Taft LSC discusses memorial for veterans, new indoor pool
by BRIAN NADIG
The Taft High School Local School Council at its March 14 meeting discussed the installation of a veterans memorial on school grounds and the possibility of a new indoor pool.
"If you’re a veteran and went to Taft, you’re going to have your name on this," Taft principal Mark Grishaber said. The memorial, which will be located on the north side of the school, will include a fountain and a "Taft eagle" overlooking the names, he said.
The project is expected to cost $30,000, with most of the funds coming from a raffle which Taft U.S. Naval Junior ROTC cadets are holding, Grishaber said. The school also has asked the Taft Alumni Association to contribute toward the project, he said.
Grishaber also reported that the school system would be drawing up plans for a new pool which would be constructed near the southwest corner of the school. He said that funds have not been allocated for the construction and that the school will have to work on a fund-raising plan.
The current pool is not regulation size for competition, hampering the ability of Taft’s swimmers to practice properly, Grishaber said. "We took fourth with a bathtub, and it’s not fair," he said.
Also at the meeting, it was announced that Taft’s projected enrollment for the 2017-18 school year is 3,400 students, up from 3,297 this year. In 2000, the school’s enrollment was 1,500.
Grishaber cautioned that the projection could be low because it does not take into account recent news that Luther North High School, 5700 W. Berteau Ave., is closing.
He added plans for several new apartment complexes on the Far Northwest Side also could affect enrollment figures in a couple of years.
Chicago Public Schools is planning to build a new high school near Irving Park Road and Oak Park Avenue which is expected to help relieve overcrowding at Taft. Plans call for it to serve as a freshman campus for Taft, although some residents in the Dunning area have said that it should be a new 4-year high school.
The increasing popularity of Taft among local families is evident by the fact that 18 eighth graders at Edison Park School this year applied for Taft’s international baccalaureate diploma program, Grishaber said. The figure is up significantly from a few years ago, he said.
To accommodate the increased enrollment, a portion of the multi-purpose room, where the council holds most of its meetings, and the library may be to be used for classrooms, Grishaber said.
It also was reported that the school has begun issuing pink slips to late-arriving students in the morning. The students are given 4 minutes to get to class and are required to give the slip to their teacher.
Grishaber said that the policy was implemented because students were hanging out in the hallways instead of immediately proceeding to class. Concerns were raised at the meeting that it was taking too long for the slips to be issued, causing further delays in students getting to class.
"The pink slip is working because the kids do not want that pink slip," said LSC teacher representative Ann Gore. She said that ultimately the most effective tool for getting students to class is that "they want to be there. That’s the point of teaching."
Grishaber said that teachers have discretion in how they handle tardiness. He said that if he were a teacher, he would tell tardy students how they "add value to the class everyday" and then meet with the parent if the problem were to continue.
The next LSC meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 4.