South Loop gifted program to relocate nearby
New location would open in 2013, be two to five miles away
05/02/2012 10:00 PM
South Loop School’s gifted program is definitely getting phased out beginning this fall, but Chicago Public Schools officials announced Wednesday night that the program won’t simply disappear — it’ll be shifted to another nearby school in fall 2013.
The announcement was made at a South Loop meeting with Chief Portfolio Officer Oliver Sicat, the CPS official in charge of managing the district’s school facilities.
According to Sicat, the program will open in fall 2013 at a building that’s between two and five miles away from South Loop. They’re currently looking at buildings that potentially have the space available to take on a gifted program and the students that come along with it, he told parents.
The final decision on the gifted program’s new location would be made by August, Sicat said.
In the meantime, as South Loop’s gifted program is being phased out one grade at a time over the course of the next nine years, CPS will keep filling abandoned slots in existing classes to prevent classroom size from diminishing.
In November, South Loop Principal Tara Shelton announced plans to cut the gifted program, at a rate of one grade per year, to counter potential over-enrollment in its neighborhood program.
South Loop has seen a surge of new applications in the past few years, as students at the school continue to trump district-wide state testing standards by about 20 percent annually.
“Although the [gifted center] has been an attractive asset to our school in previous years, I’m confident that we will continue to thrive and excel with our dedicated parents, teachers, and community,” Shelton wrote in a letter to parents.
Shelton said that the eight-year draw down would reduce the school’s population by approximately 224 students, or nine classrooms. The gifted program makes up about one-third of the school’s nearly 700-student population, in a building fit for 916.
New enrollment was closed for South Loop’s 2012-13 gifted kindergarten program earlier that year, as well as for out-of-boundary students following the announcement.