Dyett is a needed local resource

To the Editor:

As a follow-up to the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference’s general resolution to keep all the Chicago Public Schools open, we write to support keeping, in particular, Dyett High School (slated for closure in July, 2015) open as an ongoing school.

We argue in favor of keeping Dyett High School open for the following reasons:

  1. Dyett has an important place in the Bronzeville community because it has the potential to provide a college career-focused education to children who really need it. The Bronzeville community is a neighbor to Hyde Park and Kenwood.
  2. Dyett is a key asset to the community because of the overcrowded conditions at Kenwood Academy and the distance the Dyett population would have to travel if they went to any other school. If Dyett closes, there will be no convenient neighborhood public high school for the neighborhoods it serves for the first time in 100 years.
  3. Children should have the option of being able to walk to good public schools in familiar settings without having to cross into danger zones or endure inconvenient transport. The closure will be detrimental to families, schools and neighborhoods. The Woodlawn neighborhood has Hyde Park High. The Hyde Park and South Kenwood neighborhoods have Kenwood Academy. This leaves the west side of Woodlawn, Washington Park, Lower Grand Boulevard, North Kenwood and Oakland neighborhoods with Phillips High School, which is located at 244 E. Pershing Road, far from many of these neighborhoods.
  4. Families in Bronzeville and from surrounding neighborhoods would like Dyett as a school that can provide a safe environment for their children.
  5. There has been sustained community involvement by Bronzeville parents, community members, organizations and students in the development of a plan for the revitalization of Dyett High School, and the community has demonstrated its capacity to support the school.
  6. The school has a successful partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden.
  7. The Dyett facility is a good facility in a special setting (Washington Park) with recent general capital improvements made to the gym and weight room.
  8. This public school building should remain open as a public neighborhood school.

Please keep Walter H. Dyett High School open.

Anita R. Hollins, President and for the Board of Directors
The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference