New area officers named for Chicago schools

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Despite an unflattering report released last week, CPS officials still
profess their belief in the curricula that came with the High School
Transformation project and are rearranging the area structure to better
fit it.

The high school areas will now be organized around curriculum choice as
well as geography. Chief Educational Officer Barbara Easton-Watkins
says that having schools that use the same curricula organized as part
of the same area will make for better collaboration.

Despite an unflattering report released last week, CPS officials still profess their belief in the curricula that came with the High School Transformation project and are rearranging the area structure to better fit it.

The high school areas will now be organized around curriculum choice as well as geography. Chief Educational Officer Barbara Easton-Watkins says that having schools that use the same curricula operate as part of the same area will make for better collaboration.

“It will allow us to give more attention to implementation and to make sure that there’s a proper analysis of data and appropriate responses,” Eason-Watkins says. An evaluation of the curricula used with High School Transformation, released last week, found that teachers were not sure how to use data on student performance and that the curricula were often used ineffectively.

Easton-Watkins says that the district is sticking with the curricula because teachers like having all the materials—books, teaching guides and assessments for students—provided to them. She also says that the latest Prairie State scores will provide more information about how or whether the curricula are working. 

One of the new area officers is Akeshia Craven, who previously worked as a project manager for the High School Transformation initiative.

Perhaps the highest-profile move is that of former chief financial officer Pedro Martinez to become an elementary area officer. Martinez’s background is in finance, but he recently completed training in education leadership from the Broad Superintendent’s Academy, an initiative of the Broad Foundation.

Four outsiders are also on the list. The list is slated to be approved at an upcoming School Board meeting.

 

Catalyst has requested the list of schools in each area.

Two well-known high school principals, Sean Stalling from Manley and John Thomas from Carver Military Academy, will also become area officers. We hear, but have not confirmed, that James Walton is coming in as the new principal at Manley High School.

CEO Ron Huberman might also be looking for some of the area officers to bring innovation to the schools. One of them worked for the last nine years at American Quality Schools, a charter school management company, and another for Cristo Rey Network of college prep high schools