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Two CPS Charter Schools On The Move

The Chicago Board of Education is expected to approve July 22 the relocation and expansion of two charter schools.

The Chicago Math and Science Academy Charter School in Rogers Park and Henry Ford Academy Power House Charter High School in North Lawndale plan to relocate before September to larger facilities to accommodate students who are on charter school wait lists.

CPS Office of New Schools coordinator Elisa Botello said the increase will allow students on the wait list to enroll sooner than they would without the relocation. Illinois law allows for 30 charter schools to operate in Chicago, and approximately 13,000 Chicago public school children were on the waiting list, as of August 2008, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.

Botello said the relocations are recommended so these schools will have more space for curricular and extracurricular activities.

The Office of New School’s Renaissance 2010 program, launched by Mayor Richard Daley in 2004, was created to open 100 new schools in Chicago by 2010. As of fall 2008, CPS had opened 76 new schools.

Henry Ford Academy will move to 931 S. Homan Ave. in September. The new location in North Lawndale will be a Sears facility that closed in 1988.

Last year was the first year that Henry Ford Academy was open and it had  a freshman class of 112 students. While construction was underway for the future site, Henry Ford Academy rented the third floor from Holy Family Lutheran School located across the street.

“We got off the ground, which was the plan. The work that we’ve been doing from the beginning and through the summer will be to prepare for year two,” said Chris Reynolds, executive director of network development for Henry Ford Academy.

Reynolds said this coming school year will now include freshman and sophomore classes of close to 250 students, and in three years it will have a full high school of close to 450 students,  including last year’s freshman, which will be the first graduating class in the 2011-2012 school year.

Chicago Math and Science Academy, which opened in 2004, plans to relocate to a larger facility at  7202 N. Clark St. The middle and high school is currently located at 1709 W. Lunt Ave., four blocks  from the future site.

Last year, the teacher’s lounge was used as a classroom because of lack of space, said Botello.

The new building will allow Chicago Math and Science Academy to increase student enrollment from 525 students to 599 students. It will also include a music room, three new computer labs, a science lab and playground.

Students in the new schools have an 89.9 percent graduation rate compared with 73.4 percent at district schools. Attendance rates are higher too.  High school students at new schools have a 93.3 percent attendance rate compared with 86 percent at district high schools for the 2005-2006 school year, according to the Renaissance 2010’s Web site.

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