BY ALLISON MATYUS
After an 18-day hunger strike that rocked a South Side community and caught the attention of the nation, the long-awaited decision has been made for Dyett High School.
“Working with community partners, we arrived at a solution that meets multiple needs,” said a press release from Chicago Public Schools (CPS). “Creating an open enrollment neighborhood high school, producing an enrollment stream that can weather population changes, filling the critical demand for an arts high school on the south side and working with education leaders to create a technology hub.”
The press release describes the plan for Dyett, 555 E. 51st St., as an “arts-focused neighborhood high school and community innovation lab.” According to the Chicago Sun-times, despite the fact that the school will have an art focus Little Black Pearl Art & Design Academy, a Kenwood-based alternative school who responded to the CPS request for proposal with an arts-based school idea, will not be involved with Dyett.
CPS also plans to incorporate a technology lab in partnership with the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). This specific aspect, along with the open enrollment, is part of what the Dyett hunger strikers were pushing for, however, CPS’ plan does not exactly match up to their proposed Leadership and Green Technology academic plan.
“The Bronzeville community identified several specific elements key to their vision in the CPS Educational Facilities Master Plan,” explained the press release. “Their vision includes: ‘a variety of rigorous academic and extracurricular options for children and families ranging from IB and STEM programs to Fine Arts and Alternative options for off-track youth.’ It also includes: ‘Increased technology resources in all schools to equip students with 21st century skills.’”
A partnership with the Chicago Park District was also mentioned in the decision, allowing the gymnasium and swimming pool to be open to the community when not in use by the school.
The decision was announced at a press conference earlier today at CPS Headquarters. The hunger strikers were present, but were not allowed inside the press conference for the announcement.
According to Catalyst Chicago, the hunger strikers are not happy with the decision, and will continue their hunger strike.
Jaribu Lee, the education director for Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), said the hunger strikers are determining their next steps.