Web Extras: Comings and goings

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AT CLARK STREET Tapped to lead Philadelphia’s school system, former Chicago schools CEO Paul Vallas is borrowing a number of current and former school officials to serve on his transition team. Former Chief Education Officer Cozette Buckney will serve in the same capacity as interim. The following CPS officials will be advising Vallas on their own time: Carlos Azcoitia, deputy chief of education; Philip Hansen, chief accountability officer; Sue Gamm, chief specialized services officer; Ron Whitmore, officer of early childhood education; Creg Williams, chief officer of education-to-careers; Karen Burke, deputy chief of operations; and Xiomara Cortes Metcalf, director of personnel services for high school development.

The following former CPS officials will also serve on the transition team: Chuck Burbridge, director of audit services; Diane Grigsby Jackson, Vallas’ chief of staff; Natalye Paquin, chief purchasing officer; Richard White, deputy chief of learning technologies; and Hazel Steward, retired Region 3 education officer. … City Hall Budget Director Michael Harris resigned and heads to Philadelphia as the school district’s financial officer under Vallas.

Michael Mayo has resigned his seats on the Chicago Board of Education and the Public School Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Board. Mayo is a partner at Deloitte & Touche, which recently became the external auditor for CPS. School Board member Norman R. Bobins will succeed Mayo on the teachers’ pension board. … School Board Secretary Sharon Revello retired after four years as Secretary and 38 years at CPS. Assistant Secretary Estela Beltran succeeds her. … Blondean Davis, former chief of schools and regions, was named superintendent of Matteson Elementary School District 162.

MOVING IN/ON Anthony Bryk, senior director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research, is taking a yearlong sabbatical at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, an independent research institution at Stanford University. John Easton, interim CPS director of research and evaluation, is returning to the Consortium as executive director. Sarah-Kay McDonald, responsible for the Consortium’s public relations, has been named executive director of a new education research center at the National Opinion Research Council. Consortium researcher Shazia Rafiullah Miller will take over some of McDonald’s duties and continue to do research. Another researcher, Elaine Allensworth will oversee the daily operations of research analysts as associate director.

Barbara Radner has been named director of the Assessment Center at DePaul University’s School for New Learning, a new post. Radner will continue to serve as director of DePaul’s Center for Urban Education. … The U.S. Department of Education has appointed Timothy Shanahan, who oversees the CPS Reading Initiative, to chair the National Literacy Panel on Language Minority Children and Youth. Shanahan has also been appointed the chair for a joint initiative of the National Institute for Literacy and the National Center for Family Literacy that will review research on early childhood literacy.

LAWSUITS The School Board settled a reverse-discrimination lawsuit filed by Linda H. Mohr, a former Austin High School teacher now at King College Prep, for $580,000. Mohr sued the board in 1997 after she was demoted from a tenured position as a department head. She alleged that a less qualified African-American teacher had been hired in her place; the board contended, however, that Mohr had not completed mandatory retraining during Austin’s restructuring and that a white male teacher had replaced her. Last March, a U.S. District Court jury ruled in Mohr’s favor. According to board attorney Kathleen Hudgins, the board agreed to settle rather than appeal the district court’s ruling “because of the uncertainties of the litigation process.” Mohr’s portion of the settlement is $135,000; the rest is earmarked for attorney fees.

READING INSTRUCTION The Board approved a new, $2.9 million reading program that targets schools in the middle-range of test performance. The Advanced Reading Development Demonstration Project will pair such schools with universities that will provide literacy support such as reading specialists and curriculum development. Previously, such external partnerships were reserved for the lowest-performing schools. The following universities will each work with groups of ten schools with average test scores: University of Chicago, National-Louis University, Roosevelt University, and University of Illinois at Chicago. … In a special arrangement with the Board under the Chicago Reading Initiative, the University of Illinois at Chicago is offsetting a third of tuition and fees for 60 Chicago public high school teachers enrolling in a sequence of five UIC graduate courses that started this summer and will run through next summer. The classes fulfill the state’s endorsement in reading instruction for secondary teachers.

NEW LEADERS Kathleen Harris, previously education director for the Chicago Urban League, has been tapped to head Ariel Academy’s expansion to high school. Harris, who spent the past year assigned to Ariel in a principal training program run by New Leaders for New Schools, will serve as assistant principal for three years, then step into the principalship of the high school. Ariel has added a new grade each year since it opened with pre-K and kindergarten in 1996. It plans to add a 9th grade in 2005. … The Board has extended a leave of absence for Sylvia Gibson, former principal of Creiger Multiplex, who is serving as executive director of New Leaders for New Schools.

NEW HIGH SCHOOL This fall, Michele Clark Middle School becomes a selective enrollment high school, admitting students in grades 6 through 12. Grade structure or attendance boundaries will shift at three feeder elementaries: Armstrong, Hay and McNair. Seventh- and 8th-graders residing within the attendance boundaries of another feeder school, DePriest, do not have to apply to attend Clark this fall; current Clark students are also exempt from the selection process.

EXPANDING This fall, Teach for America (TFA) will triple the number of teachers it deploys in Chicago. Eighty new TFA teachers, who have completed an intensive training program, will join 55 others who are returning from last year. Most will work in CPS schools in underserved areas on the South (Region 5) and West (Region 3) sides of the city.

NEW FACILITIES The Public Building Commission of Chicago has agreed to replace existing facilities for two elementary schools. Replacement schools for DePriest and Anderson elementaries will be built at their existing locations, and will cost $22 million and $21 million respectively. … Six elementary schools are slated for major landscaping projects totaling $4.1 million. Campus parks, which may include playgrounds and sports fields, will be built at Burnham, Cather, Paderewski, Arai, Burroughs and Cleveland.

NONPROFIT MERGER Two groups—The Chicagoland Scholarship Fund and The Chicago Scholars Foundation—have merged to become Scholarship Chicago. The new organization will award renewable college scholarships to seniors at all 112 public, private, and parochial high schools in Chicago. Previously Chicago Scholars awarded students one-time scholarships.

AWARDS Gresham Elementary Principal Alford G. Bridges is one of eight principals nationwide who won awards for excellence in educational leadership from the Yale Comer School Development Program. Bridges, a Gresham alum, was honored by CPS in 1999 as an outstanding principal.

9/11 AS HISTORY The Families and Work Institute, a non-profit research group, has developed free tools for educators to use in guiding students through first anniversary lessons on the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks on the United States. Sixteen age-appropriate lesson plans will be available for downloading on Aug. 9.