Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Sunday, July 21

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

The Mechanics
« Obama's Swearing-In and Inaugural Address Score one for secularism »

Education Wed Jan 21 2009

School Occupation on South Side

Teachers are planning a sit-in picket at Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary at 955 W. Garfield (55th St.) beginning tonight tomorrow night (1/22) at 7:30p.m. 5pm to 7pm, when the school must be evacuated.

Holmes Elementary was slated to be a "turnaround" school, the Board of Education's method for liquidating public schools.

Come out and show your support for the parents, teachers, and students of Wendell Elementary.

A letter from the teachers, faculty, and LSC after the jump.

UPDATE: Sit-in details have been changed to a picket after a community meeting.

To Whom It May Concern:

The Administration, LSC, Parents, Staff and students feel it is unfair to have O. W. Holmes become a turnaround school. We work very hard at Holmes to offer an instructional program for our students which addresses the needs of all learners. We acknowledge that we need to improve student achievement at Holmes. This is the fourth year of our current administration. During this time our school has and continues to embrace many new opportunities to improve student learning and achievement.

For two out of last three years, our scores increased by eleven and seven percentage points respectively. We have seen some positive change and anticipate even more. However, change takes time. We are asking that you would allow the current staff to continue to work with the students of Holmes school to achieve these positive results.

We implemented PBIS and a Social Emotional Learning Partnership to create a positive climate at our school. We have updated our core curriculum and entered into partnerships for PAS (Promoting Academic Success in Pre-3rdgrade Boys of Color), joined the Middle Grades Project to offer departmental classes and AVID to our 5th - 8th grade students. Our Math teacher, Ms. Martin was honored by Mayor Daley for obtaining a Masters with an endorsement in Algebra and offering an Algebra class to our eighth grade students. Our staff members continue to attend university classes and professional development to further their education and offer a rigorous curriculum to our students. We need time for full implementation.

Last year one of our students was shot and killed. This impacted our school immensely. Students were traumatized. A social agency (Research Triangle) asked to help target students who had traumatic experiences. There are so many students who need help. The counselors have just scratched the surface of our students/families needing counseling. The students are gaining their trust and look for their sessions every week. Please let this continue. Sherman School, which is just down the block from us, is a turnaround school. Their current profile is the same as ours, specifically in the area of test scores. They were offered capital improvements, new programs and funding. We as a staff are working to achieve the same goal without
capital improvements or extra funding.

Attached you will find additional information that we want to highlight
concerning our school including other new initiatives. After implementation, it takes time to see results of new programs. We too believe in the motto "Children First . We care about our students and want them to receive a quality education. We feel that with the dedication of our teachers, collaboration with parents and the community, along with these initiatives, we will see increase in student achievement. Please reconsider our turnaround status.


Holmes School Staff, Students, Parents & Community

GB store
GB store


Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...


Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

Special Series

Classroom Mechanics Oral History Project
GB store

About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Mike Ewing,
Mechanics staff inbox:



 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15