Decatur Local School Council. 7th & 8th Grade Committee Jill Martensen Kimberly Jockl Co-Chairs. The History. Decatur Classical School was established in 1978 and shared space with Boone Elementary School in the West Roger ’ s Park
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7th & 8th Grade Committee
Jill Martensen Kimberly Jockl
Decatur Classical School was established in 1978 and shared space with Boone Elementary School in the West Roger’s Park
neighborhood. Along with 4 other Classical elementary schools, Green Classical, as it was originally known,
was a 1-6 grade accelerated program designed to meet the needs of the desegregation. Green Classical quickly outgrew its
shared space at Boone Elementary and in 1979 was relocated to a primary school building located at 7030 N. Sacramento Ave
where it became Stephen Decatur Classical School.
In 1988 CPS added Kindergarten to all Classical Schools to give more students the opportunity to receive a Classical education.
The original design of all Classical School Programs was to feed directly to the Academic Center Programs at Whitney Young, Morgan Park, Kenmore Academy and eventually Taft HS. Sometime prior to 1991, the feeder program was dropped as not all children from Classical Schools were prepared for the rigorous curriculum. According to Mr.. Jay Lee, Decatur students were not the problem but they could not allow only one Classical feeder school, so they discontinued them all. No alternative placement was ever offered to Classical School students.
In 1990, the LSC Chairperson at Decatur was contacted by the District Superintendent and told that in order to
retain a full time Principal, Decatur would have to complete its program. The school went to great lengths to
expand its curriculum to continue a Classical Education plus meet HS placement requirements.
A split class of 6th and 7th graders was introduced in 1991, as only 7 students remained at Decatur for 7th grade.
CPS then came to evaluate the program and it was cancelled.
Why it failed:
1. The Superintendent who contacted Decatur did not have CPS support to expand the Classical Program.
2. Whitney Young protested greatly that losing Decatur students would hurt its Academic Center Program.
3. Not enough Decatur students stayed.
Decatur was allowed to retain a full time Principal and discontinued its middle school program after only 1 year.
In order to apply to the academic centers at Whitney Young, Taft or Kenwood, you must place at the minimum
of 7th stanine in both Math and Reading on the 5th grade ISAT tests.
A combination of your 5th Grade final grades(300 points), 5th grade attendance(100 points) and an entrance
exam score(600 points) with a possibility of 1000 total points determines admittance.
In order to apply to the Gifted Program at Edison, Bell, or Beaubien, you must be in the 90% in both Math
and Reading on the 5th Grade ISAT tests.
The GEAP application and exam are used to place students in spots made available by students leaving the
In order to apply to the IB Prep Program at Lincoln or Ogden, you must be in the 90% in both Math
and Reading on the 5th Grade ISAT tests.
An extensive interview and test are given at the schools for this program.
*This program starts in 6th grade.
Skinner Classical School is the only Classical School to currently have a 7th & 8th Grade Program.
In order to apply to Skinner at 7th grade, you must reapply and retest for the Classical Program.
In order to apply to the Classical Program, you must be in the 80% in both Math and Reading on the
5th Grade ISAT tests.
The GEAP application and exam are used to place students in spots made available by students leaving Skinner.
On Thursday, March 7, 2008 a select group of Administrators, Teachers, Parents, Alumni and Students met to discuss the pros and cons of expanding Decatur Classical School to include a 7th & 8th Grade Program.
The participants included past and present representatives of the Decatur community.
There was a general feeling that a middle school program would be good for Decatur students IF the atmosphere was right….a new addition.
It was agreed that Decatur would not be able to compete with Academic Centers, but offer a viable alternative to neighborhood, magnet, private or gifted programs.
7th & 8th grade.
-Decatur Classical School is in a new TIF district. The school would qualify for funding via the real estate tax increment fund.
-The Touhy/Western TIF fund has not yet collected its first taxes.
-Currently, a new school is slated for construction to alleviate overcrowding at Boone and Clinton schools in the same West Roger’s Park neighborhood. ($7 million from Touhy/Western TIF fund)
-Debt collection must be established before the County will know if another project can be funded out of the Touhy/Western TIF fund.
Currently working with Ald. Stone’s office, The City of Chicago Dept. of Planning and Development and The Cook County Office to establish fund liquidity and what it means for Decatur.
Individual schools are not allowed to apply for TIF funding on their own behalf. CPS must apply for the money to be used to supplement the construction of any new addition at Decatur.
Only half of a school project may be funded by TIF. The Chicago Public School system must provide additional funding.
Current 6th Graders
Example: A student at Decatur* who has a 92% in Math and Reading gets B’s
A student at McDade who has a 92% in Math and Reading gets A’s
Decatur student has 100 points (50 points for each B)
McDade student has 150 points (75 points for each A)
Decatur student is already at a disadvantage even if attendance and entrance exam test results are
identical. All things being equal McDade student gets the placement.
*Decatur uses the CPS suggested grading scale. There is no policy on unified grading.
CPS relocated, consolidated and closed several schools by looking at the numbers and not the humans. What happens when we ask for a program expansion?
Will CPS admit there is there money for an addition to Decatur?
Decatur is not a neighborhood school so technically we do not have a representative
to turn to. Alderman Bernard Stone has pledged his support but what does that mean?
If we build it will they come?
Decatur will never compete with Academic Centers. We would encourage students who
place into the Academic Center Program to attend. We would strive to offer a “safety net” for
families not ready to move on.
GEAP has been instrumental in recruiting new students for placement at Skinner to fill spots
made by students not opting to stay in the Classical Program.
Skinner’s Principal Ms. Deborah Clark stated that it’s a great opportunity for the
students who may not have been at the top of the class to really soar and gain
• • Open Discussion • •
Special thanks to all those who had input, opinions and
determination for the students of Decatur.
The Decatur Administration and Staff (ALL OF YOU!) • The Decatur LSC past and present •
•June G. Shackter • Ila McElroy • Cathy Skopis • Hugh O’Connor • Clara Littau • Karen Ley •
Eileen Schmakel • Brad Cantwell • The Balan Family • The Boyle Family • Kelly Zehfuss • The Regalado Family • The Rajput Family • The Ricker Family • Reese/Bernstein Family • Patrick Coyne • Dawitt Hadgu • Beth Ann Bryant-Richards • Diane Jackson • The Rossinof/Leff Family • The London Family • Naisy Dolar •Anita Goldstein •Jeff Madl •Joey Gerharz •The Masias Family • Helen Loosevelt • Shia Kapos • Beth Wangman • Leslie Toepfer • Joanne Botten • The Benaissa Family • The McGinnity Family • Arlene Zoeller • The Greven Family •
Mr. Bernard Stone • GEAP Office • City of Chicago Dept. of Planning & Development •
David Orr and the Cook County Clerks Office •
And all the parents and students who have supported this effort by attending public meetings, signing petitions and giving opinions on surveys. This has been a group effort and all participation is greatly appreciated!