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Schoolhouse Beat

Chicago plans ahead for changes that will follow school closings

No decisions have been announced about how many Chicago public schools--and which ones--will be closed later this year, but the district already is preparing for the difficult transition students and communities will have to make. Tom Tyrrell, a retired U.S. Marine colonel, is overseeing 40 staffers dedicated to planning and carrying out the transition. He and district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett explained to The Chicago Sun-Times some of the plans to help those affected adapt more smoothly to the changes: At each school set to receive students from closed schools, a retired principal will serve as a “principal transition coordinator;" students in welcoming schools will serve as guides to the new transfers; principals at campuses receiving displaced students will be offered additional support from counselors, academic tutors and instructional coaches; and the district will hold events to help families, staff and students make a smooth transition to new school communities. A commission is preparing to recommend a list of school closings to Bennett. Early speculation put the number of closings as high as 100, but more recent reports say the number is likely to be about 20.

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