charters…at least give them a chance. I’m also paying for private hs because i live in tier 4.

  • 59. rick  |  February 11, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Charters help public schools for the same reason a Walmart in the area makes prices at other stores cheaper, and a Whole Foods in the area results in other stores carrying more organic food and providing better checkout service.

    Separately, I don’t understand the argument that charters shouldn’t open if that means less funding for other public schools. Are children means, or ends? If you want money for your kids, should you take mine hostage until I pay?

    Opposition to charters is a union thing. Public employee unions think a bad teacher’s job is more important than education.

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