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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Sep 24, 2014

Chicago Coalition To Revitalize Dyett High School Stages Sit-In At Mayor's Office (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

More than 50 Chicago education activists escalated their fight late Tuesday afternoon to save Bronzeville's Walter H. Dyett High School from closing at the end of this academic year.

Protesters chained themselves together and staged a sit-in outside of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office on the fifth floor of City Hall to demand equity for the 13 remaining seniors at Dyett.

The Chicago Board of Education voted to phase out Dyett in 2012 due to poor academic performance, and the school is slated to close completely in 2015 after its last senior class graduates.

The activists with the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, a group spearheaded by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), also urged the Emanuel administration to endorse their community-driven blueprint to keep Dyett open beyond 2015 and offer global leadership and green technology classes at the school, along with other programs involving agricultural sciences and cultural awareness. Community members have been developing the education plan for several years and formally presented it to the school district at the Chicago Board of Education's monthly meeting in April.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Aug 28, 2013

Local Residents Demand A New Community Center At Whittier Elementary (VIDEO)

A group of parents and community members are calling on Ald. Danny Solis (25th) and officials from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district to build a new community center at Whittier Elementary School, to replace La Casita, which was demolished earlier this month.

La Casita, which served as a volunteer-run library that provided computer access, English classes and after-school programs to local residents of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood on the Southwest Side, was torn down without notice. District officials cited safety concerns and severe disrepair to the CPS-owned fieldhouse that was being used as a community center until the moment a demolition crew arrived on August 17.

“What happened, I found to be very unjust, very traumatizing,” said Lisa Angonese, 52, executive director of La Casita and member of the Whittier Parents Committee (WPC), which ran the community center’s programming. “We saw a demolition of a precious and valuable building right before our very eyes, traumatizing to the parents, children and members of the community.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Aug 19, 2013

Pilsen Community Holds Vigil After CPS Demolishes Whittier Elementary Fieldhouse (VIDEO)

Pilsen community members held a Saturday afternoon vigil outside Whittier Elementary to mourn the loss of the school’s fieldhouse, which was completely demolished earlier that morning due to safety concerns cited by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

Community members and parents said CPS gave them no notice before demolition crews showed up Friday night to start tearing down the fieldhouse, known as La Casita, that served as a volunteer-run community center owned by CPS.

A number of protestors spent the night outside the fieldhouse Friday, and 10 people were arrested after they tried to stop the building from being leveled early Saturday morning. Chicago Police News Affairs confirmed on Sunday that nine individuals were charged with criminal trespass and one protestor was charged with criminal damage to property, both of which are misdemeanors.

“I am outraged,” La Casita’s Executive Director Lisa Angonese said at the vigil as bulldozers cleared away the rubble. “This is completely uncalled for. They came in unannounced. They showed us no work permits with no notice. Not even a knock on the door. Not even a phone call.”