First opened in 1905, Horatio May is considered underutilized by CPS’s calculations, but as community school site, the YMCA uses part of two of May’s buildings for programming:

“Because the YMCA ceased recreation and programming at its former facility at Central and Race, Austin could potentially and totally lose the valued resources the YMCA provides.”

And May has a huge array of its own enrichment and after school programming as well. (See below for details.)

CPS’s proposed plan would add Leland and Armstrong Schools to May, almost doubling the number of students at May to 730.  Leland’s principal would run the building; a dramatic change from the 200 student preK to 3rd grade current state of Leland to a school four times the size that includes 4th-8th graders as well.

May is a school with strong relationships and low faculty turnover.  Teacher-student relationships bridge across grade levels.  Teachers know the whole student body, not just the kids in their classroom, and young students look forward to specific teachers in the upper grades.  With May being the school subject to the closing action, all these long-term relationships will be severed because all May faculty and staff will be fired without guarantee of working at May when it is reopened as “Leland.”

This includes teachers like Asif Wilson (see his amazing science class blog here) who was planning to spend his entire teaching career at this school:

Asif Wilson, a 7th and 8th grade science teacher at May, said Thursday was the only day he walked into the school without a smile. “Fox News reported the night before, with a picture of my school, that I would be losing my job,” said Wilson. But Wilson said he walked out of the school Thursday with a smile because his students cheered him up. “My students demonstrated to me verbally, in written form, mathematically and scientifically, that they are the future of tomorrow and that I shouldn’t be upset because I am a great teacher,” he said. Wilson’s biggest concern with the school closing is whether he can return to teach his students, whom he considers to be like his own children.”

And Abigail Weber, who was recently recognized by the Dolores Kohl Education Foundation as an outstanding teacher in CPS for her achievements in education.

Nicole Zumpano, a 2011 Chicago Foundation for Education Teacher of the Year, taught at May for 20 years. She describes her experience as the closing of May was announced and carried out here.

Find May on

Ongoing Community Partnerships at May:

Old Town School of Folk Music
African Dance Teaching Artist
African Drumming Teaching Artist
Guitar Instructor

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic (5 years)
Jazz Band – teaching artists and sectional teachers
Drumline – teaching artist
University of Illinois Summer Jazz Camp – 2 weeks at UIC

Joffrey Ballet (4 years)
5-8th: Joffrey Middle School Dance Club
Joffrey Summer Dance Clinic 4 weeks
Joffrey Saturday Dance Extension Program – during school year
Tickets to 3 Joffrey performances per year
Professional Development

Lyric Opera (5 years)
4th: opera presentation with musicians and teaching artists
Lyric Opera Backstage Tour
6-8th: Lyric Opera Teen Program
Professional Development

Chicago Children’s Theater (3 years)
3-6th: Classroom sets of Books
1-8th: Tickets and transportation to various plays
Teaching artist classroom visits

Roosevelt University (1 year), 6th
Too Hot To Handel performance

Little Kids Rock (5 years)
Classroom set of acoustic guitars
Drum Kit, electric guitars
Professional Development
Curriculum, online teacher collaborations, many resources

It’s Cool To Be Smart (2 years), 4-8th
Tutoring and Enrichment Services
High School Preparation
Academic Competitions
Parent Outreach
College Tours

YMCA: Community Schools (3 years), K-8th
Tutoring and Enrichment Services
Academics: Homework Help, Scholastic Competition
Arts: Dance (ballroom and hip-hop), Drama, Crafts
Parent Programming: Adler School of Psychology and Westside Health Authority

Fathers Who Care (5 years), 6-8th
Male Mentoring
Father / Son outings

Teen Reach (4 years), K-8th
After School Programming: Enrichment activities

Passages Youth Enrichment Program (1 year), 2-8th
After School Programming: Academics, Drama, Arts and Mentoring

Chicago Cares: (1 year), 1-4th
After School Programming: Academics activities

Move N Crunch (1 year), 4th
Health Education

Chicago Run: (3 years), K-3rd
Promotes active lifestyle
Encourages good attendance

Suzuki “Clap, Sing and Read” (4 years), K-3rd
Promotes literacy through music and repetition

Museum of Science and Industry: (4 years), 5-8th
PD and resources
Skype with NASA astronauts – Mars Study

Lincoln Park Zoo (2 years), 7-8th
Young Researchers Collaborative

Columbia College Chicago (2 years)
TEAM partnership


One thought on “May

  1. Pingback: Closing schools, cutting resources - Newstips by Curtis Black

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