West Side school to open with new name, staff

The Chicago Public Schools will unveil a new elementary school Tuesday on the West Side, despite a proposed boycott scheduled to begin the same day.

The Chicago Public Schools will unveil a new elementary school Tuesday on the West Side, despite a proposed boycott scheduled to begin the same day. Located in the Austin community, Morton School of Excellence, 431 N. Troy St., will open with 278 students, said Bridgete Altenburg, director of development for Academy for Urban School Leadership, a non-profit organization hired by CPS to manage four public schools, including Morton. Previously, the school was named Morton School and struggled academically for years. In 2007, over 98 percent of its students came from low-income families, and over 63 percent moved during the school year, according to AUSL. Additionally, over 32 percent of Morton’s students were truant in 2007, compared to a state average of 3 percent. Only 33 percent of the students met state standards in reading, and 26 percent met state standards in math last school year (compared to 54 percent and 62 percent state average). To help improve test scores this year, AUSL hired Connie Grimm-Grason as its new principal. She was assistant principal of Sherman School of Excellence, 1000 52nd St., the first turnaround school AUSL managed in Chicago. “The concept CPS uses when turning around a school is to scrap the staff and start over with a fresh crew,” said Altenburg. “We will open two more schools soon.” Many of the teachers are graduates of AUSL’s unique residency training program, Golden Apple winners or National Board Certified. The other two schools AUSL will open are the Harvard School of Excellence, 7525 S. Havard and the Howe School of Excellence, 720 N. Lorel. AUSL’s goal is to give all children an opportunity to attend a school with a solid academic offering. “We believe that every child deserves to attend a high performing school. Our organization uses a whole school transformation process,” said Don Feinstein, executive director of AUSL. “As a result, Morton students and families will have an opportunity to experience a newly rebirthed school, dedicated to providing the best education for each and every child who attends.” ______ Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. .

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