Video games show the way

Video games offer a case study in how to get kids hooked, but it’s not just the graphics that do the trick. Game designers say they also use standard motivational strategies that apply to school work, too.

Scores up but schools no better

A three-year study commissioned by the Chicago public schools to examine progress under a 1997 high school restructuring plan has found that while high schoolers have posted significant gains on standardized tests of reading and math, “little significant change” has taken place in the city’s most troubled high schools.

7 teachers unsatisfactory; 25 vacancies remain

When the Board of Education announced in July that five high schools would undergo intervention, one date became fixed in teachers’ minds: April 13. By that date, principals are to have completed five mandatory evaluations of each tenured teacher in the intervention schools and decided who stays and who goes.

CHA’s commuter kids

The Johnsons have been forced to move two more times since leaving Cabrini—first to escape gangbangers and then when their apartment building changed ownership. That’s common among the thousands of families who have been displaced by Chicago Housing Authority redevelopment, says Jennifer O’Neil of CHAC Inc., a private firm that oversees the CHA’s Section 8 rent subsidy program. Last year, over 18 percent of displaced CHA families using Section 8 subsidies moved for the second, third or fourth time.

Catalyst stoops to teacher bashing

Please, reconsider before you print any more articles full of watered-down education and self-pity. It is an insult to those of us who are actually performing our duties and setting a meaningful bar for our students to hurdle. If you insist on continuing to peddle this kind of trash, please cancel my subscription.

Comings and goings

MOVING IN/ON Paul Goren has left the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where he served as director of child and youth development, to become vice president of the Spencer Foundation, a Chicago-based foundation that supports education research nationwide. He succeeds John Williams, who is leaving for personal reasons. … In September, Barbara T. Bowman will step down as president at the Erikson Institute, a graduate school in child development, but continue to teach. Bowman founded the institute in 1966 to provide training to Head Start teachers. This will be the institute’s first change in leadership. … Joanne Howard has resigned as deputy director of Designs for Change to join the Lincoln Foundation for Business Excellence as manager of its Illinois Lincoln/Baldridge Excellence in Education Initiative, a model for organizational improvement.

A little more help for CHA kids

Blondean Davis, chief of schools and regions, oversees this program and has replicated some aspects to help stabilize the lives of students whose families are being forced out of public housing. Children who move mid-year can ride on the School Board’s dime to their old schools for the remainder of the school year; 7th-graders can get free transportation for an additional year so they can graduate with their classmates. But that’s it. According to Davis, the board can’t afford to pay for transportation indefinitely. That’s seems like a common-sense position. But reporting by Catalst and our sister publication, The Chicago Reporter, indicate that the board would not be diving into a bottomless pit by extending transportation support beyond the current limits.

Watchdog group: CPS capital plan a project wish list

In the 2001-2005 plan, the School Board identified $97 million in construction projects it hopes to fund with TIF revenue collected this fiscal year. To date, the board has collected only $16.1 million, according to the board’s operations director, Tim Martin. And that money came from the proceeds of bond deals in two high-profile TIF districts: Near North TIF and Near South TIF.

Chicago, NY welcome new breed of principals

In Chicago, New Leaders has forged a partnership with the Board of Education and National-Louis University. When Henry completes the year-long program here, she will have not only a Type 75 certificate, but also the experience of having worked for a year under the tutelage of one of Chicago’s leading principals.

No service learning, no prom and no graduation

Young and other members of the Class of 2001 are the first to face the CPS graduation requirement of 40 hours of service learning. The Board of Education adopted the requirement three years ago, but as of March 26, a third of CPS seniors had not completed it, according to the Office of High School Development.

Displaced students no better, worse off

On average, people displaced by demolition did not move to communities where people moved to and the schools their kids went to. “Demolition,” Brian Jacob says , “did not have the impact of … leading people to move to significantly higher-income neighborhoods or significantly higher-achieving schools.”

Beethoven a magnet for commuter students

Joseph Barber had put Bush on the spot, asking who the candidate would appoint to the Supreme Court. Bush answered only that he would look for “strict constructionists,” a dodge that Joseph noted later when talking to reporters. “I was looking for a name,” he said.

Video games show the way

Video games offer a case study in how to get kids hooked, but it’s not
just the graphics that do the trick. Game designers say they also use
standard motivational strategies that apply to school work, too.

Teacher vacancy tally

30 openings last fall
2 remain unfilled
Needs: Special education, English

13 openings last fall
9 remain unfilled
Needs: guidance counselors, special education, math, home economics

22 openings last fall
3 remain unfilled
Needs: Spanish, math

Rigorous courses get more students

In February 1995, when Argie Johnson was superintendent, the Board of
Education voted to phase in stiffer graduation requirements. In August 1998,
the board hand-picked by Mayor Daley moved up the timetable
and added requirements.