October 13, 2016
CONTACT: Cody Rogers (312) 884-1389,
Ahead of Crucial Deadline, Parents and Leaders from ITW David Speer Academy Hold City Hall Press Conference Urging Alderman Emma Mitts to Approve School Expansion

Unless Alderman Mitts Approves Project By Wednesday, 5/17, Speer Will Be Unable to Serve 300 Additional Students in 2018 School Year 
CHICAGO, IL – Parents and administrators from Chicago’s ITW David Speer Academy continue to voice their urgent pleas to 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts to support the classroom expansion at Speer Academy. Tomorrow, May 17, is the deadline for Ald. Mitts to lend her support to the project in advance of the city’s upcoming Zoning Committee meetings.  If approved, the school has private donors committed to funding the $7 million classroom expansion, which will make room for approximately 300 more students. Demand for Speer’s unique education is intense; for the upcoming school year, 2,000 applications entered their children’s names into a random drawing for just 150 coveted freshman seats. 
37th Ward Resident and Parent of Speer Student Bobby McCorvey Urges Ald. Mitts to Support Speer's Expansion

Now in its third year, Speer Academy, part of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, is a top-rated Level 1+ school providing a first-class Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education to over 800 students. Speer requires no admissions testing, and is open to all Chicago Public School students. The school has also been recognized for its innovative STEM partnership with Northwestern University. 

The Chicago Tribune editorial board recently weighed-in on this issue, urging Ald. Mitts to help children on Speer’s waiting list. In their editorial titled “Ald. Mitts, please reconsider: These children need your help,” they wrote: “We advocate for quality schools, charter or neighborhood. We can't understand how anyone would block hundreds of low-income students and their parents from seeking a better education that leads to college, to a better life.”

Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele (D-2nd) has offered his support for Speer’s expansion as well, stating that "Speer is a great school with incredible learning opportunities for inner city youth. We are fortunate to have this school in our midst and look forward to it's growth to allow more students to attend in the near future."

Resident of the 37th Ward Bobby McCorvey said at this morning's event that "I’m here as the proud parent of one Speer student, and I hope that my youngest son Jacoby is able to attend Speer as well. I want more kids from our area to experience this."

“To be clear, this is not a request to increase Speer’s number of allotted charter school seats. We are currently operating beneath our enrollment cap due to classroom size constraints, and we require only a modest building expansion to serve 300 additional students,” said Speer’s Principal Tom Mulder. “Given the overwhelming demand by Austin and Belmont-Cragin area families, plus already completed fundraising to pay for the project, this would seem to be a very reasonable request of Alderman Mitts. She has visited our campus and witnessed the success of our students firsthand, and has always been encouraging and supportive, so we respectfully ask her to step-up again and allow this classroom expansion.”

The project requires the City Council’s approval for the expansion of the school’s planned development, meaning the school needs the support of its local alderman to make this project happen. And urgency exists, because unless Speer is able to submit for approval by May 17th, they will be unable to have an expansion ready in time for the 2018-19 school year.

At Noble, we are college bound. As the largest charter public school network in Chicago, Noble’s high school program exposes our students to higher education options and guides them through the collegiate application process. Through college trips, college fairs, summer college immersion programs and required academic courses, Noble demystifies the college experience and shapes students’ beliefs and confidence about higher education. 
© 2017 Noble Network of Charter Schools

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