Comings and goings

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PRINCIPAL CONTRACTS Demetra Kirksey, interim principal at Parkman, was named contract principal. … Principals whose contracts were renewed are: JoMarie Cooper, Oglesby; George Huff, Brownell; Allan J. Singer, Hitch; Gregory Strickler Poe, Mt. Vernon.

APPOINTMENT President George W. Bush has named Sunny Penedo Chico as Midwest regional representative for the U.S. Department of Education. Chico, who is married to former School Board President Gery Chico, will report to Secretary of Education Rod Paige. She previously served as executive director of institutional advancement for Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, Ill., and before that served as education assistant to the Illinois Lt. Governor.

EDUCATIONAL CRISIS The Chicago Board of Education placed Smith Elementary at 744 E. 103rd St. in educational crisis, which by state law allows the board to take over dysfunctional schools and disband the LSC. After hearings in February, the board found that long-standing conflicts between the LSC and Principal Antionette Patton had led to declining academic results and a failure to devise a school improvement plan or budget. Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins will oversee all school expenditures and the school improvement plan through June 30. The board will allow Patton to remain, but it will dissolve the LSC. However, many of the ousted LSC members are slated as candidates in this month’s election.

POLICY The board adopted an amended intervention policy for chronically low-performing schools. The new policy calls for intervention to be phased in over three years, setting annual goals that intervention schools must meet. External partners may also become involved with intervention schools. By contrast, the old policy was imposed on schools at the last minute and did not set academic benchmarks for them to meet. (Last spring, the board suspended intervention when test scores dropped in four of its five intervention schools.) Unchanged are provisions for intervention schools to be led by newly installed interim principals who will assess all staff, and teams of core subject specialists who will work in each school, reporting to the Office of High School Development. Second-year intervention schools will implement board-approved academic plans; third-year schools will get additional staff training and professional development. Teachers who do outstanding work will get financial incentives, and schools that improve will be removed from the program and placed on probation.

CHARTER SCHOOLS Nuestra America Charter High School in West Humboldt Park will close in June; its charter was not renewed due to poor academic performance. (Catalyst Feb. 2002) Only 10.4 percent of its students scored at or above national norms in reading. CPS Director of Charter Schools Greg Richmond says central office will help students get into another high school for the fall, but their first choices are not guaranteed. Nuestra America’s closing means CPS has a slot open for one new charter school. Currently, 14 charter schools are operating in the city; state law allows up to15.

TEACHERS ACADEMY The National Teachers Academy of Chicago, a pet project for Mayor Daley, will open this fall, a year later than originally scheduled. The Teachers Academy will serve 850 students in pre-kindergarten to 5th grade with plans to expand through 8th grade. The $47 million school, located at 55 W. Cermak Rd., aims to be a laboratory for teacher training, with a full-time faculty comprised of National Board-certified teachers or those working toward certification. A high school based on the same model is expected to open in 2003 in a site yet to be determined.

AWARDS Two seniors from Mather High won academic scholarships worth about $90,000 in the “Who Wants to Win a Scholarship?” competition on April 4 against students from nine Chicago area high schools. Olga Kolovskaya plans to attend Loyola University; Mohammed Ahmed is going to DePaul University. The contest, in which students answered academic questions a la the TV game show, was sponsored by Chicago GEAR UP Alliance, a partnership of universities, business groups and CPS, which received a five-year, $31 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. GEAR UP is an acronym for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.

SMALL SCHOOLS CPS will host a Small Schools Expo at the Field Museum of Natural History on May 9 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. More than 60 small schools will present their programs, including new schools slated to open this fall. For more information call the Office of Small Schools at (773) 553-1438.

CAPITAL BUDGET Beginning this month, CPS will hold a series of capital budget hearings where school and LSC leaders are invited to testify about their building and facility needs. One hearing will be held in each region at the following locations: Region 1, Clinton, May 6; Region 2, Wells High, May 16; Region 3, Clark Middle, May 30; Region 4, Davis, May 9; Region 5, Harper High, May 13; Region 6, Lavizzo, June 4. All hearings begin at 6 p.m.; registration opens at 4 p.m. For more information, call the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group at (312) 939-7198.

Comings and Goings

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AT CLARK STREET Jean Franczyk, chief of staff to the Board of Education since November 1997, has been named manager of faculty training at UNext.com, an Internet education company based in Deerfield. … Karen Burke, former chief of staff to CPS Chief Operations Officer, has been named manager of construction for the Chicago Park District. … Andrea S. Kerr, formerly director of curriculum, is now deputy officer for teacher recertification and professional standards. The newly created CPS department will monitor compliance with the state’s new teacher recertification law. Kerr was succeeded by John Frantz, previously director of teacher accountability. Franz will oversee curriculum, instruction and professional development.

MOVING IN/ON After spending less than a year as CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority, Phillip Jackson, previously Paul Vallas’ chief of staff, has been reassigned to City Hall. He is now special assistant to the mayor for citywide education programs. Ald. Terry Peterson (17th) replaced Jackson at the CHA. … Also at the CHA, former CPS Budget Director David Agazzi resigned as chief financial officer to pursue other career options. … Reanetta Hunt, former CPS communications director, has resigned as communications vice president and chief spokeswoman at Unicom, the parent company of Commonwealth Edison, to pursue other interests. … Molly Carroll, field representative for the Chicago Teachers Union, has been reappointed to the board of directors for the National Association for Year-Round Education for another term.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT Harry Lennix, who taught music and language arts as a permanent substitute at Bass Elementary from 1986 to 1993, played the role of Walter Lee Younger in the Goodman Theatre’s production of “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry. Hansberry, who died of cancer in 1965, attended Betsy Ross Elementary and graduated in 1948 from Englewood High. Lennix’s sister, Lori Lennix, is principal of Doolittle East Elementary.

SCHOOL CONVERSIONS John Hope Elementary will be converted into a college preparatory high school next school year. It will serve grades 7th through 12th as a multi-area school with no attendance boundaries. Hope’s primary and middle grade students will be reassigned to Arna Wendell Bontemps, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Dewey Academy, Lillian R. Nicholson and Jesse Sherwood schools over a two year period. … Ames Middle is expanding to include 6th grade and, thereby, relieve overcrowding at nearby McAuliffe Elementary, which will go through only 5th grade.

AWARDS Boone Elementary is one of six schools nationwide to win the first-ever Chase School Challenge Award bestowed by the Fordham University Graduate School of Education. It was created to honor schools that implement substantive reform efforts. … Luis Soria Jr., a 3rd-grade bilingual teacher at Finkl Academy, is one of five Chicago area teachers to win the Kohl/McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Award. Soria received a $5,000 cash prize and free admission to early childhood courses at the Erikson Institute; Finkl received $1,000. … The following 14 schools were awarded a total of $24,763.60 in mini-grants ranging from $1,477 to $2,000 each for their parent involvement efforts: Ariel Community Academy, Burnside, Earhart, Fulton, Jahn, McCosh, Mozart, Murray Language Academy, Nobel, Orozco Academy, Reavis, Stone Academy, Swift and Simpson Alternative High.

MORE AWARDS Twenty principals and administrators were recognized by CPS and the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association as outstanding leaders; each received $5,000. Among principals, the winners include: Sally Acker, Funston; Charlotte A. Blackman, Chalmers; Rebeca P. de los Reyes, Orozco Middle; Joy Donovan, Ravenswood; Cydney Fields, Ray; Joyce D. Kenner, Whitney Young High; Richard D. Kerr, Nash; Olga Haydee La Luz, Chase; James P. Menconi, Monroe; Amy Weiss Narea, LaSalle; Marcey G. Reyes, Seward; W. Delores Robinson, Sumner; Janice M. Rosales, Peirce; Susan K. Stoll, Hanson Park and Barbara H. Valerious, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. Assistant principal winners are: Annette Gurley, Clark Middle; Eugene Perna, Swift and Adrienne Anita Watkins, Christopher. Administrator winners include: Kimberly Muhammad-Earl, Schools and Community Relations executive director of the Parent and Community Training Academy; Hazel B. Steward, Region 3 Education Officer.

COLLEGE PREP LSCs The system’s administrative regions will serve as the local school council voting districts for the city’s new college-prep high schools. The schools and their regions are: Northside, Region 1; Jones, Region 3; and Southside, Region 6. The LSC voting district for King High, which is slated to become a regional college preparatory school in August 2001, will be Region 4.

Comings and Goings

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AT PERSHING ROAD Susan Ryan, formerly study director of the local school council project at the Consortium on Chicago School Research, is now an assessment specialist for the Office of Accountability. … Natalye Paquin, formerly an assistant attorney in the School Board’s law department, is now senior assistant to Reform Board President Gery Chico. … Ruth Asher-Becker, specialized services administrator in the Office of Specialized Services, has retired.

MOVING IN/ON George Lowery has been named dean of the College of Education at Roosevelt University, succeeding George Olson, who remains on the faculty but will do research and evaluation for the Chicago Education Alliance. …Georganne Marsh, associate director of Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE), has resigned to complete her teaching certification. Johnny Holmes, the former LSC chair of Revere and a PURE board member, joins PURE as an advocate/trainer. … Ester Mosak, outreach director of the Small Schools Coalition, is now a research associate on a Chicago small schools study by Bank Street College of Education, New York.

ANNENBERG BOARD The Chicago Annenberg Challenge Board of Directors has four new members. They are Edward S. Bottum, managing director of Chase Franklin Corporation; Connie C. Evans, president of the Women’s Self-Employment Project; Susan Blankenbaker Noyes, a retired labor attorney from Sidley & Austin; and Scott C. Smith, president, publisher and CEO of the Chicago Tribune Company. Also, Chryssa Atkinson and Catherine Cristofani have been appointed communications specialists at Annenberg.

PRINCIPALS The following principals have retired: Arthur Fumarolo, O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy; Paul Jordan Jr., Mount Vernon Elementary; and Cynthia Wnek, Schubert Elementary. …The following people have been named interim principals: Joel Avron, teacher at Ruiz, Whitney; George Huff, teacher at Brownell, Brownell; Thomas Little, assistant principal at Black Magnet, Black Magnet; Amanda Rivera, teacher at Funston Elementary, Ames site middle school (scheduled to open in February); Pamela Strain, assistant principal at Ruggles, Ruggles.

NEW CHARTERS The Reform Board approved six new charter schools in December. The school names and their sponsors are: Alain Locke (Inner City Teaching Corps and the Pat and Shirley Ryan Foundation), North Kenwood (Center for School Improvement, University of Chicago), Great Builders of Cities (Edison Project), Golden Apple (Golden Apple Foundation), North Lawndale College Prep (I Have a Dream Foundation), UNO-Advantage (United Neighborhood Organization and Advantage Schools). … Meanwhile, the board revoked the charter of Student Builders, citing failure to meet a variety of conditions and standards.

HIGH SCHOOL EVALUATION The Reform Board has awarded a $650,000 contract to the Center for Urban School Policy at Northwestern University to evaluate implementation of its High School Restructuring Initiative in all 77 high schools. The work will include case studies of the changes in staffing, program, school culture and classroom practices in reconstituted high schools and an assessment of the external support provided to high schools on probation. Fred Hess is directing the work.

PRINCIPAL SELECTION Ninety-eight would-be principals went through the Chicago Principal Assessment Center in December to get a reading on their strengths and weaknesses; they were selected from 220 applicants who took a multiple-choice screening test in November. Meanwhile, by mid-January, 152 principal candidates had submitted their credentials for review by the Chicago Principal Review Board. Principal contracts at some 208 schools expire this year.

AWARDS AND HONORS The Illinois State Board of Education selected Reform Board President Gery Chico as the state’s outstanding school board president. “The turnaround in the Chicago Public Schools is incredible under any circumstances and one that is particularly amazing, given that the systemwide changes are only in their second year,” said ISBE chairman Lou Mervis. … Chief Education Officer Cozette Buckney has received the Girl Scouts of Chicago’s first “Girl Scouts’ Own” award for her “significant contributions to education.” A former Girl Scout, she is the organization’s immediate past president.