Just under 300 CPS teachers at the six turnaround schools faced the same dilemma this spring: Reapply for jobs at their schools, or go elsewhere.

Only 38 teachers were rehired. That sent about 245 teachers into the job market.


Among the three schools to be run by Academy for Urban School Leadership, Orr Academy High School rehired 22 of its 103 teachers—about half of those who applied. Morton Elementary retained just two teachers, and Howe Elementary has cleaned its slate.


Amy Ellifritz, an English teacher at Mose Vines—one of the now-shuttered small high schools at Orr—is one of the teachers who went elsewhere. 


At first, she reapplied for her job even though her “heart wasn’t really in it.” When she didn’t get the job, she quickly regrouped and landed on her feet at Little Village Lawndale High School.


“Everybody was really understanding,” Ellifritz says. “They were still interested to know what I had done at Orr and how successful I’d been.”


Details on faculty retention are sketchy for the three turnarounds that the district is overseeing. Data available now for Harper High School, Fulton and Copernicus “is strictly unofficial and an estimate,” according to Nancy Slavin, the district’s director of teacher recruitment.


Tenured and fourth-year teachers who are leaving turnaround schools are eligible for reassignment, which allows them to work for a year as substitutes at their current pay and benefits as they seek a permanent teaching assignment.


A spokeswoman for the Chicago Teachers Union says it posts job openings for displaced teachers.  “There are a lot of people that we find that are losing jobs at turnarounds that shouldn’t be let go,”  says spokewoman Rosemaria Genova. “Most teachers that are being displaced have excellent and superior ratings.” 

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