In a few years, more Chicago public schools could be patterned after Flower Vocational High School on the West Side, where students operate six businesses and are mentored by a hotel chain, a credit union and a host of other area enterprises.
Or they could look more like the Inter-American Magnet School on the North Side, where teachers have managed to set aside several hours every week to discuss methods to make their lessons more fun for students. Or they might resemble Woodson South School on the South Side, where education students from the University of Illinois at Chicago volunteer as classroom aides, helping to prevent students from falling through the cracks by increasing the number of teachers available to them.
At least that's how school reformers see the future now that the Annenberg Foundation has awarded the Chicago Public Schools $49.2 million. And, with 2-to-1 matching grants that will come from public and private donors, the financially strapped system could eventually reap up to $147.6 million.