Logan Square needs a military school? Says who?
Logan Square on the northwest side of Chicago has been our home since 1975.
We raised our kids here.
We bought a home here.
We have known many of our neighbors for decades, watching their kids grow up, leave home and have kids of their own.
Logan Square is one of those neighborhoods whose geographical boundaries are hard to define. The real estate agents say one thing. The newspapers say another. And those of us who live here define it the way we want.
The geographical center of the community is the Civil War monument that stands where the Daniel Burnham-designed boulevards of Logan and Kedzie meet. That is where the new, hip bars and restaurants are. It is where the farmers’ market is on Sundays during the summer. The immediate surrounding blocks are inhabited by young folks. Lots of young white people who fit the stereotype of hipsters.
Although that is mostly unfair.
Then there are the parts of the Logan Square neighborhood that are farther from the Square. Those blocks have more Latino residents. You’re more likely to hear Spanish on the street than English. The corner bodega will sell bright yellow cans of Bustelo coffee rather than Intelligensia and fresh, warm tortillas. In the summer you can buy elotes off a cart that will be pushed down the street by an old man with a bike horn.
On the far western edges of Logan Square, on Armitage before you get to Pulaski, there once sat an Ames Store. When we first moved here, Ames was a regional company that owned what you might call low-rent Walmarts. It went out of business about twenty years ago. And to relieve the overcrowding of many of the neighborhood schools, CPS built a brand new middle school on the land where Ames sat. They even called it Ames Middle School.
Ames is a successful school by any measure and it has active parent engagement.
So when CPS and Alderman Roberto Maldonado announced that Ames would be converted from a neighborhood school to a city-wide military academy, the parents (who were never consulted) were amazed.
Who asked for this?
It seems it was the brain-child of the Alderman and nobody else.
Does Logan Square really need a military school? Do the families on the western edge of Logan Square get to have any say in the matter?
November 1, 2012 – Less than 24 hours after Chicago Public Schools’ new CEO Barbara Bryd-Bennett announced her intentions to rebuild trust in communities before shuttering schools, a northwest side community isn’t buying it.
Parents packed a room at Ames Middle School in Logan Square to discuss a proposal recently submitted without community input to the Board of Education by their alderman, Roberto Maldonado.
The proposal would bring Marine Military Academy to the Ames Middle School building. Currently, Marine Military Academy shares a building with Phoenix Military Academy at 145 South Campbell Avenue on the West Side.
The standing-room-only crowd is upset about the changes being discussed without their involvement.
The meeting comes just a day after CPS revealed it will use enrollment instead of academic performance in deciding which schools to shut down.
Although Ames’s academic performance is higher than many other public schools, Ames is considered less than half utilized, according to the district’s calculation. Parents say enrollment dropped significantly this year, in part because CPS added a 7th and 8th grade class to one of Ames’ three feeder elementary schools.
But the district’s new guidelines apply only to school closures, not to the kind of shakeups Ames parents are worried about.
Ames parents are not going along with this.
You can sign their petition here.