Smith said Gompers is the only fine arts elementary school remaining on the Southeast Side of Chicago.
“My participation in these programs transformed me from a shy girl into someone with a unique and distinct voice,” Smith told CPS officials at the meeting. “It is my hope that other children can experience the sensational opportunities available at Gompers.”
Although it is underutilized according to CPS’s space formula with its current enrollment of 244 students, that formula does not take into account the fact that it has two art teachers and two music teachers. Gompers also has a Sankofa Room, a dedicated space for an African-American heritage museum on its main floor.
Closing Owens into Gompers would more than double the enrollment by adding 329 students; the resulting enrollment of 573 would be 27% larger than the ideal enrollment for the building of 450. If all Gompers’ and Owens’ current special education students were at the new consolidated Gompers, there would be about 80 special education students. The class size limits for special education students are far smaller than CPS’s ideal of 30 students per class, so in fact, Gompers would be even more crowded than the 27% larger than ideal figure takes into account.
The school’s partnership with a scientist at the Steady Grow Pro company led to the establishment of a garden in 2011. The Chicago Children’s Choir has an In-School program at Gompers.