By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
The Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference Schools Committee is hosting a “Future of Canter Meeting.” The meeting is open to parents and community members who are interested in keeping the middle school open.
The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30 at Canter, 4959 S. Blackstone Ave.
Last school year, Chicago Public Schools designated Canter an underutilized school and placed the middle school on its school-closing list in an attempt to balance its budget. Hyde Park community members showed up to meetings and hearings in large numbers to advocate for keeping the school open. CPS’s final decision was to close Canter after this school year.
Camille Hamilton-Doyle, co-chairwoman of the HP-K CC Schools Committee, said the committee believes that the community can continue to petition to keep the school open for good.
“We got them to keep Canter open for an additional year, we can do it again,” Hamilton-Doyle said.
About 10 years ago HP-K CC played a significant role in establishing Canter as the community’s middle school, convincing all but one of the schools within the community’s boundary areas to become pre-K to 6th grade schools allowing Canter to be the neighborhood 7th and 8th grade school. With this latest round of school closings, CPS is trying to do away with the middle school model and required Ray, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., and Bret Harte 1556 E. 56th St., to return to pre-K through 8th grade elementary schools. According to the CPS’s 10-year Educational Facilities Master Plan adding pre-K as well as 7th and 8th grade to Shoesmith is also under consideration.
In a previous interview Hamilton Doyle said, “Canter was created to relieve the other grade schools, in the area, that did not have space for lunchrooms, gyms or assemblies.”
She said the HP-K CC believes Canter’s Leadership Academy curriculum, where students are allowed to choose their own class track and switch rooms for each subject taught, is still a relevant learning model and a great way to prepare students for high school.