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Students and Parents Fight to Save Their School

Chicago Virtual Charter School organizes its community to save the school from closing

CHICAGO, Feb. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) prepares to vote on the proposed closure of Chicago Virtual Charter School (CVCS), more than 100 students, parents and faculty members gathered at an ISBE appeal hearing this evening, citing numerous recent improvements made under a new administration.

"My school is worth saving," said Lena Kelly, CVCS 9th grade student. "The Chicago Virtual Charter School hybrid learning model is important for hundreds of students just like me. I choose CVCS because I love my teachers and they give me hope."

Today's hearing, previously scheduled for last week but cancelled last minute by ISBE because the meeting venue was not in ADA compliance and was in other ways inadequate, comes on the heels of a rally and march students and families led last week. In their last chance to save their school, the CVCS community of supporters presented testimonies on how the school has positively impacted their learning experiences.

"Under the new administration, Chicago Virtual Charter School is moving in the right direction," said Winona Jackson, Parent of 5th and 7th grade CVCS students. "With many improvements already in the works – and even more slated for future implementation – we are urging the Board of Education to save our school, which enriches our entire community and our lives."

Serving as the state's first and only primarily online public school for Kindergarten through 12th grade, CVCS empowers students to take charge of their own education while learning at their own pace. The school opened in 2006 as part of Renaissance 2010, an initiative that aimed to increase school options. Students and parents choose CVCS for many reasons, ranging from safety and bullying to religious diversity and acceptance.

In December 2019, the Chicago Board of Education decided to rescind the charter for CVCS, which allowed less than six months for the school's new administration to implement changes, such as:

  • new curriculum
  • individualized tutoring
  • two new principals
  • new partners to provide data analysis for decision making
  • new attendance policy, which includes home visits
  • practice tests for standardized testing
  • monitoring for seniors on track to graduate
  • opportunities for faculty professional development

In addition to these changes, CVCS is committed to making more data-informed improvements, as well as refreshing their Board of Directors, establishing a Professional Advisory Board and growing a partnership with the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS).

"Our school is special – it's the only one of its kind in the entire district and state," said Vikki Stokes, CVCS CEO. "We know what is possible and are committed to reaching the milestones needed to achieve the next level of service for our students and staff."

Following the state appeal hearing, the Illinois State Board of Education is expected to vote on the charter by late March 2020. 

ABOUT CHICAGO VIRTUAL CHARTER SCHOOL
The Chicago Virtual Charter School is a public charter school that offers a unique blend of online and face to face courses. The online learning portion can happen anytime or place with an Internet connection. Our school offers a one-to-one computer device to support the learning environment. The face to face sessions are held once a week at the on-site downtown Chicago location in the west loop. As a public school, the Chicago Virtual Charter School is tuition-free. Whether targeting a top-tier, 4-year university, a local community college, or an immediate career, CVCS prepares students to maximize their post-high school success. Teachers and families come together to generate success in each student. Visit us online at www.ChicagoVirtualCharterSchool.org.

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SOURCE Chicago Virtual Charter School