Chicago Public Schools (CPS) closed an historic number of schools in 2013. To contextualize these actions, the report provides an autopsy of a school closed in 2012, Simon Guggenheim Elementary School, by analyzing the systemic obstacles to school improvement and the chaos that materialized after the school was announced for closure. This report also examines the school culture, resource deficiencies, and holistic improvements at Jacob Beidler Elementary School, a school that narrowly avoided school actions in 2013 after being proposed for consolidation two years prior. This report uses testimony from teachers, staff, administrators and community leaders to provide a much-needed examination of the causes and effects of school actions at Guggenheim and the culture of fear created by closure threats at Beidler. Through these case studies, this report identifies the barriers to improvement that schools threatened with closure face, and examines how CPS addresses these difficulties. This report investigates the supports available at schools fearing closure and lists the additional resources that could help them succeed. These case studies also study the effectiveness of CPS transition plans and the value of community input at school actions hearings. Each element of these case studies is based on testimony or evidence from multiple sources.