Board to call shots on new federal money

Title I funding for CPS will rise to $216 million, according to Budget Director John Maiorca. Of that amount, $125 million will be distributed to 481 schools through a formula that reflects the percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price student lunches and federal family assistance. The per-pupil amount ranges from $281 to $995, depending on the concentration of poverty.

School choice under ‘No Child’

The law

No Child Left Behind program requires schools to make adequate yearly progress toward that goal. Average test scores must improve not only for the student bodies as a whole, but also for individual subgroups that include major ethnic groups, low-income students, students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency and migrant students. State tests and standards are used to measure failure and success.

New small schools picking their leaders

A principal and three teacher leaders have been named to run four new small high schools set to open this fall at Bowen and South Shore. A fifth small high school scheduled to open at Orr has not yet appointed a lead teacher.

Experienced partner makes a difference

When Garcia signed up for the nine-month training program, she was a full-time mom who did not speak English. By the time she completed the program, she had gained enough confidence to leave an abusive relationship, get a job as a teacher’s aide and learn English.

Meanwhile, her 10-year-old daughter, Rosa, enrolled in an after-school tutoring program. Within months, her grades had improved. And Hector Uriostegui, 18, Garcia’s oldest son, decided to volunteer at the school as well.

Creating a community school from scratch

Marquette’s community school program last year served about 350 children and 100 adults, offering about 25 activities including homework help, dance classes, family nights and courses in English as a Second Language.

Even so, the program has been beset by a variety of problems, says Rios, resource coordinator for community school programs. “It’s gotten stuck in a hole.” The local school council and the School Board locked horns over principal selection. Latino and African-American parents have sometimes disagreed over the program’s direction. And now funding has been cut.

Article sold Manley short

nearly three times as many Manley students are reading at or above national norms (up from 7.5 to 20.8%);

nearly 20% fewer students are performing in the bottom quartile in Reading;

four times as many Manley graduates are going on to college;

over two-thirds of Manley’s core content area teachers have been actively involved in this effort;

classroom teaching has substantially improved (based on rubric-guided observations conducted by outside evaluators);

‘No Child,’ ‘Every Child’ on same track

Drawn up by a University of Chicago researcher with scads of input from educators and academics, Duncan’s plan earnestly talks about helping everyone in the system do a better job. (In contrast, former CEO Paul Vallas’s vision often involved creating new programs for those people to implement.) The 60-page plan is bold in its restructuring of the lines of responsibility, installing a raft of new leaders in belt-tightening times.

Manley’s sophomores boost school scores

Three years ago, Manley began a collaborative effort with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to improve reading comprehension in all subject areas. G. Alfred Hess Jr. of Northwestern University, who evaluated the program during the 2000-2001 school year, speculates that new English teachers Manley hired that year played a significant role in this year’s score increase.

New small school at Orr High tests limits of autonomy

Teachers spent much of their time planning curriculum for the Junior ROTC and community service school, while students learned team-building and problem-solving skills. But on the last day, both groups got together to hash out basics: A school name, a mascot, colors and uniforms.

Council to focus attention on statewide education research

Based at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, the council recently convened a two-day symposium that attracted more than 100 participants from across the state. This fall, it will publish its first study, an analysis of the state’s supply of teachers and administrators.

“What is missing in educational research is state level [data], especially in Illinois,” notes Executive Director Jennifer Presley.

Comings and goings

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.

Web Extra: State’s answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Which schools are required to offer school choice?

How can single-school districts offer choice?

If the lowest performing students can leave a school in school improvement status, is it possible that all students have the right to leave that school?

How many Illinois schools will be required to offer choice in the 2002-03 school year?

Web Extras: State’s school-choice overview

The Public School Choice Process

No later than August 1, the State Board of Education will tell school districts which, if any, schools must offer choice beginning this fall.

Prior to the beginning of the school year, districts must notify the parents of students in those schools that they have the option of sending their students to a higher-performing public school, including public charter schools, in the same district.

New law gives boost to community schools

No Child Left Behind earmarks $1 billion for the national program called 21st Century Community Learning Centers, an effort to expand after-school academic programs.

About $325 million of that amount will go directly to states to be distributed to school districts. Illinois is slated to receive an additional $12.5 million this year, and may get more in the future. This year, Chicago Public Schools anticipates $6.2 million in 21st Century funding.

Slow starts, false starts abound across country


Only 200 get to go. Only 11 elementary and middle schools met the School Board’s criteria for receiving schools. The criteria included distance limits, a minimum achievement level and excess capacity that, contrary to federal directives, took class size into consideration. Baltimore has 83 failing schools enrolling 30,000 students. The 11 receiving schools have fewer than 200 open seats.

Tougher measures to gauge school progress

The overall goal set by the new law is to have all students proficient in reading and math by the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Schools are expected to make “adequate yearly progress” (AYP) toward that goal each year. AYP goals will be set not only for the school as a whole, but also for a number of demographic subgroups that traditionally have not been well served by schools, such as low-income students.

Would you transfer your child?


Betty Henderson,

grandmother of 13 Mason students.

“Before he [a grandson in special education] came to Mason, he was doing fine. I have seen so many other schools that would be more appropriate.”


Robert Ladd,

father of Isaac (below)

and two others at Medill.

“I wouldn’t move them because the location is perfect here at Medill. Plus, they’re learning there. Sometimes if you move a child it affects their ability to learn.”

Where it came from and where it’s going

“I have a very poor impression of the school,” she says, singling out the special education classroom where the boy, a 3rd-grader, has been placed. “Before he came to Mason, he was doing fine.” Fed up, Henderson, who has 13 grandchildren at Mason, would like to move her grandson to another school with a better special education program. “I have seen so many other schools that would be more appropriate,” she says.

‘No Child’ boosts funding

Chicago schools, public and nonpublic
combined, will have an extra $76 million to spend this school