Parents, teachers and students protest at Piccolo

by AustinTalks on December 13, 2011

Dozens of students, parents and teachers marched around Piccolo Elementary Specialty School after the dismissal bell rang last Friday, protesting the Chicago Public Schools’ plans to re-staff the school and turn it over to an outside non-profit to run, WBEZ reported.

“Some of us have been at this school since we’re little,” 13-year-old Yshanda Hudson told WBEZ. “We want our teachers to stay. We don’t want new teachers. We don’t want new lunchroom people. We want the same people.”

Piccolo’s current principal, the second in a row to be appointed by CPS, has only been in place since the summer. Parents and students said they’re seeing improvements in attendance, student discipline and parent involvement.

But CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard has said sometimes school employees just don’t gel.

And Mayor Rahm Emanuel has declared himself a “zealot” for the Academy for Urban School Leadership, the nonprofit slated to manage Piccolo and nine others by next fall. The homegrown group has won national attention for taking over some of Chicago’s worst-performing schools.

A recent WBEZ analysis shows that of the 12 schools AUSL has taken over, six are considered Level 3 performers, the lowest ranking. Four are performing at Level 2, and two AUSL turnarounds are scoring at Level 1. All the schools were at one time among the lowest-performing in the district.

To read the rest of WBEZ’s story, click here.

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