On Feb. 13, 2013, Logan Square’s Brentano Elementary Math & Science Academy (2723 N. Fairfield Ave.) was identified by Chicago Public School’s (CPS) Board of Education as one of the schools under consideration to close at the end of the year. Closing the
PreK-12PreK-8 school means longer commutes and a higher ratio of students to teachers at nearby schools, and poses a burden to Logan Square parents.
CPS has taken an assertive approach to close schools that fit its Underutilized Formula (a formula detailing the ideal amount of students a school should have).
When school officials and the community learned the 122-year-old Brentano met CPS’s criteria for school closing, they decided to launch an aggressive defense strategy to keep the school open including a 13-page booklet, which outlines a five-year plan, recent test score gains and new programs.
Friends of Brentano, an affiliated group to the school, has been busy in introducing the school to new parents in the neighborhood. The group is already hosting a weekly playgroup for dozens of toddlers.
CPS officials have held a number of public hearings to hear public comment on school closings. At the last of the hearings for Brentano, held on Feb. 28 at the Armitage Progressive Baptist Church (4639 W. Armitage Ave.), parents, teachers and students testified on behalf of the school, explaining the neighborhood’s need.
Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the CEO of CPS, will release the final list of schools to close on March 31 that will be sent to the Board for a vote. By law, the vote has to be taken 60 days after the CEO recommends which schools to close.
According to a Chicago Tribune article, political clout has played a role on the district’s final decision in the past. Many area aldermen have already spoken on behalf of the schools in their ward this year and influenced the school list.
With changing demographics, families need a neighborhood school that boasts strong academic programs. Considering the competitive education landscape in Chicago, a school with promise can contribute to a growing community. To voice your support for Brentano, visit www.friendsofbrentanoschool.org.
Editor’s note 3/10/2013: To be clear, Brentano is on the list, among a number of other Chicago schools, under consideration for closing. This consideration list will be announced at the end of March.
Editor’s note 3/17/2013: Brentano teaches grades PreK-8. We previously stated the grades were PreK-12.
Photo: Jesse Buendia