Few random things… Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On

April 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm 180 comments

Couple random things to post about shake-ups happening.  I need to read more about more of these topics to make coherent comments.  I *feel* like it’s ok for changes to be made if they’re for the better, but how much “experimenting” can we keep doing?  Is it really all so trial and error? 

MESSAGE BOARD (from me) And yes, this *will* be trial and error.

I’m on the verge of having a message board to launch (with the help of a reader/parent who has generously paid for and is programming the board.  Yay!)  I’m not sure if it will catch on, but I think the city needs one central education message board to help people share questions and mobilize for so many things.   I’d like to keep the blog going as a place to focus on one topic at a time where we can all come together to discuss.  I know I would really miss this ongoing discussion/debate we have here.  But as you all know, it’s increasingly difficult to find previous posts, even for me.  I’ll probably need some help and suggestions on how to best organize the different topics.  People will be able to start their own threads, which will be great.  The one downside (or upside) is that anyone will need to register to post on it.   So hopefully that’ll be up soon.

I’ve got a couple things from Seth Lavin’s awesome Chicago Schools Wonks email newsletter.  To subscribe click here:  http://bit.ly/uvk1dy.  These shakeup rumors are interesting because they come on the back of Seth’s report that CICS is parting ways with one of the education companies who they employ to teach in some of their schools.  So there’s a whole lotta shakin’ going on.


SHAKE-UP RUMORS (by Seth)

When does staff change become a shake-up? Brizard entered as CPS’ new leader a little under a year ago. Here’s the original org chart for his leadership team, showing his eight direct reports (click, then scroll down).

 Just nine months later two of the people brought in for those roles are already out. There’ve been intense rumors lately that more will soon be—or already are—gone.  So what’s the shake-up threshold? Is 2 of 8 a shake-up? 3 of 8? Half? What would crossing that line say about the success of our new mayor on schools? And as internal confidence in CPS leadership plummets what are the rest of us supposed to think and feel?  

I see all this as an acknowledgment from Team Rahm that they’ve messed some things up on schools and are attempting to hit the reset button. That could end up being a really good thing. If they replace the original folks with the right new team there’s still plenty of time to create long-term school improvement wins for Rahm and for kids. My prediction (as it has been) is that Donoso ultimately goes. Brizard stays, but only because it’d be too public an admission of defeat for Rahm to switch him out. Look for Robert Boik, new CPS Chief of Staff, to fill some of the leadership vacuum.  Anyone have a better sense of what’s happened/going to happen?

 $130M MORE FOR PRINCIPALS’ DISCRETION (from Seth)

 There are a couple things you’re supposed to do if you’re running a reform school district these days. For a moment let’s put aside portfolio realignment (closings, turnarounds, charter expansions). You’re supposed to push common core adoption, increase rigor of student tests and increase availability/importance of accompanying student achievement data. Create clear student achievement metrics and make that data a big part of how you evaluate instructors and schools. Meanwhile, give principals and teachers as much autonomy as possible in hitting those achievement goals. Throw resources at whoever’s generating student achievement, according to the data; get rid of whoever isn’t.

 Whatever their problems current CPS leadership has been consistent in promising more principal autonomy and more central office money redirected to schools. They announced this week they’re pushing $130M in new money into principals’ discretionary funds—about $250K more on average for each school.

 The big wonky issue here isn’t how much money’s being spent in schools. It’s who’s deciding how money’s being spent in schools. Does district central office decide? Or do those decisions get made at the school level? Currently principals get a certain amount of discretionary money and a lot of money that comes pre-earmarked by CPS for spending on certain teachers, textbooks, staff and programming. Practically, increased principal autonomy means less earmarked money and more discretionary money.

CPS says $50M of the $130M is existing central office spending (earmarked money) that’ll now be discretionary. The rest comes form $100M in unidentified central office cuts. Plenty of people are skeptical, particularly about those ambiguous cuts.

Sarah Karp’s Catalyst story has the best detail on what this all means.

NEW PRINCIPALS – where will they come from?

From a reader: 
I am concerned because there aren’t enough potential candidates on the eligibility list to fill all the vacancies. Sadly, the principal at my children’s school is retiring and I heard the estimate puts the number at 140. There will be a lot of instability in our entire school system. The Chief Ed Officer (Donoso) is resigning and she makes the 4th resignation at central office of key employees. We may be looking at an unfunded longer day and a teacher’s strike. Elementary principal’s don’t have their budgets and it looks like from the story above that the principals don’t get to decide the start/end times for the schools and CPS will TELL them when the start/edn times will be. They are calling this “Chaos on Clark Street” and it sure looks like it!!!

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WBEZ story on the IB High School Programs The Budgets Are Coming, The Budgets Are Coming

180 Comments Add your own

  • 1. falconergrad  |  April 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I am really worried about the principal thing as well. Our school is in the process of looking for a new one. I thought we were behind schedule of everyone else, but now I think we might have a slight edge because ours announced he was not returning in January, I think.

    Honestly, I think we will lose a lot of teachers, too. I don’t know how they would fill all of those jobs unless they start hiring people who currently live in the suburbs.

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  April 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    So to comment on my own post, this principal shortage thing is a bit disturbing. I’d heard anecdotally that the principal list in the past was not highly impressive and I cannot believe it will have 140 people to fill all the spots. I thought I’ve also heard that somebody in CPS (maybe the area offices or whatever they’re called now) are not crazy about schools bringing in candidates from out of CPS. I assume they feel like teachers in CPS who work hard to be ready for admin positions are unfairly displaced? It DOES seem like the easy default is to hire the Asst Principal when the Principal retires. Statistically, let’s assume that makes sense in 50% of the situations. That still leaves 70 principal to hire.

    I’m reading this book now about the history of the reform movement. It’s pretty good at pulling it all into place chronologically:

    Anyhow, it talks about the importance of principal leadership, which I buy into (as a person, not as a reformer). Also, my conversations with the principals at Disney2 and Fiske reminded me about the energy and ideas that can come from a strategic leader. I hope, I really hope enough schools can find the right Principal to lead them through the next few years.

  • 3. anonymouseteacher  |  April 29, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    My kids’ school is hiring a new principal and asst. principal and teachers are not thrilled about the candidates even though our LSC had a lot of notice and started looking back in January/February. It is a bad year to be looking for a principal. There just aren’t many decent, let alone great principals out there.
    I don’t think it will be hard to find teacher replacements this year for general education classrooms since so many young grads can’t find placements. But the typical shortage areas will be even harder to staff (sped, bilingual, math, science, library, etc.) I do think two years from now, given how many fewer people are enrolling in teacher ed programs and how many people are trying to get out of teaching, that there will be shortages in even those areas that are typically easy to fill like early primary. But this is cyclical and par for the course.
    I don’t think there is any concern at all about displacing possible current teachers who’d like to be principal with outside candidates. The issue is more that no one wants that job. There are at least 5 teachers with type 75’s who could step in and take an admin job but none of them are willing to be an administrator in the city.

  • 4. efrainmartinez  |  April 29, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    whatever happened to the principal leadership collaborative Emanuel was talking about a couple of months ago?

  • 5. cpsobsessed  |  April 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    @anonymouseteacher: what are the issues with the candidates? Or just not inspiring enough?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 6. Mich  |  April 29, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Having been on a principal selection I can attest that inspiring candidates are difficult. But one of the big issues I heard from potential principals in the interview process was the difficulty as a non-union leader, leading a union shop where they really had no power to fire. We were basically told that the principals would be “pushing early retirements” of teachers who were known to be less than average but that they really couldn’t fire them.
    We didn’t hire the candidate who acknowledged that, we hired someon who vowed to start review etc, but the reality, has been EXACTLY as that first candidate noted. Given that, principal is a pretty thankless job. They are dealing with teachers who fight them for going against status quo, up against parents clamoring for change and knowing they have only so much power. Does that sound like a job you want?

  • 7. sandersrockets  |  April 29, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Just having a type 75 or being an assistant principal isn’t enough to take a principal job in CPS. It is a rigorous process.

    Regarding reformation in CPS, I agree that there is need for change. I am very concerned with the numbers of teachers and administrators fleeing the system. I am not a fan of Rahm’s handling of CPS thus far. Nor of his puppet, Brizard. The fact that 4 members of Rahm’s board has left or are leaving before their contract has ended is disconcerting, especially when one of them is a top brass.

    Rahm’s politics before our children seems to be the cause of the “chaos.”

  • 8. anonymouseteacher  |  April 29, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    @5, the issue is our school is replacing a beloved principal and probably, there isn’t a person on earth who could fill her shoes. Many of the teachers at the school took positions there specifically because they wanted to work for this principal. She was a true instructional leader who pushed her staff and supported them and would say her staff did the same for her. I know that some of the staff is retiring or looking for other jobs simply because they cannot stand the thought of staying in CPS under any other leader.
    I am curious, though, about what Mich said. The rules have dramatically changed and it is much easier to get rid of teachers, so that shouldn’t be an issue starting fall of ’12.
    And don’t forget, while principals do have to deal with difficult teachers, they also have to deal with difficult parents, difficult children, difficult communities, decrepid buildings, lack of money, not to mention the mess that is called central office, the ridiculous amount of mandates that come down that have nothing to do with teaching or learning, and much more.

  • 9. Y  |  April 29, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    It’ll be interesting to see how the discretionary funding issue plays out. From the linked article – “Principals have long complained that too much of their school budget is tied up with mandatory expenses. Yet if they end up with less money overall, they will forced to make tough decisions and take the blame for program cuts made by district leaders.” The schools may have more control but over less total money.

  • 10. CLB  |  April 29, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Are LSC Principal Selection Committees legally permitted to reach out to asst. principals at high-performing schools, by whatever metric you wish to use, to suggest that they apply? That is, is any head-hunting allowed or permitted?

  • 11. EVELYN  |  April 29, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    You can reach out and hire anyone AS LONG AS they are on the CPS principal list. AP are not placed on the list, they have to go through the process like everyone else. The same hold true for principals from other districts and those out of state.

  • 12. EVELYN  |  April 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Getting on the list is all done downtown, from this list LSCs can select people to interview or hire. If an LSC find a principal out of town then they better be sure their choice is able to make this list. The list is selective and HARD.

  • 13. Disuse mom  |  April 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Hiring the AP seems like the best choice for a lot of schools, but CPS won’t always (or even often) allow it. Candidates have to jump through hoops to get on this list. If an LSC wants to hire a principal not on the list who otherwise seems exceptionally qualified, the will not be given any explanation if the person the think best fits their school does not meet some criteria CPS has set forth but won’t publicize.

  • 14. mud  |  April 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Our school tried to attract principal candidates from outside CPS and my understanding is that they received few applicants from that strategy and that one prospect who was from a suburb withdrew from the process fairly early on. I have heard that CPS is seeking HR recruiters who can try to attract principal candidates to the system. I think there are many schools that could be refreshed with a change of leadership, but the principal will really need support from the staff, parents and community and that could be tough given all the other changes that are in the works.

    I also heard an interesting story about a couple of the schools that were recently designated as turnarounds. They clearly had long-term issues and low test scores, but had hired promising new principals within the past couple of years and things were looking up. Apparently things didn’t improve quickly enough and now the entire staff will be replaced and the communities are back to square one. At least one of the principals has already found a new position in the suburbs. I think it’s a sad story for CPS and will work against its efforts to attract new principals.

  • 15. anonymous  |  April 29, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Wonder what criteria the Office of Principal Preparedness and Development use that qualify a job seeker to be “eligible.”
    That should be public knowledge, shouldn’t it?
    Also heard that there is a way to fast track a candidate through OPPD eligibility rules. Anyone tell us how that works?

  • 16. anonymous  |  April 29, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    I worry when Seth and other reformers’ support teacher evaluations tied to students’ testing.

    It changes the classroom for the worse — it overemphasizes standardized testing, and test prep takes over the curriculum.

    It happens everywhere; it is the rare principal that doesn’t push test prep. In one selective elementary school, test prep replaces the reading curriculum in the third quarter in 8th grade. There was a slight break, but it is back again because the 8th grade Explore test is now a “high stakes” test.

    Below is a well-written example of how it harms a child’s way of thinking. It encourages him to “find the answer,” but not to develop real depth of understanding.

    http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/04/23/how-testing-is-hurting-teaching/?ref=education

  • 17. sethlavin  |  April 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Hey #16. This is Seth. I wasn’t necessarily saying “this is what I think districts should do.” I was saying “this is what you are supposed to do if you are a ‘reform district.'” Sorry if I didn’t make that clear!

  • 18. EVELYN  |  April 29, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    I didn’t hear about this “fast track” for principals, anyone know about this?

  • 19. EVELYN  |  April 29, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    @3, what qualifies as a “decent” candidate?

  • 20. anonymous  |  April 30, 2012 at 6:40 am

    Seth — thanks for making that distinction; however, I have read your weekly recaps for months now.

    I find that you support ed reform, with an occasional reservation about a particular misapplication of the theory, like the CICS situation.

    Am I wrong to say that I see you supporting privatization through the continued expansion of charters; teacher evaluations by student test scores; the revamping the hiring and firing of teachers without regard to seniority or tenure, and the implementation of a longer day regardless of funding or parents’ concerns and opinions. You have never minded that a 5 year old will sit in school for 7 hours.

    In essence, I see that you, as a former, short-lived TFA-er, support the mayor’s ed policies in substance — if you do quibble from time to time about his and Mr. Vitale’s harsh tone.

    Pls. correct me if I am wrong.

  • 21. anonymous  |  April 30, 2012 at 7:04 am

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/28/opinion/collins-a-very-pricey-pineapple.html?ref=todayspaper

    Gail Collins mentions the enormous profits privatization generates — something that many ed reformers do not discuss.

  • 22. anonymous  |  April 30, 2012 at 7:12 am

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-28/news/chi-national-louis-university-to-lay-off-up-to-80-staffers-20120428_1_upcoming-budget-staffers-chicago-institution

    National Louis U. is among the very best colleges of education in our city, but it will cut up to 80 staffers because applications have dropped. The years-long teacher-bashing by ed reformers may have contributed to fewer young people wanting to teach.

    About 4,000 CPS teachers have put in for retirement or leaving so far this year, and, as others have said, many principals are retiring, unhappy with the mayor’s ed policies.

    Heard that atty. Patrick Rock is also retiring.

  • 23. anonymous  |  April 30, 2012 at 7:23 am

    From Newstips by Curtis Black

    Brighton Park parents: new school should serve neighborhood
    Posted: 29 Apr 2012 01:09 PM PDT

    Brighton Park parents are asking that a new school now under construction be open to neighborhood students in order to relieve overcrowding in area schools – and they’re complaining of “deception” by local charter school operator UNO, which wants the building.
    Parents will march from Shields Elementary School, 4250 S. Rockwell, at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 30, and hold a press conference at the site of the new school, 48th and Rockwell, at 9:30.
    With 1,849 students, Shields is one of the most overcrowded schools in CPS, according to parent leaders with Brighton Park Neighborhood Council.
    Many parents say UNO organizers collecting signatures on a petition to give the new school to UNO misled them about its purpose, with the petition’s text often not available or available only in English, said Patrick Brosnan of BPNC. Parents will discuss this at the press conference, he said.
    Parents leaders with BPNC have pushed for over five years for a new school in the neighborhood to relieve overcrowding. A charter school that takes students citywide will not help, they say.
    Shields is one of four schools where BPNC has partnered to create Full-Service Community Schools, offering after-school tutoring, art and drama, along with GED and ESL for parents and leadership development for students and parents. The program includes counseling, mental health services, and support for at-risk students.
    The approach has led to steadily improving achievement levels, Brosnan said. With 97 percent low-income and 29 percent English-learning students, Shields outperforms CPS averages on reading, math, and science.
    CPS officials and several elected officials are scheduled to attend a public meeting on the new school on Thursday, May 3, at Shields.

  • 24. donna  |  April 30, 2012 at 8:04 am

    More chaos, from http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-cut-positions-free-cash-principals-98625?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+cpreducation+%28WBEZ+News%3A+Education%29

    “CPS officials also plan to eliminate 14 International Baccalaureate coordinators, despite Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to expand IB programs across the district.

    An additional $4.1 million will be shifted from magnet cluster positions and schools that used to be designated as Autonomous Management Performance Schools, or AMPS. “

  • 25. anonymous  |  April 30, 2012 at 8:59 am

    CPS cuts 14 IB coordinators! And guts its IB and AMPs schools?

    But spends many millions employing dozens of MBAs with no ed background a long with Family and Community Engagement folks who also lack a background in education.

    Why should middle class parents stay in the city and consider a CPS education?

    Makes no sense at all.

  • 26. anonymous  |  April 30, 2012 at 9:09 am

    From the web site of Diane Ravitch.

    Letter to My President – The One I Voted For

    February 1, 2011

    Dear President Obama:
    I mean this with all respect. I’m on my knees here, and there’s a knife in my back, and the prints on it kinda match yours. I think you don’t get it.
    Your Race to the Top is killing the wrong guys. You’re hitting the good guys with friendly fire. I’m teaching in a barrio in California. I had 32 kids in my class last year. I love them to tears. They’re 5th graders. That means they’re 10 years old, mostly. Six of them were 11 because they were retained. Five more were in special education, and two more should have been. I stopped using the word “parents” with my kids because so many of them don’t have them. Amanda’s mom died in October. She lives with her 30-year-old brother. (A thousand blessings on him.) Seven kids live with their “Grams,” six with their dads. A few rotate between parents. So “parents” is out as a descriptor.
    Here’s the kicker: Fifty percent of my students have set foot in a jail or prison to visit a family member.
    Do you and your secretary of education, Arne Duncan, understand the significance of that? I’m afraid not. It’s not bad teaching that got things to the current state of affairs. It’s pure, raw poverty. We don’t teach in failing schools. We teach in failing communities. It’s called the ZIP Code Quandary. If the kids live in a wealthy ZIP code, they have high scores; if they live in a ZIP code that’s entombed with poverty, guess how they do?
    We also have massive teacher turnover at my school. Now, we have no money. We haven’t had an art or music teacher in 10 years. We have a nurse twice a week. And because of the No Child Left Behind Act, struggling public schools like mine are held to impossible standards and punished brutally when they don’t meet them. Did you know that 100 percent of our students have to be on grade level, or else we could face oversight by an outside agency? That’s like saying you have to achieve 100 percent of your policy objectives every year.
    It’s not bad teaching that got things to the current state of affairs. It’s pure, raw poverty.
    You lived in Indonesia, so you know what conditions are like in the rest of the world. President Obama, I swear that conditions in my school are akin to those in the third world. We had a test when I taught in the Peace Corps. We had to describe a glass filled to the middle. (We were supposed to say it was half full.) Too many of my kids don’t even have the glass!
    Next, gangs. Gangs eat my kids, their parents, and the neighborhood. One of my former students stuffed an AK47 down his pants at a local bank and was shot dead by the police. Another one of my favorites has been incarcerated since he was 13. He’ll be 27 in November. I’ve been writing to him for 10 years and visiting him in the maximum-security section of Salinas Valley State Prison.
    Do you get that it’s tough here? Charter schools and voucher schools aren’t the solution. They are an excuse not to fix the real issues. You promised us so much. And you want to give us merit pay? Anyway, I think we really need to talk. Oh, and can you pull the knife out while you’re standing behind me? It really hurts.
    Sincerely yours,

    Paul Karrer
    Fifth grade teacher at Castroville Elementary School
    North Monterey County, CA

  • 27. Mayfair Dad  |  April 30, 2012 at 9:56 am

    “It’s not bad teaching that got things to the current state of affairs. It’s pure, raw poverty. We don’t teach in failing schools. We teach in failing communities. It’s called the ZIP Code Quandary. If the kids live in a wealthy ZIP code, they have high scores; if they live in a ZIP code that’s entombed with poverty, guess how they do?”

    Absolutely true. But how do we fix this without resorting to the Robin Hood Quandary? i.e. dismantle what’s currently working in nicer neighborhoods to free up more resources to throw at schools in impoverished neighborhoods?

  • 28. anonymous  |  April 30, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Wait up — looks like you are assuming that per pupil spending in CPS is higher in neighborhood schools with fewer low-income students.

    And so, in those nicer neighborhoods you have to gut their programs to give more to the poorer students?

    B/c that is not what CPS docs show.

    The opposite, in fact, because of Title 1 funds.

    We know of successful (once AMPs) neighborhod schools that get much less in per pupil funding than high poverty, high minority schools. And they have less in supports and enrichment as a result.

    So no, I don’t see that CPS needs to dismantle what is working. It could very well leave it alone to muddle on, and focus on the bottom third of “low-performing seats,” like other cities have Houston, Boston, Philadelphia. They did not cut the successful schools, They did apply for federal School Improvement Grants.

  • 29. Angie  |  April 30, 2012 at 10:22 am

    @28. anonymous: “We know of successful (once AMPs) neighborhod schools that get much less in per pupil funding than high poverty, high minority schools. ”

    So what is the extra money is spent on at high poverty schools? Does anyone know?

  • 30. Mayfair Dad  |  April 30, 2012 at 10:29 am

    From the WBEZ article referenced above:

    “CPS officials also plan to eliminate 14 International Baccalaureate coordinators, despite Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to expand IB programs across the district.

    An additional $4.1 million will be shifted from magnet cluster positions and schools that used to be designated as Autonomous Management Performance Schools, or AMPS.

    More cuts may be announced in the weeks to come, said CPS spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler.”

    Reallocation of funds to address the needs of lower performing schools in impoverished neighborhoods.

  • 31. sethlavin  |  April 30, 2012 at 10:56 am

    @20/anonymous. Thanks for reading! I don’t think you have me right, exactly. I definitely support a lot of what get called “ed reforms” but also don’t support a lot of what we get called “ed reforms.” As for whether I support the mayor’s agenda– it depends. Frankly I think it’s hard to discern a clear strategy or set of guiding beliefs in what they’re up to, so I don’t even know what I’d be supporting if I said I support his agenda.

    As for this: “I see you supporting…the implementation of a longer day regardless of funding or parents’ concerns and opinions” I think you’re attacking other people’s views and calling them mine. Happy to talk more about any of this. Email me at sethlavin (at) gmail.com

  • 32. cpsobsessed  |  April 30, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I *think* the low-income funds are around $700 per student. So in a school of 500 that could be $350,000.
    That can be used up pretty quickly with a few teacher positions.
    Keep in mind those schools don’t have the fundraising money to help. So they’re coming in at maybe a couple teachers and a special (art, music, gym, computers, science teacher) more than a school without that funding.
    Good question though. Makes me curious how the schools do it.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 33. neighborhood schools  |  April 30, 2012 at 11:17 am

    #23. That makes me sick. If a neighborhood is supporting its school and vice-versa, as it seems to be the case as described, it seems to be there is no less expensive alternative that a true neighborhood school. I’m just sick about the privatization of CPS. I’m so angry at Rahm and his charter cohorts. I’m glad I didn’t vote for him, but now I have no clue how much damage he can do. He seems to be working so quickly to take CPS away from the people and into private hands.

  • 34. Mom23  |  April 30, 2012 at 11:25 am

    The dollars come out similar with high poverty and schools who fundraise. Schools with low poverty, get very little in discretionary funding. Schools with high poverty get more discretionary funding. In Trib it said $200k-1.2million. What are the schools who get 1.2 million doing with the funds? Schools with very high poverty, get a lot more discretionary.

    In general, schools get about $300-$500 discretioniary (either funds based on poverty or discretionary supplemented with parent fundraising). If this is the case, why aren’t all schools able to fund the same things-positions-programs?

    The money is not being managed well at the school level in many cases. Parents need to dig into their individual school budgets to ensure it is being spent properly and in the best interest of the students.

  • 35. Angie  |  April 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    So if these schools get several hundred dollars extra per student, then how come they cannot afford the basics like paper, crayons and other things that I have to pay for at my kids’ schools? How come they cannot get a few $1-$3 books from Scholastic if there are no books at all for the children to read?

  • 36. CLB  |  April 30, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    @29 Per pupil spending is not necessarily a good way to examine a failing school v. a successful one because students will be fleeing a successful one and flocking to a good one. A school w/ 25 students per grade on average across grades that is failing will have a higher per-pupil spending than one with an average of 35 students per grade. Still, at a poorly performing inner-city school, spending will be higher than a better performing one even if enrollment is identical to provide remedial aid and other counseling. It is very hard to break this out of aggregate school figures, even when grouped by instruction, administration, support, etc. because many different items are grouped there. Also, getting good teachers to go to a failing school requires a higher salary. If you were offered a choice between teaching at an SE-high school or a failing school for the same pay, which would you pick?

    But this misses the zip code issue. The wealthier-zip kids do well not because their school gets more funding (though many do*) but because the kids are from wealthier families (“socio-economic status” or SES is higher): their parents are much more likely to have BAs or higher, have more time to pay attention to their children (e.g.,help with homework, ensure homework is done), and be able to afford or pursue extra-school learning. These factors matter more than spending per se or even the type of school (public, private, parochial) in terms of student achievement test scores. But there is no quick fix to SES inequalities.

    * Much of the extra funding comes in the form of capital improvements, which are not covered by some measures of funding. If the parents buy Smartboards for the classrooms, renovate an auditorium, or donate services (tech consultant), this usually will not show up in expenditure comparisons.

  • 37. CLB  |  April 30, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    @34 No doubt there is some school-level mismanagement, but even “discretionary” money often gets directed into things like providing more remedial assistance, counselors, security guards & custodians to keep up an aging physical plant. Let’s say a school was given $200,000 extra, and decided to put that straight into class-room instruction. What would that get a K-8 or HS? Take teacher salary add on the fringe (healthcare, pension, etc) and you’re lucky to get an additional 2 teachers and 1 assistant. So at best you could reduce class-size and increase attention in two to three classrooms. The net impact on overall school performance would be slight, even if you got high-quality people in those roles.

    Imagine if instead, a principal hired 8 subject-major BAs (e.g., math, English, science) with one-year pedagogical training and paid them $50/hour to tutor students for 2 hours after school for 180 days ($50*8*2*180=$144,000). The remainder of the money would provide snacks, supervision, and supplies so students could do their homework even if they did not receive tutoring every day. You might get better results, but I imagine CPS would consider this an improper use of the money.

  • 38. anonymous  |  April 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Principals often try to have lower class sizes in kindergarten, at least, b/c benefits accrued in the youngest years have a lasting effect. According to the Trib, CPS has federal money — $16 mln — for tutoring required under NCLB that it hasn’t spent either last year or this, and is in a hurry to do so or lose it.

  • 39. Peter  |  April 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    I read about the tutoring money. I am assuming it’s for low income students. I don’t think our school has any program.

  • 40. EdgewaterMom  |  April 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Why would the cut the IB coordinators when they are in the process of expanding the program?!! It sounds like they are eliminating ALL of the coordinators (there are 10 schools and some have MYP, which has their own coordinator).

    They have been promoting the IB program because it works very well, and then they turn around and eliminate key positions in these programs? I thought that IB program requires that you have a coordinator, but I guess I am wrong. I hope that this story is wrong!

  • 41. mom2  |  April 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    If the lower income students/schools don’t want to use the 16 million for tutoring, we’d be glad to use some of it for tutoring for our kids. We couldn’t possibly afford to pay for private tutoring and our kids could certainly benefit from some extra tutoring after school.
    Does anyone know if the issue with the tutoring not being used is due to the location or times where they offer this tutoring? It should be offered at school right after classes are over.

  • 42. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 30, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    It’s not that the lower income kids don’t want the tutoring. It’s CPS responsibility to provide it and they haven’t. So now they found out that the $16M will be lost they are scrambling bc Springfield is upset they haven’t provided it. I wonder how many kids at the schools that were closed and turned into charters could have used that help?

  • 43. EVELYN  |  April 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    FYI, the requirements to be a CPS principal is on the cpswebsite. Also, to the poster who said their were no decent principals on the CPS list when his school was looking for a new principal, I would like to know how you judge “decent”.

    It seems that many people assume that the type 75 certification is a piece of cake. It is not. First you have to take 12-18months of classes (average), of course you have to pass the classes. In addition, complete a year long internship under a practicing administrator, and finally pass the state assessment. This is not as easy as some would make it out to be. Universities are not just handing out free type 75s.

    A word about experience, MANY LSCs get hung up on wanting an administrator with experience but how can administrators ever get the experience without get that first job? We all were newbies at one time, from the newbie teacher, newbie doctor, newbie judge, etc.

  • 44. mom2  |  April 30, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Who specifically is “CPS” and why didn’t that specific person or people provide it? This blanket “CPS” didn’t do this and didn’t do that doesn’t get us anywhere. I’m trying to find out why it wasn’t used or offered. If it wasn’t that people didn’t use it, but instead it was because it wasn’t offered, why didn’t the lower income schools offer it?

  • 45. Steve  |  April 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    @ Evelyn, AMEN!!

    I will take a young, innovative, excited administrator any day over an older “experienced” jaded one.

  • 46. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    #44 CPS ADMINISTRATION! They did not give the principal the money or option to provide lower income schools the tutoring~now Rahm found out that CPS will lose it and he’s scrambling to give tutoring and using the 16M b4 end of year.

    #43 Our school took an AP first year w/MANY years experience as a teacher. Many schools look for that combo not just YOUNG inexperienced.

  • 47. cpsobsessed  |  April 30, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I don’t know if I was the one who said “decent” but my son’s school’s LSC alluded to seeing many resumes that looked unprofessional, letters with poor grammar etc.
    I got the sense they didn’t consider those “decent” and I gotta say I would concur, if it’s true.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 48. Steve  |  April 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I would agree that those (spelling, grammar, etc) mistakes are unacceptable. However, my school went through a principal search 2 years ago and I am not exaggerating when I say Helen Keller would not have been ok with this LSC. Some people are impossible to please. They never even bothered to look at new principals’s resumes.

  • 49. local  |  April 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I need help understanding all the testing my 8th gravders will be getiing: Explore, MAP, PSAT, Prairie, ACT, etc. Help! New thread, cpso?

  • 50. anonymouseteacher  |  April 30, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Why does it always have to be that the young, inexperienced teacher/AP/Principal is excited and innovative and the older, experience one is jaded? Those are two extremes. It isn’t always one or the other.
    Also, all those jaded older staff members were once excited and invested. Perhaps a conversation, somewhere, is needed to help understand what the heck happens in schools that leaves so many excited young staff members in total disallusionment over their profession.

  • 51. Rick  |  April 30, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I’ve always said that if I had a chance to speak to Rahm about tying teacher evaluations to student performance I would point out that I taught in Cabrini and other crime ridden neighborhoods for 18 years, few, if any, of my students read at or above grade level. I transferred to a wonderful school in a safe stable area and all my students read at or above grade level. Did I become a better teacher overnight? No, what I had was an environment in which students felt safe and had supportive parents with the education and means to provide them with a life rich which provided numerous opportunities to learn and grow.

    I met Rahm at an event last month and I chickened out. If anyone else gets the chance, pass comment on to him.

  • 52. Mayfair Dad  |  April 30, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    @ 47 – 48 and others. Having lived through two principal searches, I can tell you it is a ton of work and a thankless task.

    1. Our first principal search occurred during a year like this one, with an inordinate number of principal retirements. Even after opening our search to national job banks for educators and administrators, the talent pool was thin and the overall quality of candidate was disappointing.

    2. We spent a great deal of time in committee meetings describing ideal principal – this description was baked into our job posting and created the rubric we evaluated resumes against. This worksheet was stapled to the front of each resume to “score” the resumes. Points were taken off for misspelled words and poor grammar.

    3. We created a set of interview questions to drill down into what we felt the ideal principal’s key competencies should be. The live interviews were very telling. Some candidates who looked great on paper were certifiable nut jobs. Other candidates who barely made the cut-off turned out to be very dynamic.

    4. The site visit to see the candidate in their natural habitat is very telling. On some tours it was like Cold War era Russia; other tours we were given free rein to interview teachers, students, the building engineer. You can learn a lot about somebody by talking to the building engineer.

    5. On our second principal search, the AIO gave the final three candidates a deck of information on our school and instructed them to return the following week and give us (the LSC search committee) a PowerPoint presentation on the current state of instruction at the school, and what their recommendations for improvement would be. I witnessed two remarkable educators absolutely blow the committee away with their insights and professionalism; the third candidate couldn’t figure out how to operate the projector.

    If I was involved with a principal search this year, I would be worried about the slim pickings. Very few of the non-CPS candidates we spoke to inspired confidence, it seems like CPS speaks a different language than the rest of academia. Still, I think you have to cast a wide net. The talent pool just isn’t that deep.

  • 53. anonymouseteacher  |  April 30, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Mayfair dad, just wanted to commend you and the LSC you were on for doing site visits. Anyone can schmooze a committee if they are smart. But going to a school, talking to staff and really seeing for yourself is good practice. Personally, I wish my principal (who I really like) could be in our classrooms every week observing us. It would do wonders, I think, on many levels. The fact that you as a parent would be willing to take time out of your workday to go an visit a candidate’s school is amazing and your school is lucky to have you.

  • 54. CLB  |  April 30, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    @53 on @52

    Agreed. You should write up the process your LSC used and post it for others to model.

  • 55. sandersrockets  |  April 30, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Don’t feel bad Rick, Rahm doesn’t care what others think/feel. From a VERY GOOD SOURCE Denoso is out because she gave him her opinion which differed from his.

  • 56. Steve  |  April 30, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    That is my point, a site visit assumes that the principal candidate has a site for an LSC to visit. My point is not that you should take a bad candidate, but that many times brand new administrators are not even considered. I don’t think this the way to approach a principal search. Most listings advertising a vacancy put X number of years experience as a prerequisite. By doing this you never consider the new crop of wonderful principals with talent and potential.

  • 57. anonymous  |  May 1, 2012 at 8:10 am

    The DoE policies are changing education at all our schools, and Diane Ravitch grades Arne Duncan’s efforts in this piece. Might help LSCs come up with some good interview questions, and it will be clear where our mayor’s policy initiatives originate.

    Report Card: Arne Duncan by Diane Ravitch
    New York Review of Books blog
    March 07, 2012

    http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/mar/07/flunking-arne-duncan/

  • 58. Mayfair Dad  |  May 1, 2012 at 8:32 am

    @56: I don’t disagree, but it really depends on the situation. For us, we were looking to replace a principal that had been at the school for 18 years. His long-serving AP retired in the same year. You can’t replace that much acquired wisdom with a greenhorn.

    Also factor in: 975 students, about 25 different nationalities, 85% poverty and a very tenured teaching staff. A newbie would have been eaten alive by these teachers.

    That being said, there should be a career path for newly minted certificate 75s who want to become principals. I believe New Leaders for New Schools is a program to do just that. Not sure if it still exists or other programs like it.

  • 59. edisonparent18  |  May 1, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Edison is about to hire its assistant principal new schools leader. She has no vision and the LSC, which is an absolute sham, is bypassing an incredible candidate for a regressive vision of education with less technology, less differentiated instruction, and less innovation. It is a travesty. It is not hard to be successful with the 99th percentile, the most affluent demographic of all schools in CPS, and a brand new facility. The place is bankrupt of any innovation and this hiring will be further evidence of that.

  • 60. CuriousGirl  |  May 1, 2012 at 9:45 am

    #59
    I am new this year to Edison. Did Oberhardt get hired by the LSC? Who was the other candidate? Or were there several?

  • 61. edisonparent18  |  May 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Not yet, but if that farce of a meeting last night is any indication… Oberhardt seems to be who the LSC is leaning towards. Shane Smith is the other candidate, she is impressive, and she is also under consideration for the Hawthorne principalship. They are going to get a wonderful leader.

  • 62. Joel  |  May 1, 2012 at 10:24 am

    In October, our principal left to take the top position at the West Network. I questioned the sense of having someone leave in October, but was assured that we would have a new principal by the end of the month. In November we got an interim (retired ex-principal) who essentially was there to sign off on anything that needed a principal signature. In January, we got another interim, gifted to us from the Network. In March, one of our assistant principals left for another school. As this has all played out, negative issues within the student body have increased and teachers are feeling rudderless. If Farragut was listed on the Dow, we’d be crashing through 52-week lows.
    I have sat in on the principal selection meetings. The candidates are not inspiring, to be charitable. The best one, in my mind, recused himself from the process and stated he was looking in a suburban district. The others seemes like more of the same: smarmy, connected, parroting lines, basically CPS-for-life admins (you know what I’m talking about). I’m sure that top schools will have no problem attracting dynamic leadership (from within and external), but elsewhere the reality seems to be that CPS is a maelstrom that nobody wants to touch for anyone coming from the outside. For those of you who have the desire to really make the neighborhood schools a viable option, it will start with the principal. That’s a make or break selection to tip the scales, and I am pessimistically optimistic that there will be candidates who will have the necessary background as well as inspiring leadership skills, and an LSC and staff that is up for the challenge, because I want nothing more than to see neighborhood HSs become great options.
    We have multiple early retirements this year, leadership has been jumping ship, and teachers have been as well, even a few leaving at semester (young teachers who decided to go back to school, not early retirements just unable to take it any longer). I would say that the chaos overall in the CPS has contributed to this, and certainly in my own decision to leave.
    I’ve never looked around and felt the need and desire to teach my kids in the hope of bettering their lives more, while simultaneously being repulsed and crestfallen about the reality of trying to do that.
    On the random flipside, the new teacher evaluation protocol isn’t bad; I’m looking forward to their presentation to teachers on how we evaluate administration. I think the wind is coming out of the sails in terms of striking as more and more details/concessions/softening rhetoric is coming down, so parents, don’t plan any month-long trips on the Trans-Siberian Railway in September; you’ll be in school!

  • 63. EdParent  |  May 1, 2012 at 10:29 am

    @EdisonParent18 – I hate that I missed last night’s principal forum, but I just couldn’t get there. I’ll be there tonight to see what the LSC decides. I’m resigned to the fact that the AP will get the position, but it makes me very sad to think that Mrs. Smith is not getting fair consideration. She seems absolutely amazing to me. I suspect that our loss will be Hawthorne’s gain.

  • 64. PortageParent  |  May 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    59, 61, 63, etc. – Wow, I’m surprised by the animosity towards the Edison LSC. I did not walk away feeling like last night’s forum was a travesty or a sham. Both candidates recieved equal time. The forum itself was fair. I don’t see how you could get the impression that hiring the AP is a done deal. I also don’t see how you can be so very sure that the current AP is a backwards step. As for the other candidate, she seems nice enough and her background is intriguing, but I don’t know that she would be a slam dunk either. Do you have some other info about her other than what she presented? I walked away feeling basically ambivalent about the whole thing. I saw pros and cons for both candidates. It’s interesting how people can be at the same event and walk away with opposite perceptions.

  • 65. EdParent  |  May 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    @PortageParent – I don’t have any animosity toward the LSC. I appreciate that there are people out there able and willing to do the job. While I love our school, I believe that it could be even better given some fresh perspective. Mrs. Oberhardt is a very nice woman who clearly cares about our kids. I believe that the schoool will remain an excellent place under her guidance, I just wonder how much more it could be.

  • 66. Jackie  |  May 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    No offense to well intentioned and seasoned principals in our fine city, but what about the newly promoted ones. I am not confident that these newbies can appropriate funds properly. My child’s school has a new principal, that can barely function beyond her own voice. We need financial oversight, at the district level too. This is, after all, Chicago.

  • 67. Mayfair Dad  |  May 1, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    @ 64 – 65: There are confidential aspects of the process that make the uninitiated nervous and cause people to suspect foul play where none exists. When you are dealing with job offers, evaluating resumes, interviews, etc. the LSC’s hands are tied re: what information can be shared and when. This was especially dicey with some teachers who wanted a more active role in choosing their next boss, but had to rely on the teacher representatives (only two LSC votes) to protect their interests. You could argue the power in this process tips in favor of the parents; I would argue that is a good thing.

  • 68. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  May 1, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    M Dad, I thought parents only have 2 seats on an LSC, just as many as teachers. So, in what way does the power in the process tip in favor of the parents.

  • 69. cpsobsessed  |  May 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Parents have 6 seats.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 70. db  |  May 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    @68 Parents have 6 seats on the LSC, community members have 2, teachers have 2 and 1 spot for the non-teaching staff member.

  • 71. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  May 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Oh. duh.Shows you what I know.

  • 72. cpsobsessed  |  May 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Now trying to get agreement between 6 parents….whole other story.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 73. junior  |  May 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    @70

    And don’t forget principals have a seat (but can’t vote on their own contract). Law was recently passed — backed by CTU — to add the “non-teaching staff member” and eliminate the parent majority that was originally built into the LSC laws.

  • 74. cpsobsessed  |  May 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Wow, I was wondering about the position. Amundsen has their security guy on the lsc and they mentioned that spot and I’d never heard of it before.
    Interesting abt balancing the parent power….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 75. edisonparent18  |  May 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Edison is a fine school but I think people there are in love with themselves and how great they “think” things are going. I want to best for my son and there are clearly some things that are lacking. Differentiated instruction is lacking, the short shrift given to technology is troubling. When Oberhardt’s answer to why she wants to be principal is because she “loves our kids so much”, I find that not warm and fuzzy but showing a lack of vision. CPS is expanding the school day and the best they can do is add and hour of study hall across the board?!? Lazy, no vision, lack of ideas. You have Teacher’s with smart boards in their rooms who don’t even use them. My question how much are you moving kids in terms of learning within a year? Again, the teacher’s and leadership there hit the jackpot, they get high scoring kids, with motivated parents, and fine facilities. You would think accountability would be higher… Take a look at other gifted centers, look at their programming. There is more that we can accomplish. Nepotism has no place at any CPS school. We tried it with Mrs. Gray, the school fell off. How about some new ideas, what is everyone afraid of.

  • 76. Lasalle II family fun fest  |  May 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Newly Registered Lasalle II Magnet Parents are invited to our first ever Family Fun Fest.
    A production by the Wellness Committee

    Family Fun Fest is May 12th from 9am to 2pm
    Wolcott st. side of school on the field.

    -Cooking demo’s from Kids Table and other chefs.
    -Circus Acrobat lesson’s from CircEsteem
    -Zumba with ARCC
    -Free Pirates Booty, Smoothies from Prasino and Starfruit and many more snacks and Takeaways
    -9 am-10 am Fun Run (registration is from 9 am-9:30 am)
    -A Basketball Clinic with a specialist brought in by Mr. Ray
    -a Mini Farmers Market sponsored by Mariano’s market
    -Chair massages from Chiro-One
    -A visit from the Truck Farm
    -Live music from Dave Hunt and also from The little g Band.
    -Awesome Bounce Houses from Select Inflatables
    -MUCH, MUCH MORE (too much to name!!)

  • 77. Steve  |  May 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    What is that saying? Perception is reality. I agree with you Mayfair Dad that in some schools it makes sense to look for seasoned administrators, but i am seeing more administrators who are stuck in the stone age and seemingly afraid of change. I wonder how much some schools can improve with fresh ideas, fresh research, and a new way at looking at schools and how to move students.

    I can think of a couple brand new administrators who are doing amazing things at their schools. No they are not miracle workers and yes progress takes time but I am inspired by the gains made in the right direction.

  • 78. Mary  |  May 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    If most of these principals being interviewed for vacancies based on the comments above, are so poor, then what are these fine institutions doing? I wonder about the subjectiveness of this interview/search process. After all, most grad schools won’t even let you graduate with less than a C, so what am I missing here? I know a couple people get their type 75 through alternative programs but this is a small number, New Leaders had six finish last year. Are we saying Loyola, DePaul, Roosevelt, NLU, etc. is doing such a poor job at preparing these new administrators? Am I missing something? I don’t mean to be offensive but the city colleges don’t hand out the 75 so help me understand why those on the list are so bad? I sat through a public forum and I found all four candidates amazing.

  • 79. Mary  |  May 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    As parents are we falling into the trap of ” no one is good enough for our little angels?” I am guilty of this myself but listening to some of the parents at my school it becomes crazy and unrealistic.

  • 80. New Leaders  |  May 1, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    The New Leaders programs is VERY good at teaching candidates to talk and dazzle with “words.” Just be careful…this principal prep program has some positives and negatives. I sat on an LSC that pciked one–I voted for her too but into the second year I regretted it a bit. She was not the worst principal and was always kind to me because I was on the LSC that picked her but her ego soon got the best of her :-O

  • 81. edisonparent18  |  May 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Mary, there is a difference between settling and not engaging in a serious search. That is neither crazy or unrealistic. In fact CPS owes it to all its Kids to engage in a serious search for the best available candidates for its openings. LSC’s should not be responsible for hiring period. While I like the idea, in pracice it does not work and lends itself to hirings that are not in the best interest of students but rather contributes to failing status quo’s, nepotism, lack of transparency, the very thing they were designed to bring about, and less accountability of teachers. At the very least there should be central office represenatation on the LSC, along with teachers, parents, and community stakeholders.

  • 82. anonymouseteacher  |  May 1, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    @78, Here’s my take, take it or leave it as you find best. I don’t believe a university can teach someone to be a good principal, at least not for the most part. I am not sure it is something that can be learned except for “on the job”. Of course, I don’t think universities can really teach most of what a good teacher needs to know either–at least that has been my experience. The other issue is that there just aren’t enough people willing to take on Chicago as a principal. Perhaps this is an issue of the phrase I hear tossed about so much, “what the market will bear”. Perhaps instead of offering a good principal 140K a year, if CPS would or could offer 250K, they might get better candidates willing to do it. Just a thought.

  • 83. SoxSideIrish4  |  May 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    #82~totally agree w/you. That’s why we found such a great fit for our school as AP. She was a seasoned teacher for many years and then she was picked her first year bc of all of the on job training she already had. No you can’t ‘teach’ someone how to be a principal.

  • 84. Annon1978  |  May 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    @ 83 If you can’t teach someone to be a principal then we are left to people’s gut, personalities preferences, etc. I saw my school almost torn apart two years ago because of the principal search. No one on the LSC could verbalize to parents what they were looking for as they turned one candidate after another away. We kept hearing vague stuff like “the right person need to inspire us”. Well I am sorry that is SO vague and subjective it is ridiculous. I am beginning to thinking that many of these LSCs are on power trips. I really don’t think universities like Loyola and DePaul, UIC are graduating all these type 75s who are unprepared. Maybe it’s the parents who are wrong, maybe we are looking for some showman when that is not what it is about. The most dry talking person could be the most educated and best prepared to lead a school and we are stuck looking for charisma or something else that is undefinable. This is based on my experiences with our principal search.

  • 85. Annon1978  |  May 1, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Oops @ 81

  • 86. Me  |  May 1, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    I think u mean @ 82 but I get where you are coming from. Some LSCs are on power trips all in the name of kids!! DEPaul school of urban education ain’t just handing out MA degrees like cracker jack toys. You are right. These kids of statements are suspect

  • 87. Me  |  May 1, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    These ‘KINDS’ of statements are suspect

  • 88. SoxSideIrish4  |  May 2, 2012 at 6:52 am

    I remember when our LSC went through finding a principal several years back and they thoroughly researched every1. They did a gr8 job. The LSC on at our school is very respected and does what is right for the school~not on a power trip. And some things can’t be taught~experience!

  • 89. cpsobsessed  |  May 2, 2012 at 7:14 am

    @86: I can’t agree that every person coming out of a college with a degree would make for a great (or even very good) school leader. Just like every person that is churned out of DePaul’s MBA program (myself included) would not make a great CEO. Sometimes straight A students who are academically smart do not have the other skills it takes to succeed in a leadership role. Some do, some don’t. I would never judge just on degree alone.

  • 90. anonymous  |  May 2, 2012 at 8:06 am

    # 60 —

    Pls tell the great candidate for Edison’s a.p. position to reach out if he/she would like to be considered for an opening at another rgc.

  • 91. Mayfair Dad  |  May 2, 2012 at 8:58 am

    @ 78 Mary: I would say your LSC did a great job if you found the four finalists at the public forum compelling. That’s how its supposed to work. Its the 50 or so resumes that landed in the LSC’s “no” pile that are so disappointing.

    It used to be that the principal’s salary was determined – in part – by the size of the school. At our 975 student school in a safe, quiet neighborhood on the Northwest side, we received a lot of resumes. You need to come up with a rational system to separate the good from potentially great.

    Our LSC took the task very seriously. We were fortunate to have parent reps that were former teachers and college professors on the committee. We reached out to the Hawthorne and Northside College Prep LSCs who were going through the process at the same time to trade best practices. They were super helpful.

    On our second principal search, we learned the value of including the AIO in the process and benefitted greatly from his experience as a former principal. A shout out to Joe Kallas.

    The good thing about hiring the AP to fill a principalship is they have a track record at the school. The bad thing about hiring the AP to fill a principalship is they have a track record at the school.

    Some people fear change and are therefore complacent. Some parents’ only source of information re: a school’s performance is “teacher spin” on the playground. They are content to bring donuts on teacher appreciation day without ever questioning why the school is on probation or not achieving AYP. They don’t have a clue, but they all have opinions.

    Hiring the right principal is the single most important ingredient to improving a school. Excellence starts from the top.

  • 92. Rain2  |  May 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    91 “The good thing about hiring the AP to fill a principalship is they have a track record at the school. The bad thing about hiring the AP to fill a principalship is they have a track record at the school.”

    I love this quote. Thanks.

  • 93. cpsobsessed  |  May 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I loved that quote too. So wisely put.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 94. Joel  |  May 2, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I’ll third the love of the above quote…but this is the one that everyone needs to remember:
    “Hiring the right principal is the single most important ingredient to improving a school. Excellence starts from the top.”

  • 95. Wondering  |  May 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    It has not been said BUT I wonder when people (RGC, classical, SEHS, etc.) say there are no quality candidates I wonder if what is left unstated is that these principal candidates don’t look the “right way” for these schools. The principals and APs at these schools tend to look the same……….I think you know what I mean. Something to think long and hard about. LSCs

  • 96. Teacher/parent  |  May 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    @95….. As a teacher, I am very glad you put it out there. I have heard parents talk openly about a vacancy as the perfect opportunity to get a particular “type” of principal in a school. It is very clear what is not so subtly implied. Not many folks in RGC, etc are honest about their bias. As a parent of a child in a SEES I hear this kind of talk about not only principals but also teachers, I don’t hear the same kinds of talk at the school where I teach, and no we are not on probation. The concern seems to at these particular kinds of schools. Sorry, just my observation as a teacher in one school and parent at another. I attend both LSCs meetings and the tone is very different.

  • 97. Andrew's Dad  |  May 2, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    We LSCs love everyone, black, yellow, purple, pink, or red. We only want the best for our kids……………he said sarcastically

  • 98. anonymouseteacher  |  May 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    I think good principals learn how to be good principals by:
    1) being excellent teachers for AT LEAST 10 years in more than one grade level
    2) were excellent AP’s for AT LEAST 5 years.
    Combined with training from a university (20-30% of what you might need to know), the above experience (70-80% of what you might need to know) will give someone a chance at becoming, over time, a good principal. That job is simply way too difficult for someone to just be able to do a grad program and be good at it. A caring and smart person might be okay or decent, but good? That kind of skill takes years to learn and if it is in any large urban area, even longer. I have worked for 6 different principals. One was awesome. One is decent. The other 4 were not good. All of them gave me very high reviews, so it wasn’t an issue of me not liking them because they had standards that were too high. But, at the same time, I do believe principalship is a draining and incredibly difficult job. That itself and all the other problems that being a principal in CPS presents is why the district is not finding much success in bringing in outside people.

  • 99. Mom  |  May 2, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    I agree with @98. It would be odd to me if you could walk out of any school and enter any profession with complete competence you had what it takes. I am in the law, and believe me, although they aren’t just passing out JDs to anyone, just obtaining one does not make you *necessarily* good or qualified to do any particular law job. I can’t imagine why being a principal would be any different. In fact, I think it is naive to think otherwise regarding any professional position.

  • 100. Andrew's Dad  |  May 2, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    @ 98
    So 15 years is what it takes before you can be good at being a principal?

    @ 99 no one said that these principals are “necessarily” good by just graduating, but it doesn’t make them necessarily “bad” either. Both assumptions are highly false. Most of us know of people new to many professions who are superstars and we also know of veterans who stink. Both ways of thinking are wrong. It is naive to think ONLY a veteran of 15plus years can lead a school. This is a very dated and antiquated way of thinking. There are superstars on both ends of the spectrum.

  • 101. soxsideirish4  |  May 2, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    I agree w/ #98 & #99, it takes years to be a gr8 prinicapal. In that field, experience is really needed to be an effective leader for the school.

  • 102. mininger  |  May 3, 2012 at 1:31 am

    Personally as a Dad at a RGC I could care less if the principal candidate was a martian drag queen, as long as they held everyone accountable, used best practices, differentiated instruction, and actually incorporated research in trying to get best outcomes. The longer school day provides a real opportunity to augment instruction and incorporate other programs like music, band, and other activities that augement instruction (music is math at its core). When the faculty of a RGC proposes a study hall for all its student’s (K-8) I have a major issue. Again uninspired, lazy, and raises the question, who is benifitting from such a proposal. Thumbing your nose at a proposal to the detriment of the kids and it is just plain arrogant. Teach something! Oh, and while funding at other schools is an issue, Edison, demographically the whitest, most affluent school in the system, does not have that problem. Parents would pay.

  • 103. ministrone  |  May 3, 2012 at 3:36 am

    By no means am I saying the lack of diversity (wealth / ethnic) is a good thing. Its terrible, the selection process as currently is flawed.

  • 104. anonymouseteacher  |  May 3, 2012 at 6:26 am

    @100, you can probably not be horrible as a principal with less than 15 years in teaching and APing, but it would be very rare to be excellent at it. Plus, think about it, if one is 22 when they graduate, that puts them at 37 fifteen years later. Before that is just too young. And really, do YOU really want a principal leading your school who has not had a signifcant and successful teaching career themselves? I wouldn’t. But, of course, you are welcome to your own opinion.
    I have been teaching for close to 20 years now and while I worked my rear end off my first few years and my students’ families and my bosses all loved me, it really wasn’t until I hit about year 5 that I began to be excellent all around. And even now, I still find myself improving my practice. Experience can be an great teacher. Inexperience is just that.

  • 105. SoxSideIrish4  |  May 3, 2012 at 7:55 am

    #104~you sound like a wonderful teacher! You are correct, experience can’t be taught and I’d be sick if my kids had an inexperienced 22yr old as a principal w/no teaching career behind them. They need experience in education as a teacher b4 being a principal.

  • 106. Principal for the day  |  May 3, 2012 at 8:12 am

    @100 you are so right. Andrew Jackson, 2007 – last big principal retirement year – hired an intern from an AP internship program. Among the candidates rejected, a seasoned AP with multiple spelling errors including the name of the school on her application! A lot of new creative programming at the school now with a principal eager to please.

  • 107. PortageParent  |  May 3, 2012 at 8:41 am

    I have to clarify something here that is really bothering me. Miniger and edisonparent18 – the “study hall” (actually called “intervention” by the school) that you keep referring to as lazy was implemented for the proposed 7.5 hr day based on the PARENT SURVEY! The parents indicated overwhelmingly in the survey that their biggest concern for the longer day was homework. So the intervention period was devised as a way to address that. Maybe what you’re really saying is that the parents are lazy :-p

    Of course, now that the longer day has been moved to 7 hours, that schedule will change.

    I agree that technology is seriouly lacking, but i think that will be addressed in part with the hiring of the new LRC teacher. I agree that some aspects of the curriculum need tweaking. But I don’t agree with other extreme points you’ve raised here. ERGC is a great school. Perfect? No. But I always feel like the staff actually cares about the kids. One thing I always keep in mind is that while other schools for years voted down recess and ran out the door at the end of the day, ERGC has always had two recesses and after school options because it was best for the kids. Nobody had to twist their arms by making it CPS policy.

  • 108. re Edison  |  May 3, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I second Portage Park’s position–that the teachers at Edison really care about the kids—have only been there a few years now and my child is in the upper grades. I cannot speak to the experience in the early grades as much, but we have been impressed by the education our kid is receiving (and I have had older kids that have gone to a highly sought after RGC and I am finding the curriculum at Edison has much more depth). I would have liked for the new principal search to have gone differently–not sure if Ms. Oberhardt has the right experience for leading the school forward, but now that she is the one, we will just live with it. I still think it is the teachers that make the school a good place….so I just hope they continue to be supported as they have been.

  • 109. Mayfair Dad  |  May 3, 2012 at 9:43 am

    @98: While I agree with the the gist of your post, we might quibble over the length of neccessary experience. Being an AP should be viewed as a principal internship, and is extremely valuable experience. However, your proposed classroom time as teacher requirement seems too long. Some people enter the teaching profession with a passion for administration and innate leadership qualities – the CEO of McDonald’s didn’t earn the corner office by flipping burgers better than anyone else (and I am not comparing teaching to flipping burgers, so chill out everyone), but because of other skills and qualities. Sure, a good principal should know what goes on in a classroom, but I believe time spent as an AP is more useful for someone who hopes to be a principal some day. It requires a different skill set than classroom teaching.

  • 110. Mayfair Dad  |  May 3, 2012 at 9:47 am

    A better analogy before the sh@tstorm hits: the managing partner of a law firm is not neccessarily the most skilled litigator. He or she has attained this position because they are the most adept at managing the business aspects of running a law firm. Whew.

  • 111. cpsobsessed  |  May 3, 2012 at 9:50 am

    And to add to that, the best teacher in the world isn’t necessarily going to be a good principal…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 112. edisonparent18  |  May 3, 2012 at 9:56 am

    1) Wrong descriptor, not lazy, just uninspired. I shouldn’t have used the “L” word.
    2) The extended school day is specifically for additional instruction, not study hall.
    2) This survey… how many were returned? Was there a presentation of the results? If so please let me know where.
    3) No one wants more homework, but this result can be read several ways. My read is that people equate the longer school day with more homework. There are plenty of programming and instruction that can be incorporated that is specifically non-homework generating. Many of our kids are in after-school enrichment programs, those can be incorporated into the school day. The new principal wants to have a music teacher, which is great, music instruction can be incorporated in the curriculum. You can bring in outside groups who have school based programming, so teacher don’t feel as stressed with the longer school day requirements. There are many such groups and opportunities
    4) I taught for 5 years, it was the most difficult 5 yrs of my life and I have great respect and appreciation for the profession. To be a good teacher you have to constantly challenge and interrogate your own practice. With that said, Edison has great teachers, I have seen them.
    5) Edison is a great school, I am very proud to be able to say that my child goes to ERGC. The longer school day is an opportunity to take on a leadership role throughout the district in how to incorporate and utilize the longer school day. Study hall to me is uninspired, and kind of sends the message that we do such a good job there is nothing more we could possibility do to improve learning and outcomes. I just expect one of the top schools in the city and in the state to lead.

  • 113. PortageParent  |  May 3, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Edisonparent18 – yes, the results of the parent survey were shown at the LSC meeting back in February or March. The 7.5 hr schedule did, in fact, provide for additional instructional minutes as well as the intervention minutes. The very specific instructional minutes were handed down by CPS. Further, my understanding was that after school enrichments (clubs) were not allowed to be part of the day, per CPS. This has been noted here about other schools as well.

    I think that the intervention idea was well received by most parents. It’s not that people thought more time = more homework. It was that no one wanted to deal with the regular amount of homework when their kids got home even later.

    Also, it seemed to me that the general feeling was that the kids were already working hard enough. That they don’t need one more thing on top of being two years accelerated in most areas. I agree with that and so do all the parents I know there ( not that I know them all). I don’t know how many kids you have there or what grades, but I know my youngest is exhausted already after 6.5 hrs and often falls asleep on the bus. I am more than happy to have him finish up his homework during intervention and come home to just relax. I know that my older child was thrilled that he could have an opportunity to work in groups on projects with his classmates during school hours and also come home finished and ready for other pursuits. We also liked that the kids would have opportunity for small groups of tutoring during that time.

    Again, I agree, that there have been many missed opportunities to incorporate technology. That has been my one big disappointment. But, I know that a lot of parents are keen to have music brought into the school. I actually could care less about that (I’d rather a computer class), but I think the majority would prefer music. So I’ll have to suck it up, if that is what the majority want.

  • 114. edisonparent18  |  May 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Didn’t see it, what was the return rate?

  • 115. PortageParent  |  May 3, 2012 at 11:08 am

    114- I’m sorry, I can’t remember the return rate and i dont want to throw out a guess. I think (hope) that if you asked the LSC for a copy or summation (it was presented as a power point) that they would provide it. I know there was some discussion of posting it on their website…not sure if that was approved due to privacy issues.

  • 116. PortageParent  |  May 3, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Ok, it was the 2/28 meeting, the presentation is mentioned on website but the power point is not posted.

  • 117. Ministrone  |  May 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    LSC’s should be transparent. That is the whole point of having an LSC. It should have been posted yesterday. Furthermore a return rate of 10 percent means nothing (tyranny of the few) and hardly a mandate, and a 70 percent means something so that percentage is important. Also a low return rate reflects apathy on the part of the parents , perhaps reflecting the notion that what they say really doesn’t matter. That, and I’m sure you would agree, is a problem. Conversely a high return rate would reflect an empowered and robust parental class.

  • 118. anonymouseteacher  |  May 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Can we devote a post to budgets? They are out.

  • 119. Sue  |  May 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    (@ 105- southside) It is the rare principal indeed who gets the type 75 at 22, that would mean BA at 20, MA at 22….let’s be real, I think andrew’s dad and the other comments are talking about new principals who have taught a few years and are ready to move into the principal role. They have to get that first year somewhere… PLUS all type 75s in Illinois require an administrative internship. There are not that many 22 year old principals-a myth!!!

  • 120. mommy  |  May 3, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I have heard A LOT of rhetoric:

    Everyone seems to think new principals suck (although I don’t know how else you get good at something!!!) So, if we ‘hate’ no principals, it is no wonder not many people are applying for these vacancies and the pickings are slim. Maybe we are the problem. FYI many districts in the burbs LOVE new principals (full of ideas, current research, etc) Chicago has sooo many hang ups it is a shame.

    We want change but are TOO scared to do something different or take a chance. The comments above prove my point. Most comments are in favor of the older/seasoned principal. In fact someone even stated that they would not even consider a principal without so and so many number of years…Scary thought……..yell for change but then do everything the way it’s always been done. I don’t get it. What am I missing here?

    Mom

  • 121. mommy  |  May 3, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Correction: if we hate ‘NEW’ principals

  • 122. cpsobsessed  |  May 3, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    It think the “seasoned” part was about being an AP, no? I don’t think and LSCs are thinking they’ll hire someone with years of principal experience. I think maybe that is the “ideal” principal, not the ideal hire.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 123. anonymouseteacher  |  May 3, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    @120, people aren’t applying for CPS principalship because CPS itself is such difficult district to work in, not because some anonymous posters on a board are expressing their opinion.
    Which suburban districts do you know that love first year principals? I am curious. I am assuming you must work in a suburban school district or are on the hiring board of one to have that knowledge. I worked for one northshore district that had a policy against hiring admins without quite a lot of experience and 90% of their “new hire” teachers all had 5+ years of teaching experience. They wanted people with a documentable, measurable track record and would accept nothing less.

  • 124. donna  |  May 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    @120…No…suburban districts do not love new anything. Experience is necessary for good positions and good schools. How many TFA do you see in suburbia? However, I do need to say that I am fortunate enough to work for a principal who is under forty, smart, efficient and supportive of her staff. (cps)

    I was on my suburban hiring board and anyone with <4 years was eliminated immediately. We still had over 30 resumes for one position.

  • 125. cpsobsessed  |  May 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    It has got to take a unique individual to want to deal with the bureacracy and challenges of a big urban school system.
    The ones who do it well make it look so easy but I know it can be so wearing.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 126. Cathy  |  May 3, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    @124…. I am with the early post. I was a teacher who sat on the hiring panel in Skokie and we loved new and innovative teachers and principals. My kids did too. So my direct experiences says this to be true. I was always amazed with the level of current knowledge, ideas, and just overall excitement they brought to the interview.

  • 127. Gwen  |  May 3, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    FYI:

    Performance: Last year, Chicago schools led by first-year New Leaders principals averaged gains in reading achievement of 6.6 percentage points, outperforming the district average by a margin of 1.8%.

    This is from a few years ago but still numbers show newbies aren’t so bad!

  • 128. Gwen  |  May 3, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    @ 124 …..Age discrimination Donna?

  • 129. ann  |  May 3, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    “In its first eight years, 95% of participants in the New Leaders program went on to hold leadership positions in urban schools.[6] The RAND Corporation evaluates every principal from the New Leaders program using precise metrics on what improvements students have made and how results in New Leader placement schools compare with other schools. At a substantial majority of these schools, the preliminary findings have shown that there is marked improvement. data shows schools led by New Leader principals have made gains at a higher rate than the national average, and their dropout rate has declined”

    Cited:
    Maxwell, Lesli A. (23 September 2009). “Chicago Principal-Training Program Wins Prestigious Innovation Award”. Education Week.

    Interesting. Hmmm

  • 130. ann  |  May 3, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    I don’t believe they are all brand new but up until last year most were teachers and career changers, not even AP experience. This year they opened the program and actively recruited APs. My school has been blessed by a new and inexperienced principal. He is amazing.

  • 131. cpsobsessed  |  May 3, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    The other option is a “visionary” less experienced principal with a seasoned AP who knows how to work through CPS.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 132. Mom23  |  May 4, 2012 at 7:40 am

    @120 Agree. We all complain about there not being one-size-fits-all solutions and for things to improve, we need to embrace change. Being a principal is a multidimensional skill set and it really comes down to the individual. Newbie or seasoned, it really doesn’t matter, it is if the individual can lead teachers, parents and keep the top priority the students. IMO, too many principals do not keep students as the driving factor in decision making. Unfortunate.

  • 133. anonymouseteacher  |  May 4, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Home with a sick kid today. I’d be interested to see the data on the New Leaders in ten years. Many charters, “turned around” schools and others display gains the first 2-3 years with new leadership or new staff but over time, they lose those gains. If after a significant period of time those gains are maintained and continue to increase, obviously then those particular NL principals are individuals who have something special. But one cannot conclude that because a handful of dynamos are successful, that “new” leadership is better than “old” leadership.
    I do like the idea of combining someone new with someone experienced.
    I think part of what I object to is someone who taught for 1-2 years (like several principals I know) who disliked teaching and never really honed their craft leading a school. I had a principal like this. She’d been an admin for a number of years before I started there. I got along welll with her outwardly, but one day in particular, I lost respect for her. We had a meeting where we were discussing something the AIO wanted to see in everyone’s classroom. Word Walls. Beside the fact that Word Walls are meant specifically for early primary classrooms to teach sight words, half the teachers in my school didn’t know what they were for or how to use them. Nor did my principal. It was enraging. Other than a few of us, none of the teachers in the building nor the principal had been reading up on new techniques, etc. (this was ten years ago when the 4 blocks method was popular) My principal, who was good in many ways, had no idea how to lead this, or teach it or even know what she didn’t know. We had teachers discussing how to put them up in their rooms who didn’t have any idea what they were talking about and it was all about appearances and not even really about good instruction. The expertise that me and my colleagues had in this area was not called upon. I found this scenario happened again and again in different ways.
    At the same time, this same principal would come into my room to evaluate me. I always got the highest evaluations, my kids were reading (something that no other K class in the school had ever done, literally) and they were happy. But I always felt, well, like it wasn’t a true evaluation. Because the principal didn’t know anything significant about early primary grades. I wanted to learn more and to have someone really help develop me. She didn’t because she couldn’t develop someone in an area where she had zero expertise.
    I do think that perhaps what I personally am looking for in a boss is something extremely rare and I should stop looking for it. I want to see a principal who knows their instructional techniques inside and out and who can help train and develop their teachers that way. I want a principal who knows classroom management and RTI like the back of their hand and who can coach their staff in it. I think that is different than what parents are looking for. For me, as a parent, I just want a principal for my kids who will hire good people and get out of their way. But as a teacher, I expect much, much more. And someone who hasn’t been a successful teacher themselves cannot offer me that. It has to come from being able to do it themselves.

  • 134. onemorecpsmom  |  May 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Doesn’t “principal” stand for “principal teacher?” They should be effective teachers first, right?

  • 135. Just saying  |  May 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    @133.

    You sound like a bitter know it all.

  • 136. I get your point  |  May 4, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    @133, sounds like one bad experience soured you. I have a glowing report of my first principal who was a year principal. We ended up working together for ten years. Did her expertise increase each year? Of course, but did she inspire, motivate, and move test scores from her first day? YES. I think what everyone is getting at is that LSCs and those in charge of hiring should keep and open mind. Unfortunately it sounds like the deck is stacked if the job seeker happens upon some of the people commenting earlier. That is a shame.

  • 137. RL Julia  |  May 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    By Friday, many of us, teachers or not are bitter know it alls.

  • 138. Mayfair Dad  |  May 4, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    @ 133: insightful observation. Instructional Leader is in the CPS principal job description, so I don’t think you have unreasonable expectations.

  • 139. anonymouseteacher  |  May 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Thanks Mayfair Dad.
    @136, I have worked for 6 principals and only one was truly good. One was decent, the rest were horrible. They ranged from unethical, doing illegal things, or simply incompetent. And fwiw, my current principal is decent. (her people skills leave something to be desired, but given that she has to deal with CPS everyday, I can’t blame her for being crabby all the time) And, all of them were principals under the age of 50. I suppose that ten more years of experience wouldn’t have helped them.
    Am I bitter? Maybe. Awesome? Yes. My ESL, mostly poverty level kids are scoring 25 percentage points higher than the goal the network chief has set for my school. And 85% are reading in kindergarten, with deep comprehension as well as writing quite well too. I think excellence can demand excellence.

  • 140. SoxSideIrish4  |  May 5, 2012 at 8:43 am

    @139~ITA w/you. I do feel excellence breeds excellence. When you expect a lot, kids don’t want to let you down, they want to learn. It’s the very teachers like you that teach at the foundation can make the biggest impact.

  • 141. Skeptic  |  May 5, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    @139. Scoring 25 points above? On what test in Kindergaten?

  • 142. Andrew's dad  |  May 5, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    @ 139
    I TOO rate myself superior to everyone else! Everything I touch is golden and everyone I meet is less than me. And have I mentioned that I am excellent.

  • 143. Mom  |  May 5, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    I am a kindergarten teacher and the one district test that is used to measure early literacy is the DIBEL/IDEL test. This test does not measure comprehension and there is no “points above”. So…… I am not quite sure how the teacher above can state that her students are 25 points above the network expectations?? The test looks at benchmark, strategic, and intensive students. Not sure what the 25 points above is all about…..unless there is another test that only her school gives?

  • 144. concernedmom  |  May 5, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Oh my goodness (Andrew’s dad) that was a little mean but I get your point. You made my night.

  • 145. concernedmom  |  May 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    It is hard to take someone seriously when they are so full of themselves, but on the other hand if this annon. teacher is doing such great things with kids (as she claims) then i would want my kid in her class BUT I would not want my child to emulate the cocky attitude. I would want my child to be taught a little humility along with confidence. The world is full of cocky, better than thou individuals. I would not want my kid picking this up from a teacher or principal.

    “excellence can demand excellence”. oh my……….

  • 146. cpsobsessed  |  May 5, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Hey, let’s give a break. We have basically one teacher on here who is trying to counterbalance a crap-ton (word I learned from my son) of bad press that teachers are getting these days about being slackers, self-interested etc.
    I think the point is that a success teacher has high standards.

    As we learn about how to argue fairly, make your argument about the point, not the person (and this applies to many conversations on here.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 147. anonymouseteacher  |  May 6, 2012 at 10:11 am

    CPS networks set a percentage of children they want on green for dibels, or what we understand to be ‘no risk’ or ‘benchmark’. My Network officer set our goal for the % of kids on green, or benchmark, to be a x%. (Ask to see your school’s CIWP and you will see these goals for literacy and math) My students are 25% higher than that goal.
    As for comprehension, this is measured through TRC’s. This is a subtest that some CPS schools give and some do not. It works like a running record for reading that tests accuracy and comprehension.

  • 148. sandersrockets  |  May 6, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Well said cpsobsessed.
    Thank you for the clarification anonumousteacher.

  • 149. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  May 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    @146 cpo. Well said! I enjoy this blog because it’s NOT like the comments you read on the Trib website etc.

  • 150. Angie  |  May 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    @146. cpsobsessed: “Hey, let’s give a break. We have basically one teacher on here who is trying to counterbalance a crap-ton (word I learned from my son) of bad press that teachers are getting these days about being slackers, self-interested etc.”

    Actually, in this case, it’s the exception that proves the rule. The fact that anonymouseteacher can get these results working with low-income ESL kids tells us that it can be done. If other teachers claim that these kids are doomed to be low achievers from very the beginning, what does that tell us about other teachers, and the culture at the schols where they teach?

  • 151. Mayfair Dad  |  May 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    @ 139: Yowsa, I guess teachers aren’t allowed to spike the football either. Nothing wrong with walking the walk – it ain’t braggin’ if you can do it!

  • 152. TwinMom  |  May 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I, too, don’t think that confidence that you’re doing a great job is being “cocky.” In fact, I think in this case it’s part of what makes a teacher a great teacher — expecting excellence from students as well. I don’t think there are many “lazy” teachers, but I think some of them may give up on students a little too quickly.

  • 153. jillwohl  |  May 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Congratulations and kudos to CPS-O on the coming bulletin board site enhancements. This website provides a much-needed outlet for parents, teachers, students and others across the city to share information and break down silos. You do more for parent engagement than all of FACE combined.

    Also, I want to plug that Raise Your Hand is having a lobby day in Springfield on Wednesday. If you’re interested, email wendy@ilraiseyourhand.org. Legislators need to hear from constituents.

  • 154. cpsmommy  |  May 6, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    @150 I agree that anonymousteacher is getting amazing results given the circumstances. No doubt, she is an outstanding teacher. That said, I seem to remember anonymousteacher saying a while back that a ton of her own money was spent on classroom materials – things like leveled readers and I can’t remember what else. I agree we want to have great teachers, but they should not be put in a position where they spend thousands of their own dollars to get the job done right.

  • 155. anonymouseteacher  |  May 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    153, I have been lucky to have a principal, this year, who has been willing to buy at least a small amount of the things I have requested to help me do my job. I have also been lucky to have many of the things I need to actually do the work I do because I have been accumulating them all for so long. And yes, out of pocket. And no, I could not do the work I do in reading without those things. Without them, it is literally impossible. It is absolutely wrong that I have to buy them with my own money and as upset as it makes me, I know I have to in order to succeed.
    My concern, 150, is that some may draw the conclusion of “if she can do it, why can’t everyone or most teachers?”
    I am fortunate to be in a low income area where people are not so low income they are practically starving. That makes my job easier.
    I am fortunate that my students haven’t had massive trauma in their young lives like many students in Chicago. My area doesn’t have drive by shootings or a lot of gang activity. My students come from families who value education. My students’ parents come to report card pick up, stay to meet with me at other times when requested and ensure homework is done right and on time. I have a basically decent principal and I have a resource teacher one period a day to help me do RTI interventions and language support. I don’t have 35 kids in my room, even though I still think the number i have is too high. I don’t have kids, at least not this year, threatening to kill anyone or bringing in weapons. I have a building that isn’t falling apart. For Chicago, that is a LOT and while yes, I think I am very good at my job, I also have friends who deal with situations much, much worse than mine who are just as good and aren’t getting the same results because all those challenges matter and they do affect achievement.
    Don’t misunderstand, I will always believe that all kids can and should be able to learn. At the beginning of each year, I lay out what I expect of my students, my parents and myself to my students’ families. I am very clear. Every person must do their job for me to get the results I do. For teachers who only have one piece of that three legged stool, themselves, it becomes much, much more difficult. It can be done, but I seriously worry about those teachers who work in places very different than the place I work in. They deserve far more credit than they’ll ever get.

  • 156. local  |  May 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    I, for one, want anyone in a job to know if they’re doing excellent work or not. And, if they are, to be able to claim it. That’s not hubris.

  • 157. concernedmom  |  May 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    @ 152 and Mayfair dad,

    Wasn’t it the annonteacher who first started the “bashing”? But oh we’ll, I guess it is easy to bash others…five of her last six principals were subpar to “horrible”…. The teacher’s own quote.

    So just as the teacher can make this assertion then she should be open to other people questioning her? Why is it ok for the teacher to make this comment unchecked but when I comment that I want my children to emulate a bit of humility then it is teacher bashing? As a mom of a (gifted child) who is told almost daily how smart he is, I want my child to grow up with the ability to know that smart is not everything in the real world, we also must have social skills, people skills, ability to work with other, etc. I don’t think this is wrong. And, for a teacher to have gone through six principals before she found a “good” one makes me question. It sounds like the teacher is doing great things but like I tell my son other things count (flexibility, ability to work with people, etc). The teacher’s comment leads me to wonder.

  • 158. concernedmom  |  May 6, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Oops…”oh well”

  • 159. AD  |  May 6, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    @157 I agree.

  • 160. Gradmom of Skinner kid  |  May 6, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    As a parent of a (smart)child, now a smart adult (U of C grad) I think a moderate mix of smarts and people skills is necessary to instill. I did not think the concerned mom was being offensive to the teacher. I think it was a gentle reminder. And Mayfair Dad…sorry my kid did a touchdown dance once and he never did it again after I spent at least an hour lecturing him on sportsmanship, etc. so in my books teachers, football players, parents, whomever don’t get to spike the football. Call me old fashioned but that kind of display is unnecessary. Being great does not give you a pass to yell it from the rooftop. I may be outdated but oh well…..

  • 161. falconergrad  |  May 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Know it alls don’t usually read up on new techniques because …they already know it all. And I doubt anonymouse goes around tooting his/her own horn at work. It’s an anonymous posting – it’s kind of hard to brag unless you actually tell people your name.

  • 162. LaSalleParent  |  May 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Anyone heard from your school on the start time in the Fall? LaSalle survey wanted 8:30-3:30 but I got an email from the Principle that stated CPS is going with 8:45-3:45???

  • 163. onemorecpsmom  |  May 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    @ 157. concernedmom

    “And, for a teacher to have gone through six principals before she found a ‘good’ one makes me question.”

    “Bad” principals are not uncommon in CPS. The experience of anonymouse rings true to me. Also, I doubt a teacher would get great results from the students she/he describes if she/he didn’t have good social skills. From what I read here, I’d want to have a coffee talk with her/him. Sounds like one fab teacher to me. IMHO.

  • 164. sandersrockets  |  May 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    @162 – The Board decided that they were determining all schools’ start times regardless of the surveys and votes.

  • 165. anothercpsmom  |  May 7, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    There are WAYYYYY more bad teachers than principals in CPS.

  • 166. Retired Teacher  |  May 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    @161
    The teacher is self reporting herself as wonderful, so why can’t the principals she describe as “bad” also self report themselves as wonderful? And if this is the case then who to believe? Yes the teacher sounds wonderful and maybe she is, but to lash out at the skeptical mom is disingenuous. Don’t these principals also deserve the benefit of being wonderful? It is not fair for the posters to jump down the teacher’s throat, but neither is it fair for the teacher to put down these principals. After all, everyone has an opinion and it is just that, OPINION not FACT. If i label her poor does it make it so? Of course not. So the point the mom was making about why we as educated people were so ready to believe that there are all these bad principals running around amazes me? The majority of the posts indicates the horribleness of principals. I could not pinpoint more than three or four posts that could even describe what makes a principal good (other than years doing the job) and we know this doesnt always matter.

    So, I suspect the teacher is somewhere between great and okay, and her unnamed principals are somewhere in the middle as well.

    As a retired teacher of 36 years I have met only one really bad principal. I have met a lot more bad teachers but that is only due to numbers. Trust a senior citizen who has been there and done than. When you look for a principal to hire passion matters more than years of experience!

  • 167. KLS  |  May 7, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    @ retired teacher——I love that….passion matters! What a nice reminder to LSCs, without passion even veteran principals can lose their way.

  • 168. falconergrad  |  May 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    @165 who hires the bad teachers? who should be trying to make them better teachers? and who keeps them around if they fail to improve?

  • 169. kate  |  May 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    162 – what’s 15 min.? many schools are being assigned an hour difference from their “surveys”. Seems LLA won the lottery….

  • 170. CLB  |  May 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    @162 Mayer’s time is 7:45 am. There is no busing to Mayer so why CPS needs to set it for Mayer is beyond me. A nearby parochial school starts at 7:50, so we will have traffic criss-crossing. For students far away, many will be leaving the house before sunrise in Dec.-Feb. to take public transportation.

  • 171. My2cents  |  May 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    @168, so these teachers are not responsible for being bad teachers? We put that back solely on principals? Jeez, what happened to adults taking responsibility for their own shortcomings? I guess that is the trend these days….

  • 172. Coco  |  May 11, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I guess a CTU straw poll was taken yesterday.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-cps-union-poll-20120511,0,7850580.story

  • 173. foureyes  |  May 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Interesting how CPS comments that the straw poll was a push poll. The irony is that…many teachers have been receiving calls in their homes from a company in Colorado (Luce Research) supposedly doing a ‘survey’…they ask many questions to teachers in a manner in which to change their minds (i.e. a Push Poll). Somebody is paying Luce. Shouldn’t the money be spent on the kids and on supplies?

  • 174. foureyes  |  May 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    And lets not forget that the communication office has been steadily been expanding – it used to have 12. There are 18 people working in CPS Communications (and one vacant position waiting to be filled). Of those 18 people, 15 have been hired since June 2011 (which was the month in which CPS declared it was too poor to pay contractual raises). This expansion – which involves – for the first time in this CPS department now four (not one) person being paid more than $100,000 per year. This information has been keep out of public record and was obtained throught the FOIA (Seth Lavin points it out in this week’s WONKS bulletin) Do they need all these communication experts to cover things up (like the chaos and shaking and rattling) or is it something else? Is this helping children or political interests?
    Regardless…going from 12 persons….to 18….(with four (not one)) in the over $100,000) costs money. it seems that a lot of salaries there are adding up and that money does not go into the schools. I would be willing to bet there are other examples of such spending.

  • 175. HS Mom  |  May 11, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    @174 – sounds great, how do I apply?

  • 176. anonymous  |  May 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    district299reader said
    I am at a school with high test scores, a former AMPS school. I am on the teacher selection committee and the pickings are slim. Yes, we have had teachers interview but none were stellar. The teachers who are retiring will be a difficult act to follow-really awesome teachers. I really think the residency requirement is an issue. Many college graduates have loans and must live with their parents and unfortunately can not afford to move to the city. We need the best and the brightest to choose from to teach in CPS. Also, there are two teachers in our school who have their TYPE 75s and would be great administrators but will not apply because they would lose the residency waiver. One is a divorced teacher who relies on her parents in the suburbs for child care help. I really do not understand CPS’ stance on the residency as it narrows the applicant pool for both teachers and administrators. Yes, Brizard has brought in people from other states but they seem very transient plus they are making huge salaries. I do not see a suburban administrator uprooting his family to move into Chicago and taking a chance that his contract might not be renewed in four years-it would not be worth it financially. So, CPS just does not/will not attract the talent it should-very sad.

  • 177. 7:45 early start time appeal  |  May 18, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Can we start a discussion about the new “proposed” start times.
    I for one think the staggering is good but there has always been staggering in start times to accommodate bus schedules. CPS has come up with a so called study of when traffic is busiest and when it is safest for kids to go to school.

    I am opposed to the earliest start time being 7:45 am. I think anytime before 8am is insane. Especially for families with multiples and young children.

    Are any of you APPEALING THE EARLIEST START TIME IN CPS HISTORY! Sorry for the upper case but i am fuming at the thought.

    What happens if your kids have lots of homework. how are they going to get 8 hours of sleep. Families that have to take the CTA to get to school will be waiting around for a bus when it is cold and dark outside. That is something I would never want for a child.

    Also families that use in house after school care such as JCC, YMCA have their kids in school till 6pm, so that would be 7:45 to roughly 6pm that these young kids will be housed in the same building. What does this do for family time. I know that getting the kids up in the morning is a chore at times but it still time with your kids before you go to school. Once again CPS is not thinking about the kids health and wellfare.

    Some teachers actually are in favor of the 7:45 time because they can still get out at 2;45.. The morning time that would have been used for prep is now down to 15 min so actually the 7:45 am school teachers schedule does not change so much …..and the 30 minute prep time that they are not getting is being rolled into professional development schedule which they will be paid for.. This was an actual quote from a teacher. I

    Please share your thoughts the new CPS start times. Tell me what your school is doing. Thanks

  • 178. don't like school time.  |  May 18, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    @177
    I agree with you. Our school will be staring at 745 from a 9 start time. My kindergarertener gets up around 7 or 730 plus we have to drive a ways to school as I live farther then 6 miles from the school. Then having to get the younger kids dressed and ready to take the older one is just not right for them.
    If it was a neighborhood school and would feel better as I would not have to go far, but this is crazy. ( our neighborhood school is not an option).
    we are hoping to move to the burbs in a couple of years as their school systems seem to work..

  • 179. 7:45 early start time appeal  |  May 18, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I also feel that the roads are busier earlier. When I leave at 8:30 to get my child to school at 9 Western ave is free flowing. If it was earlier it would be totally congested.
    This same teacher stated that they have families too. Yes, that is true but when your kid actually goes to the school you work at I would consider it a “perk”. It was also stated that teachers come from all over the city work at this school and they would like to travel at less congested times. “Yes, I said to myself as my blood boiled we would all like that as well. 600 hundred children at this school come from all over the city on bus, train, car whatever means they have.
    We parents never asked for this EXTENDED DAY. All we asked for was to have an open campus with a decent lunch and recess schedule. Now we CPS coming up with new start times due to some erroneous study on “security”. It’s all a bunch of bull@#$%

  • 180. cpsemployee  |  May 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    @177 – regarding new prep times next school year:

    -all teachers will have 25 min of prep time before the children enter. So if students begin at 7:45 a.m. then the teachers begin at 7:20 a.m.

    -all teachers have 15 minutes of prep time after the students are dismissed however that prep time is required to be “banked” and all 5 days’ worth (75 minutes) will be used once a week for PD. That means once a week all teachers will have PD for an additional 75 minutes after the students leave. Teachers are NOT paid additional money for this PD as it is “banked” minutes from other days.

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