Principal preparation panned

When Arthur Levine set out to study principal preparation programs at universities around the country, he expected to find problems. “Things were worse than I imagined, in all ways,” says Levine, president of Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Summer Web: Comings and Goings

AT CLARK STREET Jeannie Gallo, Area 2 instructional officer, has retired. Former Area 5 AIO Deborah Esparza will take her place. John Frantz, chief officer in labor and employment relations, has retired. Rachel Resnick, formerly the deputy chief officer in early childhood education, will replace him. … MOVING ON Lisa Vahey, director of the New Teachers Network for the Center for Urban School Improvement, will continue to work with the Network and assume the title of founding director. Ken Kern, a former teacher and facilitator with the Network, will take over as acting director.

Summer Web: Notebook

June 8: Rising costs

To help close an $80 million budget gap, the School Board announces it will raise the cost of school lunches for the second time this year and lay off about 150 teachers. Transportation costs, which have been cut in recent years from about $120 million to $80 million, will take cuts of another $14 million, meaning many buses will have to increase their service to run for three schools instead of one or two.

Notebook

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

Revamping special education


“We believe in it,” says Chief Specialized Services Officer Renee Grant-Mitchell (right), regarding a new model for diagnosing learning disabilities that relies on early, intensive help for struggling readers. “We have to get schools to implement it.”


Each year, hundreds of Chicago Public Schools students are placed in special education because of learning disabilities—often in 3rd grade and later, which experts say is too late to make a real improvement in their education.

Principals beckoned to fly solo

The district has invited 85 principals from “high performing” schools to cast off a layer of oversight and operate more independently next year. But a provision for greater financial freedom that would kick in the following year makes some principals nervous.

New freedoms

Principals who decide by July 1 to participate in the district’s new Autonomous Management and Performance Schools (AMPS) program will have the power to…

Where are Englewood High kids going?

The glut of students—Breashears estimates a total of 1,850—will push Robeson over its design capacity of 1,500. So far, the district has provided some facilities upgrades, installing 1,800 new lockers, for instance, and reopening a swimming pool that had been out of commission for three years.

Elsewhere

The district plans to file a federal complaint challenging a ruling by the Maryland State Board of Education that requires school systems to provide the same per-pupil spending to charter and regular public schools, according to the May 11 Baltimore Sun. Baltimore Schools Chief Bonnie Copeland is asking other superintendents to support the fight.

Comings & Goings

A new facility will be built to relieve overcrowding at Albany Park Multicultural Academy, a school for 7th- and 8th-graders now based at Von Steuben High. Scheduled to open in the fall of 2006, the new facility will accommodate 700 students and will cost $20 million.