Q&A with Sandra Stone

Can a school to serve both middle-class and poor children?

It doesn’t matter if they’re poor, if they’re rich or what ethnicity they are—they’re just kids. If you treat them well and teach them well, they’ll turn out to have good, productive lives.

Altgeld Gardens: Bad air saps students, staff

It’s a common problem in Altgeld and Randolph is not alone. Both she and the principal at Carver Middle School say many of their students suffer from chronic respiratory ailments such as asthma, which adds up to missed school days and more difficulty concentrating on academics.

Notebook

A collection of facts, figures, and news briefs about school reform—both in Chicago and around the country.

Denver broaches economic integration

The goal of the study was to determine whether low-income children, as defined by eligibility for a free lunch, performed better in schools where they were in the minority compared to schools where they comprised the majority of the student body.

Teachers, reading scores are key

To answer that question, Senior Editor Elizabeth Duffrin examined 2003 7th-grade ISAT science test scores at schools with more than 90 percent low-income students, to identify the 10 highest-scoring and 10 lowest-scoring schools. Interviews with principals, teachers or other staff at all but one of the 20 schools showed that, in addition to good teachers, the following three factors stood out:

Rundown labs part of the equation

Ten of Senn’s 11 labs show their age—about four decades—with out-of-order sinks, sealed-off gas lines, water-damaged ceilings and dingy walls with peeling paint. Only one lab is in good condition, rehabbed in 2000 under an initiative that has since been retooled.

CPS pushes new science curriculum

This year, CPS is requiring all 45 high schools on probation to take a number of steps to improve instruction in biology, the discipline with the largest number of science teachers. About 60 percent of freshmen take a biology course.

Payton labs among best in CPS

The science labs at Walter Payton College Prep, a Near North magnet school, are among the best in the district; on par, the staff says, with those at the state’s premier science school, the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora.

‘No system’ to lab ratings

To keep tabs on the physical condition of high school laboratories, CPS rates them on a scale of 1 to 7. A 1 means there are life-threatening conditions; a 7 means a lab needs basic maintenance only.

A letter to the next president

Children, no matter where they live, no matter what race or ethnic group they belong to, deserve a fair shot at a solid education, a particularly vital commodity in an increasingly complex and interconnected world and global economy.

Hands-on makes lessons engaging

Chicago Public Schools is encouraging all elementary schools to adopt the program. Pilot schools, like Columbia Explorers, got a financial break that other schools won’t. CPS paid for teachers’ training and contributed about $10,000 to help pay for materials. Most pilot schools also got a science coordinator to assist teachers for two years.

Elsewhere

Test scores are lower in Detroit Public Schools now than when the state took over the school system five years ago, according to the Oct. 16 Detroit Free Press. Students now lag even further behind students in the rest of the state in every subject and at every grade level except for high school reading, according to the paper’s analysis.

Comings & Goings

John Lewis, principal of Libby Elementary, was arrested Oct. 9 when 61 illegal handguns were found in his home. Lewis has been temporarily removed from Libby, and his future status may depend upon the outcome of a police investigation, according to a CPS spokesman.

Reading skill boost science scores

Where Carver Middle grads landed


More than half of the 8th-graders living in Altgeld who graduated last spring enrolled in Carver Military this fall. Only one got into Chicago Military Academy, which has a stronger program.