Principal leadership, external partner make a winning combination

The Chicago Annenberg Challenge began funding school improvement efforts in 1995. More than half of Chicago’s public schools will have participated at one time or another in an Annenberg-supported improvement effort by the end of our initiative in 2001, by which time more than $40 million will have been granted by the Challenge in support of school improvement efforts.

South Loop controversy sparks big contest

Some schools struggle to get a bare minimum of parents and community residents to sign up to run for local school council seats. Other schools draw more candidates than they need and play host to contested council elections.

The picture outside Chicago

Outside Chicago, only three to four seats are filled in each school board election, and, typically, there are contested races for only one or two of those seats, according to Gerald Glaub, deputy executive director of the Illinois Association of School Boards.

New numbers confirm good, bad of promotion policy

The Consortium’s update, which adds data from the 1998-99 school year, also reinforces the good news in the first study: The percentage of 6th- and 8th-graders hitting promotion targets during the regular school year continues to increase. In addition, the update shows that the percentage of 3rd-graders who hit the targets during the regular school year has begun to rise.

Full text of Arbitrator’s decision in Finkl principal-retention hearing

This matter was brought for hearing before Arbitrator Jay E. Grenig on January 28, February 2, 11, 14, 21, 23, March 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, and 12, 2000. A prehearing conference was held on January 20, 2000. The parties were given full opportunity to present all relevant evidence and arguments. The hearing was transcribed by a court reporter resulting in over 3,000 pages of testimony. More than 100 exhibits were admitted in evidence. Upon receipt of the parties’ briefs, the hearing was declared closed on March 13, 2000.

Huge effort generates only 2 more candidates

Wade’s group was founded in 1999, partly in response to flagging private-sector support for LSC recruitment in the 1998 elections. Working with the business-backed, non-profit Leadership for Quality Education, Wade’s group raised $420,000 in private funding to support election outreach this year, more than tripling the amount raised in 1998 including a quarter-million dollars that went to community organizations to recruit candidates in their neighborhoods and promote voter turnout.

Early learning standards

Language Arts

1st-graders are rated on their ability to retell a passage of text they read or had read to them; alphabetize items by the first letter; use context clues to derive word meaning; interpret figurative language; distinguish fact from opinion; distinguish fact from fantasy; define the major characteristics of significant forms of literature; identify the character, setting, plot and theme in text; compare and contrast the treatment of different cultures.

A Cleveland 1st-grader’s reading record

Action plan #1: Teachers place Joey in a small tutoring group and use his test scores to guide the lesson plan. It includes a daily review of the 20 letters that Joey knows and eight specific teaching strategies such as flash cards, sorting similar letters and writing letters in multiple media. At the end of the school year, he undergoes another assessment.

Ohio school adds 1st-grade focus to get kids past 4th-grade test

The increase of 43 percentage points was the largest at the 4th-grade level among the 82 elementary schools in the Cleveland Municipal School District. Beginning in 2001-2002, 4th-graders throughout Ohio who fail to pass the reading section of the state-mandated test after three tries will be held back.

More remedies

Carver Primary in Riverdale reduced its retention rate sharply last year. Principal Linda Randolph attributes the drop to a combination of programs—Direct Instruction, a phonics- based reading series, and Reading Recovery, which provides struggling 1st-graders with one-on-one tutoring from a highly trained teacher. While advocates of each program feel the approaches are diametrically opposed, Randolph thinks they complement each other. “No matter what reading program is used in the school, some children are not successful.”

Carnegie a high-poverty school that retains few students

At first glance, the reasons for Carnegie’s success are elusive. The school hasn’t rolled out any innovative new programs lately. Teachers, a typical mix of veterans and novices, follow the same math and reading textbook series found in many Chicago schools. Principal Thomas Avery says he’s just doing his job; he’s uneasy at being singled out for a profile.

Study finds more waivers than reported

“Waived” students, Blondean Davis explains, have not fared well when they hit the next promotion gate. In 1997, nearly 2,000 6th-graders advanced to 7th grade without minimum test scores, according to Roderick’s analysis. Of those who remained in the district two years later, only 60 percent of those students got past the 8th-grade promotion gate; for some, promotion again required waivers.

Internal motivation better for the long run

While both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation may produce short-term results, she says, research finds that intrinsically motivated students fair better in the long run. They report more engagement with school work and less anxiety, do better academically and are less likely to drop out.

Promotion timeline

The School Board approves a new policy sending students at certain grades to summer school if they fail to make a minimum score on a standardized math and reading test. The policy will go into effect immediately for 8th-graders, and the following summer for students in grades 3 and 6.