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Save Old Town School 12/11 Newsletter  

December 11th, 2018

Hello Save Old Town School Community!

The big news since our last newsletter is that the Old Town School’s board of directors has decided to delay putting 909 W. Armitage on the market until at least March 31.  It’s an indication that that the board and administration are listening to the many voices calling on them to rethink the sale of the building and open a dialogue with the community about the School’s financial and enrollment challenges.

The decision was announced the same day as four representatives of Save Old Town School met with two board members and the School’s acting executive director to discuss ways of involving the community in the School’s future decisions.  We learned that the School plans to form three “working groups” -- focusing on enrollment, communications and “909 alternatives” -- that will include staff, teachers, students and board members.

Conversations are continuing with acting executive director Rashida Phillips, and Jim Newcomb, a board member appointed as special advisor to the administration.  We hope we’ll have more to say about those conversations soon.

In the meantime, Save Old Town School is continuing to move ahead in forming committees to conduct research and make recommendations on ways to improve the School.  More on the committee structure below!

You may also be interested to know, if you didn’t hear already, that the Old Town Teachers Organization has moved forward with plans to affiliate as a union with the Illinois Federation of Teachers.  On Dec. 10, the teachers’ group submitted paperwork needed for a faculty vote to take place, and said it will ask the School to voluntarily recognize the union as the bargaining representative for the teachers.

Representatives of Save Old Town School have met with OTTO leaders to share information and discuss areas of mutual interest, most recently on Dec. 9th.

Jump to:

Save Old Town School Community 
Town Hall Meeting 

We held a Town Hall Meeting on Saturday December 1st at Sulzer Regional Library for our community to organize, voice our questions and opinions, and share our love for the School. It was wonderful for our community to connect in person and we hope to be able to do it again!

Please find a recap of the Town Hall Meeting and answers to some of the questions posed on our website. We have created a second blog post with the downloaded meeting video and additional community commentary from the meeting as well.


Take Our Survey!
Please help us gather data about the OTS community to surface to the Board. 

SOTS community member Heidi also created a survey on deterrents to signing up for classes. Please help gather data on this by taking her survey here!
OTS Staff and Teacher Shout Out!

Have a teacher or OTS staff member who's impacted your life? Show your appreciation this week by giving a shout out to the folks who keep the folk music playing!  Post a message praising them on social media, bring them treats in person, or even send a note telling their boss what a good job they are doing!  

If you want to send a note to the administration praising a staff or faculty member you can find contact info for specific managers on the OTS website here.

First Friday Revisited


#whatOTSmeans Video Campaign
We want to know #whatOTSmeans to you!  
  1. Film a 1-2 minute video telling us what OTS has meant in your life.  Please film horizontally so they're all the same.
  2. Upload the video to our dropbox so that we can share your footage.  You do not need to have dropbox in order to use this link - just click and go!
  3. Post your video on social media, share on the Save Old Town School group as well as your own page, and please use #whatOTSmeans.  
Tell us how the School has changed your life, about the people you've met, the teachers who have inspired you, or how music has made a difference.

Details here: 
Committees and Other Ways to Help

WE NEED YOUR HELP! If you have some time to spare, let us know and our Community Outreach team will guide you on specific tasks. 

We currently need people to help with our forthcoming enrollment campaign by visiting School locations and classes next week. More details coming soon, but let us know if you'll have some time next week to help! 


We are finalizing details for our committees that will support the OTS working groups ("Enrollment", "909 Alternatives", and "Communication"). The following is a preliminary list of committees (subject to change). Each committee will need 2 co-chairs, a secretary, and members - let us know if you're interested in participating in any way! More info coming in the next week.

  • Community Outreach Committee
  • Development/Revenue Committee 
  • Enrollment/Retention Planning Committee
  • Marketing/Communications Committee
  • Financial Committee
  • Fundraising/Endowment Committee
  1. Donor/Artist Outreach Liaison - (1) on Community Outreach Committee
  2. Media/Outreach Liaison - (1) on Communications/Marketing Committee
  3. Volunteer Coordinator (1-3) on Community Outreach Committee
  4. OTTO Liaison - (1) - on Communications/Marketing Committee

If you want to help, please email

Thank you so much for your time and help!
Save Old Town School in the News

We've rounded up news stories and coverage about the School. Some recent stories:

December 11th
            Old Town School teachers file for union representation after sale put on pause

December 4th December 3rd
  • WBBM News Radio
    Old Town School Of Folk Music Hits Pause Button On Building Sale
November 30th
  • Block Club Chicago
    Students Meet With Old Town School Of Folk Leadership, Say They Want To Help School Save Armitage Building

For all news stories, visit our site.

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Save the Old Town School · 515 Elmwood Ave · Evanston, IL 60202-2813 · USA

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