An Open Letter to Our Parents, From a Chicago Charter Network

Dear Parents, This week the Noble Network of Charter Schools received exciting news that the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program (CSP) selected Noble as a recipient of an $8.4 million grant as part of the Replication and Expansion for High-Quality Charter Schools  grant competition. This five-year grant will enable Noble to serve an even greater number of Chicago’s public school students. In order to be eligible for the grant, schools were required to demonstrate success in increasing student academic achievement. Thanks to your work, the work of your students and their teachers, Noble high schools are among the top performing open enrollment public high schools in Chicago. The number of Noble students prepared for and enrolled in college increases each year, with 90 percent of the 2015 graduating class enrolled in college. Indeed, Noble won the prestigious Broad Prize for the top charter school network in the country. In addition to exceeding charter school standards set by the city, state and federal government, Noble consistently demonstrates a steadfast commitment to the pillars that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) recommends for new schools. These pillars aim to increase graduation rates and to prepare students to succeed in college and careers. At Noble, we are proud of the fact that our four-year graduation rates exceed the Chicago Public Schools average and our college matriculation rates are among the highest in the greater Chicago area. This week’s recognition by the U.S. Department of Education is a testament to the success that resulted from your hard work and the dedication of our students, teachers and staff. In addition to academic excellence, CPS looks to an ability to contribute to the community and financial stability in approving new schools. This grant will allow Noble to continue to invest in our neighborhoods in a way that relies on non-CPS dollars. In fact, the proposed new Noble campus on the Southwest Side will not only revitalize the neighborhood by turning an empty, decaying lot into a beautiful neighborhood high school, it will be built with philanthropic funds. Noble was founded by two Chicago Public Schools teachers and we remain committed to serving the students and families of the city. Noble understands that if we are to serve our students well, we must be a consistent factor in their education. So, in addition to academic excellence, charters must show that they are financially stable. This grant, in addition to the Broad Prize and the philanthropic donations for the new campus and our thorough accounting and planning will ensure Noble is able to provide a high-quality educational choice to families for years to come. That’s why Alderman Edward Burke, State Senator Tony Muñoz, Representative Dan Burke, Southwest Side parents and more than 1,100 other Chicagoans who signed letters supporting a new Noble school in the Southwest Side continue to fight in support of a new school. They join with many others who recognize that families and students deserve a Noble school in their own neighborhood. Many families in this area are already choosing to send their students to a Noble school. Today, an estimated 2,400 students leave the boundaries of the Southwest Side as defined by CPS to attend a Noble school. Noble has found that more high-quality public school options mean families are more likely to remain in the neighborhood to attend high school, an opportunity that parents are demanding. Today is the last Chicago Public Schools hearing on the proposal for a new Noble school in the Southwest Side. We know this has been a long and challenging process and we want to thank you for your continued support and advocacy. We are confident that a new Noble school will offer the highest quality education for students in the Southwest Side and we remain dedicated to fighting alongside you on their behalf. You can follow live updates of today’s CPS meeting on Twitter via @NobleAdvocacy.   Matthew McCabe Noble Network of Charter Schools
Matthew McCabe has been a teacher, advisor and coach in Chicago Public Schools for the past six years. He now works with parents and community members advocating for Noble public schools in their community.

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