After months of intense fighting between officials and activists about whether or not to close Crane High School, Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard has signed on to a plan to keep the school open.

Under the new plan, Crane will switch from a neighborhood high school to a student-training academy for medical industry jobs. Chicago Journal first broke this story on Feb. 17.

It’s being billed as a collaboration between CPS officials and the Crane Coalition, a group of teachers and community members who have been fighting for months to keep the school open.

“We are excited about the new direction for Crane and the chance to give students on the Near West Side greater access to high quality education,” Brizard said.

Brizard, however, told Chicago Journal this past November that Crane’s low graduation rate and 10 years on academic probation were unacceptable.

The roadmap going forward is still unclear, but is expected to be hammered out by a task force of parents, CPS staff, local elected officials and community members. The current Crane High School will still be phased out, but the new “health sciences” school is scheduled to in 2013.

The Chicago Board of Education voted on the proposal on Feb. 22.

Read more about the new Crane High School at

-Ben Meyerson