Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced a new charter school for Grand Crossing while closing another one in Washington Park. CPS said the Architectural Construction and Engineering Technical Charter High School will shutter at the end of the school year due to “poor academic performance.”
Art in Motion, operated by Distinctive Schools, was selected to provide more arts education to high schoolers on the South Side, “providing families with a performing arts school that leverages personalized learning curriculum and rigorous instruction.”
“To ensure students receive the high quality education they deserve, CPS is recommending closure of a poor performing charter, as well as opening a high quality school to meet demand for a performing arts education in the Greater Grand Crossing area,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “Our priority is ensuring that schools deliver a high quality education and meet a need in the community, and we are confident these decisions are in the best interest of our students.”
The clout-heavy team includes Pastor John F. Hannah With New Life Covenant Church, a one-time member of the city’s Human Relations Board, the Lynn Group, a nonprofit operated by rapper Common, and Whole Foods. Hannah was a member of the city’s 2012 school-closing commission and his church. Since then, his church has purchased several city-owned lots, including the site where the new charter school will be built.
Art in Motion’s application offered two potential sites on opposite ends of Grand Crossing Park for the new middle and high school, grade seven through 12.
One is 7600 S. Greenwood Ave., formerly city-owned land the church purchased in 2013 to build a 100,000-square foot mega church with a 4,000‐seat performing arts center, and gallery space. The other option is sharing space at Hirsch Metropolitan High School.
Pending approval by the Board of Education on Monday, the school would open during the 2018-19 academic year with full capacity by 2022-23.
CPS issued a request for proposals for new school operators in December of 2016. [Details of the RFP]. Though nine proposals had been submitted, seven withdrew their application before Thursday’s decision. The completed application from Chicago Classical Academy was denied.