Reavis joins new schools network

Staff Writer

Reavis Elementary School is a part of a newly established network of schools whose administrators and teachers will receive hands-on professional development as a part of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) “reinvestment schools” program.

Reavis, 834 E. 50th St., is no longer a part of the Burnham Network School Area and will join 21 other schools as a part of the Office of Strategic School Support Services (OS4) Network.

At a Fourth Ward meeting Sept. 16, Gail King, principal of Reavis, explained that the OS4 network would provide guidance and tools to increase the school’s overall performance.

“It will provide support services such as coaching, direct services for teachers and principal professional development,” King said.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Barbara Byrd-Bennett created OS4 as a part of her five-year action plan aimed at providing every child in every neighborhood across Chicago with a rigorous, high-quality public school.

“Even with exhaustive efforts, sometimes school leaders, teachers and school communities need the guidance and support of their district leaders to help them reach their full potential,” Byrd-Bennett said.

In the past, schools such as Reavis, which has been at level 3 (low academic standing) for several years, would be considered a school on probation and subject to CPS school actions such as closing, phase-out or turnaround. According to CPS, the reinvestment schools program is an early intervention support effort for high-need schools that aims to prevent putting in place drastic, late-stage, school-level interventions in the future.

OS4 will provide hands-on support for both school leaders and teachers with intense and comprehensive professional development tailored to the specific needs of each school. The style of support involves embedded coaching and training for school leaders and staff that will help them sustain the new practices and improve performance.

OS4 will also offer local school council members and parents professional learning opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills in best practices to increase student achievement.

CPS will focus on the 22 “reinvestment schools,” which includes one high school, for three years and then provide the program as a core development resource for all public schools.

At the ward meeting, King, who has been the principal at Reavis for two years, said the school has made significant improvements.

School enrollment has increased to 306 this year compared to 296 last year. The school now has one class for each grade level and has a new early childhood education class, according to King. She also said that the school gained 3.1 percent on the ISAT.

Other improvements include the reinstatement of its parent room, which now has a parent engagement specialist from the Quad Communities Development Center who assists parents in creating resumes and other development goals. The school also now has a fully functioning and local school council and parent advisory council.

King said Reavis, which is a math and science school, is currently seeking community help and resources to build science labs.