Comings and goings

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CPS is reorganizing its regional office structure to provide more supervision and support to schools. Six regional offices will be subdivided into 24 area instructional offices. An area instructional officer (AIO) will head up each new unit and will be responsible for providing academic support to schools and principals and principal evaluations. Each office will also be staffed with a management support director, who will handle transportation and interaction with parents, and an instructional support team comprised of specialists in reading, math and science, technology and special education.

SAME OLD, SAME OLD In the 1970s, the district had 27 subdistricts. In cost-cutting moves over the following two decades, the number first was reduced to 23, then to 11 and, most recently, under Paul Vallas, to six regions.

FANS Many educators applaud the demise of oversized regions. “The regions were too large for the region officer to do much other than get bogged down in the bureaucratic minutia,” explains Principal Janice Ollarvia of Fenger High. Under the new structure, area instructional offices with a concentration of high-poverty communities are assigned fewer schools. There are six offices for high schools and 18 for elementary schools. Charter schools are assigned to a separate area.

SKEPTICS Some veterans are wary of yet another organizational overhaul and wonder whether this one will stick. “A new administration will come in, and they’ll get rid of this saying, ‘Look at all the money being spent,'” one principal predicts.

COST School officials describe the reorganization as “revenue neutral,” but they could not readily say which central and regional office positions had been cut or reconfigured to save money. Twenty-four area instructional officers each will earn $117,000 a year, and another 24 management support directors will get $92,000 annually.

NEW HIRES The new elementary AIOs and their former positions are: Area 1, Janice Rosales, principal, Peirce; Area 2, Jeannie Gallo, principal, Smyser; Area 3, Melovee Williamson, principal, Hayt; Area 4, Olga La Luz, principal, Chase; Area 5, Flavia Hernandez, CPS deputy budget director; Area 6, Nancy Laho, principal, Burley; Area 7, Nancy Carter-Hill, principal, Pirie; Area 8, Rollie Jones, executive assistant to the chief accountability officer; Area 9, Marietta Beverly, Region 3 education officer; Area 10, Diane Zendejas, director, Teachers Academy for Professional Development; Area 11, Rebeca de los Reyes, principal, Orozco; Area 12, Emil DeJulio, principal, Swift; Area 13, Yvonne Womack, principal, White; Area 14, Jim Murray, principal, Joplin; Area 15, Virginia Vaske, principal, Murray; Area 16, Joyce Bristow, Region 7 education officer; Area 17 Audrey Cooper-Stanton, Region 3 administrator; Area 18, Lee Brown, Region 6 education officer.

Following are the new area instructional officers for high school districts: Area 19, Linda Pierzchalski, Region 1 education officer; Area 20, Richard Gazda, principal, Von Steuben High; Area 21, Johnetta James, principal, Kilmer; Area 22, Norma Rodriguez, acting director, Teachers Academy for Professional Development; Area 23, Donald Pittman, principal, Marshall High; Area 24, Cynthia Barron, principal, Jones College Preparatory High.

MOVING ON Two region education officers, Garland Cleggett (Region 5) and Jose Rodriguez (Region 4), were not hired as area instructional officers. They will provide support to new area offices during the transition, pending reassignment within central office, says Eason-Watkins.

INTERVENTION PRINCIPALS Principals at three of the five high schools on intervention have been replaced. Gloria Archbold of DuSable is now providing principal instruction and curriculum support in the Area 14 instructional office. Carol Briggs, principal of Partee Academic Prep Center, replaces her. Leon Hudnall of Orr has returned to Morse Elementary as principal. His replacement is Alphonso Carrington, assistant principal of Payton College Prep. Larry Thomas of South Shore has returned to Coles Elementary as principal. He is replaced by Leonard Kenebrew, assistant to CEO Arne Duncan. Principals Fausto Lopez of Bowen and Diane Dyer-Dawson of Collins will continue in those posts.

Comings and goings

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MOVING IN/ON Joanne Howard, formerly an administrator at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, has been named deputy director of Designs for Change. She succeeds Suzanne Davenport, who will remain at Designs as director of the Learning Path Institute, a new program to train parents and community leaders to impact public policy. … Sarah Vanderwicken, former co-director of the Small Schools Coalition, has been named director of the Children’s Health and Education Project at the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. … Allison Jack, a former CPS teacher, has been named director of the Charter School Resource Center at Leadership for Quality Education. Machea Ashton, a special education teacher from Washington, D.C., is the center’s coordinator. … Fausto Ramos Gomez has joined the Joyce Foundation as a program officer for education initiatives. Gomez previously worked as an organizer with Latino groups and campaigns in Denver.

AT CLARK STREET CPS has merged its early childhood and language and culture departments. Armando Almandarez, previously head of language and culture, has been named chief of the newly formed Office of Language, Culture and Early Childhood Education. Flavia Hernandez, previously director of early childhood, is now a school-based budget officer. Former longtime early childhood director Velma Thomas has been named senior executive assistant to Almandarez.

DALEY APPOINTMENT Mayor Richard M. Daley has been named to the board of directors of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which grants national certification to teachers who achieve its high standards. He is the first mayor serve on the board. CPS has seven nationally-certified teachers but expects to see more than 200 seek certification this school year. The School Board, the Chicago Teachers Union, the Chicago Public Education Fund and Chicago United each have projects supporting teachers going through the year-long process.

PRINCIPAL APPOINTMENTS The following assistant principals have received principal contracts: Charles McGehee, Sherwood; Gino Pesce, Sayre; Pauline Tarvardian, Amundsen High. The following principals had their contracts renewed: Weldon A. Beverly, Hyde Park Academy and Kenneth M. Staral, Ogden.

SCHOOL FINANCE REFORM The Metropolitan Planning Council has convened a coalition of organizations to study options and lobby legislators for school finance reforms. Members of Network 21: Quality Schools and Stronger Communities Coalition include former State Senator Arthur Berman, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Chicago Urban League and Illinois Association of School Boards.

SCHMIDT LEADS ‘RESISTANCE’ Fired for publishing questions from the Chicago Academic Standards Exam (CASE), veteran teacher George Schmidt is now organizing teachers and others to protest the use of standardized tests in CPS by picketing meetings of the School Board and Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates. He calls the protest effort “The Resistance.”

Schmidt, a longtime critic of board policy and a former opposition candidate for the CTU presidency, was fired from his teaching job at Bowen High School on Aug. 23. He published portions of the CASE in the January 1999 issue of Substance, a teacher-produced newspaper that he edits.The board filed a $1 million copyright-infringement lawsuit against him for publishing the test, then pulled him from the classroom and started termination proceedings. On July 14 of this year, hearing officer Michael Gerstein recommended Schmidt’s firing, finding that in publishing the test, Schmidt had violated board policy and used board property without authorization. Schmidt has said he will appeal the board’s decision in Cook County Circuit Court. The board’s suit against Schmidt is still pending.

EVENTS Chicago Public Library celebrates books and reading during Chicago Book Week, Oct. 9 through Oct. 15. Chicago authors will be on-hand for workshops and special programs for children will be held at bookstores, libraries, museums and community centers across the city. For information, visit the library’s website at www.chipublib.org.

WORKSHOP CPS is offering a free training for parents of students with disabilities. The workshops will teach parents how to become actively involved in their child’s education. Sessions will be held at various locations through January 2001. For more information on dates and times, call the Office of Specialized Services at (773) 553-6706 or (773) 553-3364.

CLARIFICATION A chart in the September 2000 issue was misleading about when the Chicago Academic Standards Exams are given in various areas of science. CASE science exams are given to high school students in whatever year they take a science course.

Comings and Goings

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LSC ELECTIONS March 9 is the deadline for nominations for local school council elections. Nomination forms are available at schools, regional offices, libraries and central office. LSC elections will be held on April 8 at elementary schools and April 9 at high schools. For more information, call School and Community Relations, (773) 535-5966.

AT PERSHING ROAD Joyce Bristow, formerly principal at Black Magnet, has been named executive assistant to Chief Education Officer Cozette Buckney. … Robert Hall, an associate attorney in the Law Department, has been named first assistant attorney. … West Side activist Coretta McFerren has become a consultant to the Parents As Teachers First program.

PRINCIPALS The following principals have retired: Carolyn McGehee, Curtis; Joe Bankhead, Medill Intermediate and Upper Grade; Edwin Scott, Fort Dearborn; Peggy Little, Trumbull; and Winifred French, Reavis. … Mary Reardon Ravid, formerly assistant principal at Peterson, has been selected as principal of O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy. … Vinita Scott, assistant principal at Burr, has been appointed interim principal at Burr.

GOLDEN APPLE SCHOLARS Nine seniors in Chicago public schools are among 61 chosen statewide this year for the Golden Apple Scholars program, which provides a variety of assistance to students who plan to teach in Illinois. The group also includes seven seniors from parochial schools in Chicago. All will be honored at a March 20 reception at Navy Pier. Nominations for selection next year will be accepted through July 31. For more information, call Tim Lemberger, (312) 407-0006, ext. 120.

PARENT INVOLVEMENT The Chicago Panel on School Policy is sponsoring its fourth Parent Involvement Forum from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 14 at the West Side Technical Institute, 2800 S. Western. The forum will feature workshops on such topics as effective school governance, parents and high school students, and models for improved education and parent participation. The registration fee is $20. For more information, call the Chicago Panel, (312) 346-2202.

CTU BID Thomas Reece, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, has made it official: He will run for a third full term. His slate includes Vice President Norma White, Recording Secretary Pamelyn Massarsky, Financial Secretary Michael Williams and Treasurer Melvin Wilson. The election will be held May 15. Earlier, teacher Deborah Walsh announced she would challenge Reece again.

NEW NEWSLETTER The Chicago Annenberg Challenge is launching School Works, a compilation of essays from teachers and principals in Annenberg network schools. It will be published three times a year, with each issue centering on a theme relevant to school reform, such as technology in the classroom and what it takes to support good teaching. Essays should be no more than 700 words, typed and double-spaced. Writers will receive a $500 stipend. For more information, call Chryssa Atkinson or Catherine Cristofani, (312) 413-0307.

Comings and goings

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MOVING IN/ON Bill Utter has been named to the new post of general manager of CPS-TV. Formerly assistant to Mayor Richard M. Daley and before that assistant manager of WBBM-TV, Utter will oversee television production at CPS and re-evaluate the district’s programming on public access Channel 21. … Mary Sue Barrett, chief of staff for the School Reform Board of Trustees and formerly policy chief for the mayor, has left the school system to serve as president of the Metropolitan Planning Council. … Vanessa Fraction, a junior and student member of the Harper High School LSC, has been named the student member of the Reform Board.

PRINCIPALS The following interim and acting principals have received principal contracts: Joe L. Bankhead, Medill Intermediate and Upper; Jeanne Carey, Jones Metro High; Anna Garcia-Berlanga, Juarez High; Eugene Mason, Ashe Elementary; Mable McClendon, Mollison Elementary; and Frances Williams, Powell Elementary. … Connie Thomas, assistant principal of DuBois Elementary, has been named interim principal at Brown Elementary, which is on remediation; the previous principal, Shayle Gerstein, was removed by Chief Executive Officer Paul Vallas. … Randolph Anderson, principal of Sayre Language Academy, has been named interim principal of Revere Elementary; the previous principal, Dean Gufstafson, agreed to a transfer as part of that school’s remediation process.

TV SPECIAL ON INCLUSION “What’s So Special about Special Education?” a documentary by the award-winning Merrow Report, will be broadcast at 11 p.m. May 13 on WTTW-TV. The program follows two disabled students in Denver through a year of inclusion, and covers legal issues, the growth of the special education bureaucracy and as-yet-unpublished research on the effects of special education.

TUTORING WORKSHOPS, DIRECTORY A conference for leaders and volunteers in tutoring and mentoring programs will be held May 17 and 18 in the Behavioral Sciences Building (Morgan and Harrison streets) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The conference is co-sponsored by Cabrini Connections and the Institute on Disability and Human Development. The fee for both days is $25, but conference scholarships are available. For more information, call (312) 467-2889. … Cabrini Connections also is compiling a directory of after-school tutoring and mentoring programs. To contribute information, contact Daniel Bassill at (312) 467-2889 by mid-June; 4,000 copies of the directory are to be distributed in August to principals, businesses, recruiting sources, potential volunteers and the programs.

LSC CONVENTION The Chicago Association of Local School Councils (CALSC) and AT&T are hosting the second annual LSC Convention on June 7 and 8 at the Bismarck Hotel. Activities will include professional development workshops; a resource expo with exemplary schools, school vendors and free-service providers; and a banquet. To register, call CALSC at (312) 663-1238.

AWARD WINNERS Eight Chicago public high school teachers are winners of the Blum-Kovler Foundation Dedicated Teacher Award given by the University of Chicago. The winners will receive a $300 check. Winners are: Thelma Bond, a science and biology teacher at Curie; Mary Brown, physical education and driver education teacher at Senn; Mary Burns, music teacher at Morgan Park; Eutha Davis, business education teacher at Jones Metro; Dierdre O’Malley, special education teacher at Bogan; Harold Patterson, biology and environmental science teacher at Hye Park; Donald Pittman, physical education teacher and basketball coach, Carver; and Mattie Young, math teacher at Hirsch. … Lenora Deas Akhibi, a kindergarten teacher at Sullivan Elementary, is one of five winners of the Kohl/McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Awards. The award, including a $5,000 prize, is given to teachers in the six-county metropolitan area who work with children between birth and age 8.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION CONFERENCE Sponsored by the Illinois Institute for Dispute Resolution, “Build the Peace: Developing Responsible Citizens, Cooperative Learning Environments and Safe Schools” will be held June 17-19 at the Lisle/Naperville Hilton. Fees: Before June 1, $300 for all three days, $225 for two and $150 for one. For more information, call (217) 384-4118.