Teachers, parents, and friends of George Manierre Elementary School are having a Save Our School (SOS) meeting Friday, April 5th at 6pm at Manierre, 1420 N. Hudson Ave. The community hearings for Manierre will happen at Lincoln Park High School on April 10th and 15th.
Manierre is part of a study of early childhood math instruction. This program is funded by a prestigious $5 million Investing in Innovations (i3) grants from the Department of Education:
This five-year initiative will help high needs students reach or exceed state and national Common Core Standards for Mathematics (CCSM) and will create within-school math teaching expertise that will persist beyond the life of the project.
All teachers in grades pre-k through three in these schools are participating in ongoing learning labs at Erikson, receiving individual coaching around mathematics instruction and participating in Erikson coach-facilitated monthly math-focused meetings with other teachers in their grade level. Video is used to support coaching practices so teachers can observe and reflect on their own teaching. Online supports for teachers include extended access to training videos and teaching resources. Innovations also includes periodic Leadership Academy meetings, in which principals and assistant principals at the 8 schools come to Erikson to learn about what their teachers are studying.
Barbara Relerford, the head teacher at Ferguson Child-Parent Center, says the school has used its funding to offer full-day preschool and to hire an additional teacher, an assistant and a school-community liaison. “We are working on a resource book so parents can see what services are here in the community that we might not be aware of,” Relerford says. “One of my goals is to have [the liaison] make contacts with the neighborhood clinics and dental agencies and get those people to come in and talk to our parents.” She says that attendance, “which in the early grades is always a struggle,” has improved with the full day program. “Maybe [parents] make an extra effort now,” she says. “It allows them to go out, go to school and get a job.”
In the fall of 2011, Manierre received a $200K renovation from Target, as a part of Target’s Library Makeover Grant program. The renovation included the expansion and redo of the library, including the addition of 2,000 books and a parent corner for use by families, the conversion of a nearby classroom into a computer lab with computers, televisions, and iPads, and murals painted inside and outside the school. The library hadn’t been previously renovated since it was built in 1962.
Manierre is slated to be consolidated with Jenner School, but for decades there has been gang conflicts between the two schools:
“We’re dealing with a generational curse,” Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) said. “Some of these kid’s parents were killed by other kid’s parents. That’s the real stuff in that neighborhood.”
If Chicago Public School officials follow through with their plan to close Manierre, kids from a section of Old Town controlled by the Black P Stones and Conservative Vice Lords will be forced to cross Division Street into Gangster Disciples turf to attend Jenner.
And that’s a dangerous situation already.
“Kids don’t get along. The ones from Manierre can’t even cross the street. Every time they go over to Seward Park on the Jenner side they get beat up,” Burnett said. “You’ve got grandparents and parents who’ve got all this revenge stuff simmering, and it lives on with the kids.”
WBEZ is asking why CPS decided to move Manierre students to Jenner instead of another nearby school?
“Manierre is an interesting case, because it’s surrounded by higher performing schools, some of them magnets, among the best in the city. But instead of combining Manierre kids with them, and looking for a home where everyone could fit, the district is sending Manierre students to Jenner, another Cabrini Green school: 98 percent black. Jenner has slightly lower test scores than Manierre. People say Manierre and Jenner have been on opposite sides of gang lines for at least four decades.”
Although the Manierre student body is 99% low income, Manierre students raised $400 for victims of the earthquake in Haiti in 2011.