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Ogden Neighborhood Campus Alliance - ONCA

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October 28, 2015

Friends of Ogden, Parents, Students, Alumni, Teachers and Administrators – Please take a moment to consider this draft proposal for an Ogden Neighborhood Campus Alliance. If the LSC votes to go ahead with the proposed Ogden Jenner merger we need them to select the best plan for what that merger will look like.

THINK DIFFERENT. Make no little plan...make big plans; aim high

This is a big plan. It is not a ‘band aid’ or a quick fix. Its underlying goal is to assure that Ogden’s hallmarks of diversity, programs, facilities and quality of students, faculty and administration can prosper and grow. It is a plan to improve the educational opportunities for all our students – next year and for the future. It envisions new opportunities and makes space for opportunities that have not yet been imagined. It aspires to be a living model for education for our community, for Chicago and beyond.

A New Lakeview East/River North School

ONCA has reached out to the Magellan Company and Magellan CO CEO and long time Ogden supporter Joel Carlins and received their public recommitment to provide the ‘core and shell’ for a school that was part of the original Lakeview East plan. Mr. Carlins and Magellan have also committed to help get public and private support for a new school

The ONCA plan is not finished. We need your input and ideas. And – if you like where were going we need your support. Please let us know what you’re thinking – what you like or don’t like. Let us know if you can help – tell your friends.


And please show your support by endorsing the proposal at:


42nd Ward

Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly
325 W. Huron Street, Suite 510
Chicago, IL 60654

THINK DIFFERENT, make big plans and aim high.

Please help make this plan the Ogden/Jenner plan

Thank you.

The ONCA Task Force

Ogden Neighborhood Campus Alliance

Neighborhood Schools and a World Class High School Campus

a proposal to envision the best educational future for ALL Ogden community students

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood…Make big plans; aim high Daniel Burnham



Two issues are at the heart of the proposed Ogden Jenner merger - anticipated overcrowding at Ogden and under-utilization of the facilities at Jenner. Related issues include growth and change in surrounding neighborhoods and CPS/City of Chicago plans.


Neighborhood Schools - Craft a solution that best creates neighborhood schools.

Balanced Enrollment/Less Movement - Envision a solution that has fewer classes at any given age, creates better opportunities for younger and older students to interact - and a doesn't move children (and families - especially those with 2 or more children) between schools every 4 years.

Environmentally Responsible and Safer - Maximize opportunities to walk or bike to school - minimize need for driving, busing and public transportation. Encourage older students to safely use public transportation, walking and biking.

Facility Optimization - With input from CPS and professionals, assess the highest and best use of each building, taking into account opportunities for renovation, expansion, future demands, planning, and proximity to nearby CPS and public resources and transportation

Comprehensive Plan - Assure the Ogden proposal takes into consideration planning of adjacent (and area) neighborhoods, City and CPS objectives for the near term and future. Assure that the planning uses the best data and forecasting of growth and change.

Educational Opportunity – Fully support existing programs - and explore and envision new educational opportunities for all students and families.

Community Planning and Process - Opt Out Provision – the CPS, LSC’s and area communities should be fully engaged in all aspects of the process. Should programs, staffing and/or funds necessary to assure a successful merger not be available or not agreed upon, the Ogden and Jenner Communities and/or LSCs can postpone or opt out of the proposed merger


This new proposal envisions two phases:

Phase One - Creates two Ogden Elementary Schools and a new, state of the art High School for the 2016-2017 school year. Ogden East would serve the elementary students in the northern neighborhoods of the current Ogden district and Ogden West the students in the southern and southwest neighborhoods. Jenner would house the new Ogden International High School. Ogden West facilities will be improved - interior finishes, lighting, landscaping, etc.

Phase Two - Creates a third Elementary School to serve the Lakeshore East/River North (Lakeshore East Elementary) neighborhood and creates a world class High School Campus that builds alliances between Ogden International High, Walter Payton College Prep and a new state of the art, high tech center for both vocational and advanced high tech training housed in existing and new area CPS facilities. The proposed campus takes advantage of existing CPS and Chicago Park District recreational facilities and opens the door to new alliances with tech industries in the area, opportunities to create student 'farms' and food programs, sports, enrichment and Arts programs, etc.

This proposal addresses the anticipated near term and future problems while laying the groundwork for a bold, new vision for education for the Ogden community and for Chicago.

Neighborhood Schools

It is a stretch to call Ogden Elementary a 'neighborhood school'. With boundaries spanning from North Avenue to Millennium Park and Lake Michigan to the Chicago River it is hard to drive, let alone walk, from one end to the other. These boundaries may have worked 25 years ago when fewer families lived in the area - but they are untenable today and, in many ways, at the heart of the immediate issues.

Phase One is a first step towards creating 'neighborhood schools' based on proximity while maintaining, and improving, the opportunities and high educational standards of Ogden Elementary. Realizing a new Elementary School called for in Phase Two, will undoubtedly benefit from the combined Ogden community ‘voice’ and our compelling comprehensive vision/plan. Phase One and Two together will truly create an alliance of Ogden 'neighborhood' schools that can enrich each other through shared vision, resources, programs and administration.

Balanced Enrollment/Less Movement

Most parents would agree that the current situation of 6-8 kindergarten, 1st grade, second and third grade classes at each level is chaotic, if not dangerous. Balancing the class distribution not only solves this problem, it increases opportunities for students of wider age ranges to interact and learn from one another. Perhaps even more important, younger students won't move between schools and neighborhoods so often - and families with children of different ages won't find themselves or their children shuttling between multiple schools.

Environmentally Responsible and Safer

Creating real neighborhood schools maximizes the opportunities for students and parents to walk or ride bikes to school. Jenner school is at the extreme Northwest corner of the Ogden area. Utilizing it as the high school enables older students, those most capable to safely utilize public transportation, buses - or walk and ride bikes as weather permits. The wonderful Park District facilities and potentially available open areas hold out opportunities for beautiful landscaped grounds and walks between facilities, community farming programs, new athletic facilities, etc. Ogden West campus existing outdoor spaces (and spaces that are vacant or underutilized) can be beautifully landscaped and repurposed for use by elementary age students.

Facility Optimization – Program Alliances

Ogden West and East were both originally conceived and built to be elementary schools. The scale of the buildings, the facilities themselves and outdoor spaces are best suited for younger students. Jenner School is much better suited in terms of scale and facilities for High School Students. It can better accommodate science, arts and athletic needs of a High School. It is also the only facility of the three that has any opportunities for expansion.

Perhaps best, the new Ogden International High School is just over a block away from Walter Payton, and is adjacent to other underutilized CPS facilities and wonderful Park District facilities. It is easy to envision a 'state of the art' High School Campus that takes advantages of a range of facilities and programs. One that encourages students at Walter Payton to take advantage of classes and programs at Ogden International and vice versa - perhaps a combined orchestra or music program, or new combined theater and performing arts center. Combined sports teams, debate teams, student organizations are a possibility as are links to programs at nearby universities and institutions, How about a new stop on the Brown Line!!! With a high tech research and training facility, community farms and facilities like tennis courts, climbing walls a swimming pool – safe, beautifully landscaped grounds - a real campus starts to take shape.

Comprehensive Plan

Phase One can happen as fast as necessary. Phase Two, the real vision, will take real planning, coordination and development. ONCA has already reached out to Magellan Company and received their public recommitment to provide the ‘core and shell’ for a school that was part of the original plan. They have also committed to help get public and private support for a new school.

Phase two may take a few years - but elements (combined programs and shared facilities with Walter Payton) can happen quickly. Most importantly, the planning process has to include everyone in the expanded Ogden community, CPS, the Park District and the City of Chicago. It should solve short term and long term needs, coordinate with neighboring school districts and bolding envision the future

Educational Opportunity

Creating the best educational opportunities for everyone in the Ogden community – today and tomorrow - is our goal.

Community Planning – Approval Process - Opt Out Provision

CPS, LSCs, Ogden and Jenner administration and communities should agree on a process and schedule to determine and approve programs, staff and funding necessary to assure a successful merger. Regular public forums and workshops where the Ogden and Jenner communities and representatives of CPS can explore, discuss and evaluate programs and funding should be a central part of the process. All studies, information and alternates considered for the merger should be readily available to the whole community and public.

Should programs, staffing and/or funds necessary to assure a successful merger not be available or not agreed upon, the Ogden or Jenner Communities and LSCs can postpone or opt out of the proposed merger

Join Us – More Information

For more information or to volunteer to help

Please contact ONCA Team Lead - Brett Cochrane


THANK YOUthe Ogden Neighborhood Campus Alliance

Brett Cochrane

Rashida Kharkhariwala

Tracy Meredith

Danilo Knezic

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