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Photo care of the Ogden-Jenner School

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Photo care of the Ogden-Jenner School

Edward Jenner Elementary Academy of the Arts

Jenner Elementary opened in the mid-twentieth century in the middle of the Cabrini-Green housing projects. For decades, students and teachers at Jenner faced repeated tragedies due to the violence in, and City disinvestment of, Cabrini. However, throughout and beyond the 11 years it took to fully demolish Cabrini-Green some displaced families chose long commutes back to Jenner over enrolling their kids in new schools because of the community it fostered.

In 2013, nearby Manierre Elementary was slated to close with Jenner as the welcoming school. Manierre parents mounted a strong and ultimately successful campaign to save their school; they questioned the district’s intentions to redirect their children to another predominantly Black, lower-performing school (by CPS standards) when other high-performing, racially diverse schools in the area were under-enrolled. Additionally, Manierre and Jenner had long, deep-seated rivalries that presented serious safety issues. In a deposition for a federal lawsuit over the 2013 school closings, then-Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley said CPS officials didn’t consider the possibility of sending Manierre students to higher-performing schools because of Jenner’s “terrific facility that had a lot of room for Manierre kids.”

As Jenner's enrollment continued to drop due to the displacement of Cabrini-Green families, another nearby school - Ogden International - was facing chronic under-enrollment. Despite being less than a mile apart, the two schools have exemplified the long tale of two cities that is Chicago, as Ogden’s campus is nestled among the mansions on the the Gold Coast. But instead of having a district action imposed on them, the Ogden and Jenner communities spent several years working through potential challenges and organizing internally to ultimately merge the two schools beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

Ultimately, the merger made Jenner Chicago’s first public housing school to be integrated in the city's history.

Researched by Jenna Pollack

TIMELINE

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Quick Facts

Address: 1119 N Cleveland Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60610

School Type: Neighborhood

Neighborhood: Cabrini-Green / Near North Side

Jenner Student Body in 2017-18 School Year: 99% Black, 14% Special Education, 88% Free/Reduced Lunch

Ogden Student Body in 2017-18 School Year: 23% White, 37% Black, 35% Hispanic, 5% Asian; 10% Special Education; 54% Free/Reduced Lunch

Student Body in Merged School in 2021-22 School Year:

Zoning: PD 695

Design by Zhilin Cai

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Image from Britannica

About Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner (1749-1823) is known for his innovative contribution to immunization and the ultimate eradication of smallpox. Jenner's work is widely regarded as the foundation of immunology.

 

Jenner was born in Berkeley, Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom. As a child he was inoculated for smallpox, which was a lifelong inspiration for his work. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed for seven years to Mr Daniel Ludlow, a surgeon of Chipping Sodbury. In 1770 he moved to St. George's Hospital in London, to complete his medical training under the great surgeon and experimentalist John Hunter. Hunter quickly recognized Edward's abilities at dissection and investigation, as well as his understanding of plant and animal anatomy. In 1772 at the age of 23, Edward Jenner returned to Berkeley and established himself as the local practitioner and surgeon. Although in later years he established medical practices in London and Cheltenham, Jenner remained essentially a resident of Berkeley for the rest of his life.

Edward Jenner spent much of the rest of his life supplying cowpox material to others around the world and discussing related scientific matters. He was so involved in corresponding about smallpox that he called himself 'the Vaccine Clerk to the World'.

Sources: CBS News, Chalkbeat Chicago, Chicago Reporter, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, Jenner Academy of the Arts, Jenner Institute, National Center for Biotechnology Information, WBEZ,