The CTU and Budget Thread

Burgers

I’m trying to write something thoughtful about the current situation about the CPS budget and the negotiations with the CTU.  But I’m generally unaware of what’s going on.  The situation makes me feel like the picture above.  I just can’t see a way out and the situation just seems to get progressively worse.

I know from the Trib that the CTU turned down an offer that:

“would bar economic layoffs and provide some moderate pay increases, sources said last week. It would put a cap on privately run charter schools, although the union noted Monday that a state commission can override the district on charters.

In exchange, union members would have to make concessions that included paying more toward their pensions and health care expenses.”

Karen Lewis, being uncharacteristically gracious, said “There were a lot of things that were great,I’m not going to tell you they weren’t. However, the things that will affect the classrooms the most — especially around the budget — were the ones that were concerning to people.”

Forrest Claypool said “This agreement provided pay raises, guaranteed job security and met the union’s key demands, including restrictions on charter school expansion, raises for seniority in addition to cost-of-living increases, and more classroom autonomy for teachers.”

Teachers were also offered the “step and lane” increases (experience and seniority raises.)

So… I can’t fully tell from the article why CTU turned it down.

Jesse Sharkey said: “When asked ‘is it worth actually taking a pay cut for that?’ people said ‘no way.’ Because the skin that we put in the game is concrete and will definitely be extracted from us, and the skin which they put in the game is something which is abstract, in the future and can’t be guaranteed.”

I’m not fully sure what this means.

There seems to be bigger topics at play.  NBC5 reports:  The union’s 40-member team said the proposal “does not address the difficult conditions in the schools, the lack of services to our neediest students or address the longer-term fiscal crisis that threatens to gut public education in the city.” Members said they have “legitimate distrust” of the district and decided not to send the proposal to the full union for a vote.”

Is the CTU going to overcome their distrust any time in the next decade?  Will the CTU have the power to harness more overall spending for CPS?  It would be great if they could use their influence to do so, right?

And the depressing part is that there’s no money to make this all work.  Education is depressingly underfunding here in American and Illinois.

I just circle back to The Scream.  How will we resolve this??

 

February 6, 2016 at 9:46 pm 297 comments

Stress in SE High Schools

Stock photo students always have their head in their hands

Stock photo students always have their head in their hands

I read this article that someone posted on Facebook last week, that has stuck with me and has been causing me some angst.  It’s on the Lane Tech school web site, written by the editor-in-chief.   One of my initial thoughts was how well written this was (I have to admit I thought it was a newspaper article, didn’t realize it was on the school site until I went back to post it.)   I read this just a couple weeks after I read about a suicide cluster of HS students in Palo Alto that was pretty disturbing.  The Palo Alto link is here if you haven’t read it.  To summarize, (as you can probably guess) there is so much pressure on these kids from high achieving families to excel, succeed, do more – that they can’t take the stress.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/12/the-silicon-valley-suicides/413140/

Which makes me wonder if this title of this Lane Tech article is fully accurate.  Does the CPS Selective Enrollment machine create perfectionist students?  Or is that a societal influence right now among school with high expectations?

My angst comes from worry about whether my kid is cut out for a school like this and raises these questions:

Are the majority of kids in SEHS experiencing this level of stress?

Is there a way to have a kid in a competitive/rigorous school and avoid this level of stress? (The article does talk about resources at Lane to help kids deal with stress, and the editor also encourages de-stressing among fellow students.)

Or are students who are high-achievers going to feel this level of pressure no matter where they attend school due to the general pressure on this generation to achieve academic success?
Curious about your thoughts based on experience, feedback on students you know in school, (or conjecture if that’s all ya got.)

Excerpts from the Lane Tech article are below:

CPS Selective Enrollment Machine’ creates anxious, perfectionist students

http://lanewarrior.com/4786/opinion/cps-selective-enrollment-machine-creates-anxious-perfectionist-students/

“Countless times I have heard my friends talk about how it feels wrong on the days that they do not have work to do for school. They cannot go to sleep because they feel like they should be doing something.”

“Recently, I went home and was so overwhelmed by exhaustion that I went to bed. As I lay in bed, I could not go to sleep because of the revolving thoughts in my head.

You are not going to have enough time for homework. You still haven’t started on that project. When are you going to schedule that meeting for club? Did everyone pay for those sweaters that you got for club? Are you being a good leader? Is everything on track? People depend on you now.”

“Jack Cox, Lane’s social worker of 24 years, said that the reported levels of anxiety and stress has had a spike over the past five years.  “More and more anxiety,” Cox said. “I’ve had many many kids being formally diagnosed out in the community by psychologists. They’re being diagnosed with generalized anxiety or social anxiety. It’s very noticeable.” “

The author speculates that the pressure to achieve good test scores (ACT/SAT) puts pressure on both the teachers and the students at SEHS.  In addition, many students at an SEHS school are striving to be the best.  But of course not everyone can be “the best” which creates additional stress.

January 4, 2016 at 9:41 pm 186 comments

selectED – Movie about SEHS with focus on Whitney Young

SelectEd

You may recall I mentioned a documentary movie that was being made last year about the Selective Enrollment high school process and experience, focused on Whitney Young.  The movie has been shown/accepted at several film festivals and is finally ready for viewing and will be shown at Young this upcoming week on Oct 19, 20, 21, and 22 (Mon – Thurs.)

The movie is very engaging and gives some great insight about the selective enrollment high school experience for a range of students.  It is, of course, a unique way to learn more about Whitney Young and the administration and students as well as the competitive (and sometimes stressful) experience in being in a school full of very intelligent kids.  There is true drama in the film and best of all, a rare chance to see one of the SEHS up close and personal.

FYI I am interviewed in the movie (and as a pointer, if you are ever going to be interviewed for a movie, brush your hair well and put on lipstick — this will be abundantly clear if you see me.)

Get movie tickets here

Film synopsis:

Through the not-for-profit documentary selectED which combines unscripted programming and original music, we will tell the magical story of Whitney M. Young Magnet High School and its leaders, students, teachers and parents. SelectED will illustrate to the world the great things that are going on at Whitney Young. It takes the audience through a school that is a true melting pot, a unique environment that broadens and enhances students’ education, tolerance levels and world views. It shows what is possible when every student is on a level playing field where they can realize the school’s tradition of excellence.

We will reach people interested in education, diversity, excellence, community and more specifically, the magic which is Whitney M. Young Magnet High School.

October 17, 2015 at 2:33 pm 86 comments

Fall 2015: Applying to Academic Centers and Intl Gifted Programs

Academic Center V2 10_2_2015

As a quick review, Academic Centers are for 7-8th grade (apply in 6th grade.)  Entry into an AC guarantees you a high school spot in that school (and you can still apply to other schools for high school if you wish.) Students can earn up to 8 HS credits while in an AC.

International Gifted Programs are for grades 6-8 (apply in 5th grade.)  The program includes intensive study of English, French, social studies, laboratory science, mathematics, technology, arts, physical education, library science, and advanced research. The International Gifted Program is designed to allow intellectually able students to be schooled in their least restrictive environment and to mature at an accelerated pace.

Cutoff scores from last year:

http://cpsmagnet.org/Academic%20Center%20Cutoff%20Scores%202015-2016.pdf

Scoring Rubric:

http://cpsmagnet.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=72695&type=d&termREC_ID=&pREC_ID=142588

October 2, 2015 at 11:59 pm 76 comments

Fall 2015: Applying to Kindergarten / Elementary School

School of the future

School of the future

Kindergarten/Elementary application time here!

Welcome! After the long wait from infanthood, it is now time to being charting the waters of CPS elementary school.  

Applying has never been easier, now that it’s all online.

You can apply for a PIN (needed for online enrollment) now.  It will be mailed to your home within a week.

Applications will be accepted starting October 1st.

Details are here and the OAE site now covers almost everything you need to know, very well organized:

http://cpsmagnet.org/index.jsp

When entering Kindergarten (and older grades as well) you have several options:

Neighborhood schools (also includes Magnet Cluster school, which are just neighborhood schools) – these are schools that admit kids from the neighborhood that surrounds a school.  Enrolling for your neighborhood school is easy: simple go to the school during late Spring to fill out the forms.  If you don’t want to attend your own neighborhood school, you can apply to other neighborhood schools that have room to spare.  This can only be done through the online application process.  Not every school has space, so it’s wise to fine some ‘up-and-coming’ schools that are growing and have seats to fill.  Or give your local school another look, with some other parents.   Building up parent interest is often a great way to build community and create/uncover a good local school.

Gifted and Classical schools – these schools require a test for entry.  For Kindergarten, the tests are given at the same time and kids are tested one-on-one.  For older grades, the kids test in a large group and the gifted and classical tests are on different days.   There is often debate about whether to apply early so your child gets and early test date (benefit: avoid blizzards, get it out of the way) or wait until the end of the application period to apply (benefit: kids may hit that magical reading breakthrough you’ve been waiting for.)  The test scores are normed by age, so it shouldn’t really matter when you do the testing.

Magnet schools – these admit kids via a lottery process.  People who live within 1.5 miles of a school get preference in a proximity lottery.  Others are also admitted, based on Socio-Economic Tier.

One factor that can influence your chance of selection at a school is your Socio-Economic Tier.  Your address determines your Tier (Tier 4, highest socio-economic level, Tier 1, lowest.) NOTE: the tiers for the current application process have not been update yet, so current Tier information may be out of date!!

These are explained here, very cleary by OAE:

http://www.cpsoae.org/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=184188

From the Parent Dashboard after you have entered your PIN:
IMPORTANT!!!!!

If you are applying to Selective Enrollment Elementary or High Schools, or any other high schools with admissions screenings, you will use a TWO-STEP process: (1) Schedule, THEN (2) Apply. BOTH of these steps must be completed by the December 11th deadline or your child will not be considered for the Selective Enrollment schools of your choice.

September 27, 2015 at 10:06 am 535 comments

Hidden Gems High School Fair Sunday Sept 27 at Lake View High School 1-4pm

Late posting, but the Hidden Gems fair is tomorrow.  This is a great (overwhelming) place to meet many of the high school options for (CPSO mantra…say it with me now…) Casting a Wide Net!

Public, private, parochial, charter and even a boarding school will be there!
I was able to have some great one on one conversations with principals there in the past.
A few test prep places and other vendors will be there.  Eat a big breakfast, it takes a lot of energy to navigate due to such widespread school attendance.

“Hidden Gems” High School Fair

Sunday, September 27, 2015

1:00-4:00 PM

Lake View High School, 4015 N. Ashland, 60613
http://www.chischoolgps.com/CSG_HS_Fair_Participants.html

Register Now!

Admission is only $15/family with pre-registration

($25/family at the door)

Need-based vouchers are available upon request.

Pre-registrants are eligible to win raffle prizes.  All attendees receive discounts on CSG Services.

Knowing how to cast your net wide and increase your options is KEY to a successful Chicago high school search. Join Chicago School GPS as we bring together over 30 participating schools, each with unique qualities that you may not have known about prior to coming to our Hidden Gems Fair.  PLUS, learn how to maximize success for entrance testing, search tips and great grades in high school by partaking in one of our many informative breakout sessions.   Join us for afternoon designed to make your high school journey a successful one!

Our invaluable break out sessions offer insights for parents and students alike.

 Middle School Parents and Students can learn:

  • Navigating the high school admissions process

  • Entrance test tips & strategies

  • Private school scholarships

  • Planning for success in High School & beyond

Middle School Students can attend:

  • Peer to peer info session Q&A with current HS students

  • Admission essay “how-to” session for middle schoolers

  • “Getting Ahead!”: Executive Functioning skills for success

September 26, 2015 at 5:57 pm 6 comments

Fall 2015 Selective Enrollment High School Open House Schedule

Look at those cars!

Look at those cars!

The open house schedule is posted.  I have them grouped by weekend.  I know these schools get long lines of applicants.  Is there any policy about bringing 7th graders?  I’d like my kid to get a sense of what this is all about (possibly as study motivation.)   It’s hard to get a kid excited about a conceptual school, ya know?

The official CPS link to it is here, if you want a nice printable version.

http://cpsoae.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=72696&type=d&termREC_ID=&pREC_ID=474353

Selective Enrollment High School Open Houses

Open House Events for 2016-2017 School Year

—————————————————————-

Jones College Prep High School
606 S. State St.
Saturday, October 17, 2015 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Young Magnet High School
211 S. Laflin St.
Sunday, October 18, 2015 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

—————————————————————-

Hancock College Prep High School
4034 W. 56th St.
Saturday, October 24, 2015 9 a.m. to 12 noon

—————————————————————-

King College Prep High School
4445 S. Drexel Blvd.
Saturday, October 31, 2015 9 a.m. to 12 noon

Lane Tech High School
2501 W. Addison St.
Sunday, November 1, 2015 12 noon to 3 p.m.

—————————————————————-

South Shore International High School
1955 E. 75th St.
Saturday, November 7, 2015 10 a.m. to 12 noon

Westinghouse High School
3223 W. Franklin Blvd.
Saturday, November 7, 2015 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Lindblom Math & Science Academy
6130 S. Wolcott St.
Sunday, November 8, 2015 10 a.m. to 12 noon

Northside College Prep High School
5501 N. Kedzie Ave.
Sunday, November 8, 2015 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

—————————————————————-

Brooks College Prep High School
250 E. 111th St.
Saturday, November 14, 2015 12-3pm

Payton College Prep High School
1034 N. Wells Ave.
Saturday, November 14, 2015 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

SEHS Test dates

The Selective Enrollment High Schools admissions exam will be offered on the following dates for the 2016-2017 school year:

November 14, 2015* Early scores before app deadline
November 21, 2015* Early scores before app deadline
December 12, 2015
January 23, 2016
January 30, 2016
*Students who take the test in November 2015 will receive their test results and final point scores prior to the December 11th application deadline. (CPSO note: this allows your child greater understanding of their scoring “position” before they rank their schools and can help set expectations earlier in the process.)
The test will be offered at four sites:  King College Preparatory High School, Lane Tech High School, Lindblom Math and Science Academy, and Young Magnet High School

MAP Test dates for non-CPS Students:

CPS will continue to use the Northwestern Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA MAP) as the uniform assessment for all students applying to CPS programs with academic requirements for the 2016-2017 school year.  (To receive updates about the application process for the 2017-2018 school year, click here.)

For students who do not currently attend a CPS school but intend to apply to grades 5-9 for CPS schools/programs with academic requirements, the NWEA MAP will be offered free of charge. The NWEA MAP is used by CPS to determine eligibility for selective enrollment elementary and high schools and other high schools with academic requirements, including college and career selective academies, International Baccalaureate high schools, magnet high schools and military academies.

For non-CPS students who registered for the test by September 11th, the test will be administered on Oct. 17, 18, 24, and 25, 2015.  There will be one additional test date in January 2016 for students who register for the NWEA exam, or you registered after September 11, 2015. Click here to download and print the paper registration form and FAQs regarding the process. For more information, click here.

IMPORTANT!  In addition to submitting the NWEA registration form, students who test in January MUST submit paper applications before the Dec. 11, 2015, deadline for the schools of their choice. Paper applications can be accessed here, beginning October 1, 2015, at 9 a.m.

After your child takes the second NWEA exam, the Office of Access and Enrollment will contact you on January 22, 2016, via email and robocall, to inform you whether or not your child is eligible to apply to the programs with admissions requirements. (Your child’s NWEA scores will be mailed to you in February 2016.)

CPS High School Guidebook:

http://www.cpsoae.org/2016-2017%20High%20School%20Guide_English.pdf

September 9, 2015 at 10:21 pm 601 comments

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