SLES in the News

South Loop School got talent

By Bonnie McGrath, Chicago Journal, June 8, 2012

chicago journal article picOK, so the strip club that plays a big role in the musical "Rock of Ages," as well as in the soon-to-be released movie of the same name with Tom Cruise and Julianne Hough, wasn't in the South Loop School version I saw Thursday night. Instead, it was a nail salon which provided the backdrop where the female protagonist works--and where a dramatic scene takes place between two important people in her life (one nice; one not so nice).

And maybe there were a few less musical numbers in the South Loop School version. But, hey, these were grade school kids who put on this sophisticated story about love, friendship, political whims, economic struggles and the life of 1980s rock stars. And these young actors from South Loop School's Extended Day Fine Arts Program sang out--and gave the show some nice exposure. I was satisfied and I don't feel bad anymore that I missed the musical when the road show traveled through Chicago a while back.


South Loop School cuts gifted program

By BEN MEYERSON, Chicago Journal, November 10, 2011
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A month after South Loop Elementary School announced it would cuts its gifted program for kindergarten, Principal Tara Shelton announced Friday night that the school is permanently cutting the entire gifted program.

South Loop School's main building, at 1212 S. Plymouth Ct., has become overcrowded and needed more space, Shelton said in an email announcing the change. But without new space to expand into, the best solution was to reduce the number of students coming into the school, she wrote.

So Shelton said she reached the conclusion with officials from Chicago Public Schools that the best option would be to remove the school's regional gifted center entirely — not just kindergarten, as originally proposed last month. The result would be more room for local students, she said.


CPS closing South Loop gifted program

By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Chicago TRIBUNE, November 10, 2011
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Just as Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called for better school options for parents living in the city, Chicago Public Schools is planning to do away with a regional gifted program at South Loop Elementary School.

Gifted programs are among the most competitive elementary school options in the city. The phaseout at South Loop — a neighborhood school that accepts students from across the city who test into its regional gifted program — has many parents concerned about whether the new administration is serious about offering academically rigorous programs for gifted children.


CPS solution to overcrowding at South Loop Elementary - eliminate gifted kindergarten

By BEN MEYERSON, Chicago Journal, October 5, 2011
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After years of complaints from parents about overcrowding at South Loop Elementary School, Chicago Public Schools officials have come to a solution: cut a class.

Next year, the school is eliminating the kindergarten level of its gifted program, freeing up space that the school says will be used to alleviate overcrowding in the rest of the school.

The gifted program draws talented students to South Loop School from all around the city, as well as funding, but it also eats into the amount of space available to students who live close to the school.

As classroom sizes have ballooned — as high as 36 students in one third-grade class, according to parents — the debate about how to deal with the increasingly cramped space has grown fervent.


CPS starts work on longer school day, CTU head declines to serve on committee

Chicago Teacher's Union

By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Chicago Tribune, August 23, 2011
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Chicago Public Schools on Tuesday launched their plans to extend students' time in the classroom by 90 minutes each and by two weeks each year and set up an advisory committee to figure out how it'll be done.

However, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said she would decline an invitation to serve on the committee, saying in a written statement that, "this news has nothing do with helping our children and everything to do with politicizing a real serious problem."


1st-grader gives thumbs up to push for longer school day and year

Mayor Emanuel

By Fran Spielman, City Hall Reporter, JUNE 2, 2011
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With temperatures rising and summer vacation fast approaching, you’d think the last thing that a kid would want to talk about is a longer school day and school year.

During a classroom visit Thursday at South Loop Elementary School, 1212 S. Plymouth Court, a first-grader asked Mayor Rahm Emanuel about his push for both, as if he just can’t wait to spend more time in school. “We can have more artistic programs — painting or dance or things like that. Is that a thumbs-up, too?”


South Loop School hosts announcement of CPS cuts

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

By Ben Meyerson, CHICAGO JOURNAL, JUNE 1, 2011
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Mayor Rahm Emanuel and new schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard announced cuts to the Chicago Public Schools Thursday morning during a press conference at South Loop School.

Most of the cuts hit at CPS headquarters, slicing positions in the central office and leaving retirees’ positions vacant. Other changes don’t directly affect the classroom, such as no longer having janitors clean unused space in schools, and cutting the size of the school bus fleet.


CPS evaluates options for high-performing South Loop School

By Matthew Blake, Chicago Journal, February 16, 2011
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There was good news and bad news at the South Loop Elementary School local school council's biannual "State of the South Loop School" update.

The good news is that students have scored impressively on an array of state math and reading standardized tests.

The bad news is that school enrollment continues to increase and Chicago Public Schools has yet to devise a long-term plan to deal with the jump in South Loop student population.


South Loop School seeks more funds

By Marie Ballace Ward, The Gazette, November 5, 2009
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The South Loop Elementary School Local School Council (LSC) in September proposed leasing the school’s parking lot during Chicago Bears games to raise money for the lot’s upkeep during winter months.

With football season already underway, however, and some local residents opposing the idea, the LSC has dropped the plan for now, said Tara Shelton, the school's principal. At a recent South Loop School Council LSC meeting, Shelton said the LSC and school supporters continue to seek funding ideas to make up shortfalls from City and State sources. She added that fundraising efforts pay for many curriculum offerings such as a language program held during school hours. Supporters also are working to raise $9,000 to buy new musical instruments for the school’s band.


Growing South Loop population pressures school to expand

By Susan Fong and William S. Blake, The Gazette, August 6, 2009
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The growing South Loop community population means a potentially larger South Loop Elementary School student population as well.

Principal Tara Shelton told the Gazette after a June 23 community meeting that parents are "satisfied" with a plan to hold the three new public school kindergarten classes officials anticipate needing at the school's South Loop Early Childhood Center branch site at 1915 S. Federal St. instead of at the main South Loop School building at 1212 S. Plymouth Ct.

The branch site, whose name will be changed from the Early Childhood Center to the South Loop School Branch, will have two neighborhood, non-tuition-based kindergarten classes plus one non-tuition based kindergarten class for gifted children.


South Loop blends hip, historic

Moonlit strolls down Michigan Avenue, late-night dog walks at Dearborn Park Town Homes, cozy shopping near Roosevelt Road and name-dropping at some of Chicago's finest restaurants are a given on any day in the South Loop. The community, once the 19th Century hub of Chicago's printing and publishing industry, and the location of Dearborn Station, the arrival point of many immigrants into the city, has been transformed in the last 20 years into one of the city's most progressive neighborhoods.