Douglass Academy LSC members want to talk with the district’s top leader

October 27, 2010
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Some members of Frederick Douglass Academy’s Local School Council made the trip Downtown Wednesday to request a meeting with Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman about their longtime principal who may be on her way out.

Misty Brown, a parent who serves on Douglass’ LSC, implored Huberman and the Chicago Board of Education to keep Principal Debra Crump.

“Dr. Crump has worked tirelessly,” Brown said at the board’s monthly meeting. “Select enrollment and magnet schools get the best students (from Austin.) We get who’s left over; one in four are special education students.”

But another LSC member, Catherine Jones, said she thinks Crump should be removed from her post at Douglass, 543 N. Waller St., because test scores haven’t improved and there need to be better programs.

“There needs to be a new administration; clean the whole slate,” Jones told the board.

In an interview afterwards, Jones, a community member on the LSC since 2003, said she understands that Crump’s last day at Douglass will be this Friday, Oct. 29. Brown said she learned last month that the principal had been asked to resign by November or face removal in January.

Crump could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

CPS officials declined to comment, though Huberman told Brown at Wednesday’s board meeting, “I commit to you to calling you personally.” He also promised that Chief Area Officer (26th) Rick Mills would arrange a meeting.

LSC members Jones and Brown both stressed that CPS needs to meet with the community to communicate what’s going on and to involve West Side residents as well as the local school council in the decision-making process.

“I’ve been at Douglass too many years to be disrespected, to not know what’s going on with this school,” Jones told the board.

Later in an interview, she said, “We want to be at the table” when a new principal is named for the 400-student school, which Jones said has shrunk from the more than 900 students it had five years ago.

Jones said she has spoken to Chief Area Officer Mills, who told her he wants to talk with members of the Douglass Local School Council. That’s what other Austin residents say they want.

Dwayne Truss, a local school council member at Ella Flagg Young School, said he attended Wednesday’s board meeting to lend his support to another Austin school and to make sure that CPS officials keep the community informed.

“I support Dr. Crump to the extent she gets due process,” Truss said.

He and other Austin residents say they don’t want to be kept in the dark like they were when the former Austin High School closed in 2007.

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