Education

Chicago Board To Request Proposals for Small Schools

By Ann Bradley — September 27, 1995 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The new managers of the Chicago school system will issue requests for proposals this week to open small schools and strengthen those already operating in the city.

Creating small schools is a priority of the system’s board of trusteessic, which endorsed the strategy last month in a formal resolution.

In appointing the trustees and the corporate-style management team that began governing the system this summer, Mayor Richard M. Daley also backed the creation of small schools.

Although Chicago teachers and reform advocates have set up some 40 small schools in 20 buildings, the district’s solicitation of plans for such schools marks the first time it has formally stepped forward to help them get off the ground.

“It’s been a long, long struggle,” said William C. Ayers, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago who has been active in opening small schools. “This is just one chapter in that struggle. I wouldn’t characterize it as the ultimate victory, but it’s a strong step in the right direction.”

Most of the small schools that have been founded in Chicago are elementary schools. High schools have proven harder to reorganize, Mr. Ayers noted.

One request for proposals calls for establishing a “small-schools multiplex” in the building that formerly housed Cregier High School, which closed recently. The site, on the West Side of Chicago, is expected to house five elementary schools with between 200 and 350 students each. These new schools are on a tight time line--classes would begin next February.

Another request calls more generally for bids to create small schools across the city and pledges to help them find space, link them with people who can provide assistance, provide planning grants, and make money available to make the physical changes necessary to give small schools an identity in large buildings. New schools opened as a result of the citywide bids would open next September.

25 New Schools Expected

John Ayers, the executive director of Leadership for Quality Education, a business-backed reform group that has pushed for small schools, and a brother of William Ayers, said he expects the system will create 25 small schools this academic year.

Small schools--with no more than about 350 elementary students and 500 secondary students--have been found to increase attendance rates and decrease violence and discipline problems. Both are major barriers to achievement in urban schools.

When organized properly, the schools also allow teachers to lead the way in developing curriculum, assessing students, and managing schools. What’s more, they provide nurturing environments for students, who are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning by adults who know them well.

Creating smaller schools also is one of the priorities of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a five-year $49.2 million effort to improve schools underwritten by the Annenberg Foundation.

A version of this article appeared in the September 27, 1995 edition of Education Week as Chicago Board To Request Proposals for Small Schools


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP
Education Massachusetts National Guard to Help With Busing Students to School
250 guard personnel will be available to serve as drivers of school transport vans, as districts nationwide struggle to hire enough drivers.
1 min read
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass. Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, activated the state's National Guard to help with busing students to school as districts across the country struggle to hire enough drivers.
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass.
Michael Dwyer/AP
Education FDA: ‘Very, Very Hopeful’ COVID Shots Will Be Ready for Younger Kids This Year
Dr. Peter Marks said he is hopeful that COVID-19 vaccinations for 5- to 11-year-olds will be underway by year’s end. Maybe sooner.
4 min read
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during a Senate health, education, labor, and pensions hearing to examine an update from federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19 on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 11, 2021. On Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, Marks urged parents to be patient, saying the agency will rapidly evaluate vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds as soon as it gets the needed data.
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during a Senate health, education, labor, and pensions hearing to examine an update from federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19 on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 11, 2021.
Jim Lo Scalzo/AP