Comings and goings

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AT CLARK STREET Al Bertani, executive director of the professional development affiliate of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, has been named chief officer of professional development, a new position created by CEO Arne Duncan. He will oversee five smaller units, including teacher recertification and the National Teaching Academy. Olivia Watkins, who had been appointed the director of professional development in August, is now the special projects officer reporting to Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins. … Grace Troccolo left her position as director of service learning to become program director for Greencorps Chicago, a division of the City of Chicago Department of Environment that works with neighborhoods to build community gardens. A new director for service learning has not yet been named.

MOVING IN/MOVING ON Pat Ford, formerly program director of Chicago Annenberg Challenge, was named executive director the new Chicago High School Redesign Initiative, an $18.2 million effort to subdivide five troubled high schools into clusters of small schools. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded CPS a five-year, $12 million grant for the project; matching funds from six Chicago-area foundations provided the rest. Beginning Dec. 3, the Redesign Initiative will distribute requests for proposals to high schools. For more information, call (312) 372-3356. … Dana Lossia, a recent graduate of Northwestern University and AmeriCorps’ Public Allies, will head up communications and LSC election outreach for Chicago School Leadership Cooperative. Charmaine Hamer, previously program director of the West Humbolt Park Family Community Council, also joins the cooperative as an organizer and trainer.

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTS John H. Lewis, former assistant principal at Hope College Prep School, is now contract principal at Libby. He replaces Beverly Blake, who retired this summer. … Christine T. Munns, former assistant principal at Sauganash, is now contract principal. She replaces interim principal Rafael Sanchez. … Philistine Tweedle, former interim principal at Beasley Academy, is now contract principal. … Olga LaLuz, principal at Chase, and Noble L. Pearce, principal at Attucks, have had their contracts renewed. … Based on the recommendations of a hearing officer, Noreen Nagle, who was removed from Prosser High School in October 1995, was officially dismissed as a principal employed by the Chicago Board of Education. Nagle had been reassigned after the board declared Prosser was in educational crisis. At the same time, published reports alleged that Nagle had changed failing grades of the LSC chairman’s daughter.

LSC ELECTIONS Parents, community residents and teachers who are interested in running for a seat on the local school council may register to be candidates beginning Dec. 3. Forms are available at schools through the LSC election coordinator. Candidates must be over 18 and have two forms of identification, however U.S. citizenship is not required. Nominations will be open through Mar. 8; elections will be held May 1 and 2. … A training session on principal evaluation and selection, sponsored by Chicago School Leadership Cooperative and Pencil, will be held at 111 N. Wabash Avenue on Dec. 8 at 10 a.m at. LSCs may earn credit for participating. For information call (312) 499-4800. … A breakfast for business leaders interested in getting involved with education, sponsored by the Union League Club, will be held Dec. 11 at 7:30 a.m. Call (312) 499-4800 for more information. … LSCs from 17 schools were selected as finalists in the first citywide competition to determine which councils are doing the most to improve their schools. Six schools will be named winners of the “Gold Star” awards, which will include a $3,000 prize and public recognition at a ceremony to be held Jan. 31. Finalists are LSC members at: Lake View High, Blaine, Hawthorne, Falconer, Nash, Mozart, Gladstone, Galileo, Jones Magnet High, Daley, Murray, Telpochcalli, Dawes, Tesla Alternative High, Mireles, White and Poe. The competition is sponsored by the Chicago Successful Schools Project and a steering committee of civic, community and school representatives; awards are underwritten by the Polk Bros. Foundation and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

LAWSUIT SETTLED CPS entered into a $300,000 settlement agreement with Steve Newton Jr., the former principal of Marshall High School who built a $14,000 private shower and toilet in his office at board expense. The school board removed Newton in 1996, alleging that he interfered with interim management team installed at Marshall to move the school off of probation. After a hearing, the Board declared that an “educational crisis” existed at Marshall, a finding under Illinois law that permits the board to fire the principal. Newton brought a federal suit against the school board claiming that his removal was a violation of his right to due process and a breach of contact. The case was settled in federal appellate court on Aug. 31.

PROMOTION POLICY The board approved an amended high school promotion policy at its October meeting. The new policy stipulates that all students must take core subject classes in English, math, science and social science and must pass at least three of them both semesters to be promoted. It also sets minimum standards for credits earned and outlines penalties for unexcused absences and failed final exams. For example, a student who has unexcused absences for 20 percent or more classes in a particular subject will fail the course and will not receive credit. Special guidelines are noted for bilingual and learning disabled students. Summer school students can receive no more than two credits. Principals can appeal to the Chief Education Officer for exemptions to the new policy, considering factors such as student health, family situation and prior academic record. The new policy will become effective for 9th, 10th and 11th graders when the second semester begins on Feb. 4.

AWARDS Nurturing Teacher Leadership, the Quest Center’s support program for CPS teachers seeking national board certification, won a Distinguished Partnership Award from the Saturn Corporation. … Barbara Taylor Bowman, president and co-founder of the Erikson Institute, has been recognized by the city of Chicago with an honorary street sign at Wabash Avenue and Hubbard Street, where the school is based.

Comings and goings

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MOVING IN/ON Paul Goren has left the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where he served as director of child and youth development, to become vice president of the Spencer Foundation, a Chicago-based foundation that supports education research nationwide. He succeeds John Williams, who is leaving for personal reasons. … In September, Barbara T. Bowman will step down as president at the Erikson Institute, a graduate school in child development, but continue to teach. Bowman founded the institute in 1966 to provide training to Head Start teachers. This will be the institute’s first change in leadership. … Joanne Howard has resigned as deputy director of Designs for Change to join the Lincoln Foundation for Business Excellence as manager of its Illinois Lincoln/Baldridge Excellence in Education Initiative, a model for organizational improvement.

AT CLARK STREET Ana Espinoza, formerly a curriculum director in the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development, is now the department’s interim officer. She replaces John Frantz, who has joined the Charter Schools Office to monitor the educational performance of charter schools.

AT CITY HALL Following Catalyst’s February issue on suggested successors to Paul Vallas —at the time he was weighing a bid for governor—the Chicago Sun-Times profiled B. J. Walker, a deputy chief of staff for Mayor Daley. “Some observers wonder whether [she] could be the heir apparent as schools CEO,” wrote reporters Fran Spielman and Rosalind Rossi. They quoted Walker as saying she had no interest in the job. Formerly deputy director of the North Central Regional Education Laboratory, Walker took over the education portfolio for the mayor following the departure of Philip Jackson. Before going to work at City Hall, she was director of community operations for the Illinois Department of Human Services. She is married to Chicago Aviation Commissioner Thomas Walker.

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTS Interim principals Annie Comacho of Northwest Middle School and Roy C. White of Williams Elementary have received contracts. Teretha J. Walton, contract principal at Willa Cather Elementary, had her contract renewed. Betty Carlvin, an assistant principal at Dewey Academy, is now the school’s contract principal.

RETIREMENTS Camille E. Chase, 29-year principal of McPherson Elementary, has retired from the school. She will continue to serve as a probation manager and a coach in LIFT, a professional development program for new principals. Assistant Principal Carmen Gianfrontoni is serving as interim principal. … Mable McClendon has retired as principal of Mollison Elementary. Assistant Principal Wilhelmina Kenan is serving as interim principal. … Barbara H. Valerious, 14-year principal of the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences and a 45-year veteran of CPS, has retired. Solomon Humphries, assistant principal at Einstein Elementary and a graduate of the LAUNCH principal training program, is serving as interim principal. Valerious will stay on two days a week as a consultant.

HONORS AND AWARDS Linda Smentek, technology director and teacher at Hayt Elementary, received the Technology Educator of the Year Award for 2001 from AT&T and Illinois Computing Educators. Since joining the Hayt staff in 1997, Smentek has rebuilt a computer lab, developed an on-line newspaper and a technology bulletin and initiated a program to involve teachers and students in curriculum-based projects. … The College Board honored Morgan Park High School as one of seven 2001 Inspiration Award winners nationwide. Given for the first time this year, the award recognizes neighborhood high schools for boosting the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses and going on to college. Winning schools receive $10,000 to use for any purpose that promotes students’ access to higher learning. … Five CPS teachers have been selected as finalists for the Kohl-McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Awards. They are Clare Billingham of Otis, Adell Brock of Swift, Martha Dominguez-Diaz of Ortiz De Dominguez, and Julia Scranton-Snyder of Murray.

CORRECTION: The March issue’s Comings & Goings erred in reporting the name of the retiring director of school intervention. The correct name is Albert E. Foster, Jr.

Comings and Goings

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BOARD CONSULTANTS The School Board has retained Vernon Jarrett, a former Chicago Sun-Times columnist and WLS-TV talk-show host, to produce a monthly live call-in show, “Talk-to-the Chief Executive Officer,” which will feature Paul Vallas and other CPS staff. Jarrett will also publish short stories of children, review curricula and implement projects such as the Freedom Readers program. The contract cannot exceed $70,000 for a five-month period…. L. B. Stanton Consulting, Inc., the consulting company of Laurence Stanton, former executive director of the Beverly Area Planning Association, has been retained to help the Office of Accountability monitor Goals 2000 grants and develop new sources of foundation revenue. Spending will not exceed $25,000 over four months. … The board extended its contract with James D. Flanagan, a former School Board member, who is working to reestablish a principals’ advisory committee on management information systems. The board also agreed to increase spending on this project from $10,000 to $20,000.

MORE CONSULTANTS KPMG Peat Marwick will provide investigative and forensic services from March 1, 1999 to August 31, 1999 to assist the Office of the Inspector General. Spending is limited to $150,000. … The board increased the maximum spending—to $450,000 from $150,000—on a joint effort of Pinnacle Research, Inc. and Thatcher and Associates, LLC, to provide investigative services to the Office of the Inspector General. The firms will focus on the capital improvement program, providing architects to survey and assess construction work. They will assist with investigations in such areas as over-billing, inferior material schemes, false invoicing and other contract-related frauds that result in significant construction costs.

MOVING IN/ON Patricia Harvey, former chief accountability officer for CPS, has been named the superintendent of St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools, which enrolls some 50,000 students. Harvey will begin the position April 15. Salary: $155,000. … George Schmidt, a tenured teacher at Bowen High and the editor of Substance newspaper, has been suspended pending a dismissal hearing for allegedly misusing School Board property. Schmidt also faces a federal lawsuit for breach of copyright after publishing questions from the recent CASE pilot exams in Substance. The board contends Schmidt inflicted $1 million in damages. … Rick Larison, a former special assistant to Paul Vallas, will serve as the director of the Office of Statewide Performance Review, part of a year-long effort by Gov. George Ryan to evaluate the state’s executive agencies, programs, laws and regulations and develop an approach to deal with the state’s future needs.

PRINCIPALS The following have been appointed interim principals: Judith Adams, N. Jefferson, formerly the assistant principal there, and Carlos Muñoz, N. Davis, formerly acting principal there. The following interim principals have received four-year contracts: Allice Collins, Spaulding High & Elementary, Sherry A. Gage-West, Stagg; Robert E. Lewis, Bryn Mawr; Patricia Walsh, Earhart; and Michael M. Woods, Cook County Alternative High School. The following assistant principals have received contracts: Craig P. Ergang, G. Washington Elementary, and Verastine Wardlaw, Parkman. … The contract of Principal Norma Rodriguez of Washington High School has been renewed.

BILINGUAL COMMITTEE OVERHAUL The School Board has converted an elected bilingual education advisory council into one with a board-appointed majority. The Chicago Multilingual Parents Council (CMPC,) which had seven elected members, will now have nine elected members and 12 appointed by the board. Under the old membership, the CMPC, which has no decision-making authority, opposed a new board policy limiting the time a student can spend in bilingual classrooms to three years. Members had been elected by the presidents of each school’s bilingual advisory committee; six of the seven were Spanish-speaking. Appointing members will allow for broader representation on the council, the board contends. “What we’re after is not pure democracy,” School Board President Gery Chico said at the board’s February meeting, “We’re looking for input from diverse groups.” Pointing to his colleagues, he said, “We weren’t voted in, but I think we do OK.” The board also appoints a majority of the members on its Local School Council Advisory Committee.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION RULES Under a new board policy, the first hour of public participation at board meetings will be devoted to a single topic, and the second hour will be used for general issues. Individuals interested in participating must register in person at least half an hour before public participation, providing their names and addresses, the names and addresses of the groups they represent and the topic they will be discussing. Presentations will continue to be limited to 2 minutes.

NATIONAL TEACHER ACADEMY Six sites are under consideration for the National Teachers Academy of Chicago, according to the March 10 issue of UIC News, published by the University of Illinois at Chicago. Four sites are on campus: a 10.1-acre site on Roosevelt Road between Morgan and Halsted just south of Science and Engineering South, an 8.4-acre site on Harrison just west of the Behavioral Sciences Building, a 6.7-acre site on Harrison between Halsted and Morgan, and a 5.1-acre site at the southeast corner of Halsted and Taylor. Two sites are off campus: a 13.9-acre site between Racine and Morgan south of 14th Place and a 12.6-acre site in the Jane Addams public housing complex on Taylor and Racine streets.

The academy, a joint venture of CPS, UIC and the Golden Apple Foundation, will enroll students in kindergarten through 12th grade and serve as a teaching laboratory where “exemplary teachers” mentor colleagues and student teachers, the newspaper reported. “This is a unique partnership that will give UIC national visibility, be a benefit to our faculty and be an anchor for development in the area,” said UIC Chancellor David Broski. … Currently, the academy’s task force includes Victoria Chou, Mary Bey and Norma Lopez-Reyna from UIC, Molly Carroll from the Chicago Teachers Union Quest Center, Diane Grigsby-Jackson from CPS and Dominic Belmonte and Peg Cain of the Golden Apple Foundation, according to Cain.

WORKSHOPS The Teachers’ Task Force will offer a workshop April 29 on strategic planning for teachers and administrators. Two three-day sessions are scheduled for “Curriculum Development and Alignment: Moving Toward a Standards-Based Curriculum,” June 28-30 and Aug. 9-11. Advance registration required. Early sign-up advised. Call Melissa McGowan (312) 986-9238 for a registration form. … The Teachers Academy for Math and Science will offer “Internet: Contributing and Collaborating,” on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 8 through May 6. The workshops will be held at TAMS Learning Technologies Laboratory, 3424 S. State. It will offer “Basic Learning Technologies in the Classroom—Windows” on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 6 through May 4. The workshops will be held at Thurgood Marshall Middle School, 3900 N. Lawndale. For more information, call ( 312) 949-2529 or see

CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP At press time, Bowen High School’s chess team had secured a spot in the state tournament. Bowen’s team, coached by math teacher Robbie Singer, finished first in the All-City Public High School Chess Championship. Senn High placed second, Whitney Young third, and Hyde Park fourth. About 100 teams from across the state will compete; Bowen enters the competition ranked fourth.

Comings and goings

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MOVING IN/ON Marlene Scott, assistant manager for development of the Executive Service Corps, has been named education practice manager for the organization. Clara Pate continues as an educational consultant to the group. … Cynthia Humes, principal of Sexton Elementary, has retired.

AWARD WINNER Terrance O’Callaghan Jones, an 8th-grade social studies teacher at Trumbull Elementary, has been named Teacher of the Year by the Chicago Academy of Sciences for using outside resources and computer technology to enhance his students’ education and is also being added to the Association of Science and Technology Centers’ 1997 National Honor Roll.

QUEST CONFERENCE Linda Darling Hammond, executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, will be the keynote speaker at the annual conference of the Chicago Teachers Union Quest Center, “What Matters Most: Education and Chicago’s Future.” The conference will be held May 9 and 10 at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, 350 N. Orleans. For registration fees and other information, call Leticia Martinez at (312) 329-6272.

SMALL SCHOOLS TEACHERS On May 17, the Small Schools Teachers Leadership Academy will conduct a miniconference for small schools teachers as part of an ongoing program of teacher-directed professional development. For more information, call (773) 762-2341.

RELIGION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS The American Jewish Committee, DePaul University College of Law and the Illinois Principals Association are hosting an inquiry into “Finding the Appropriate Role for Religion in the Public Schools,” May 13, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., DePaul University, O’Hare campus, 3166 River Rd., Des Plaines. Cost: $25. For more information, call (312) 251-8800.

INTERNET TRAINING FOR LSCs In May, free Internet training continues for local school council members at various locations around the city. The training is a joint project of AT&T, Information Technology Resource Center, Chicago Education Network and Leadership for Quality Education. Dates and locations for training sessions in May are:

May 6 Edgewater Community Council at Pierce School

May 8 Eden Green Co-op

May 10 Homan Square Business Center/Montgomery & Co.

May 13 South Central Community Center

May 15 Centers for New Horizons

May 17 Indo-American Center

May 21 South Central Community Center

May 22 Midwest Community Council

May 29 Hyde Park Co-Op

For more information and to preregister, call (800) 544-2899.