BOARD CONSULTANTS The School Board has retained Vernon Jarrett, a former Chicago Sun-Times columnist and WLS-TV talk-show host, to produce a monthly live call-in show, “Talk-to-the Chief Executive Officer,” which will feature Paul Vallas and other CPS staff. Jarrett will also publish short stories of children, review curricula and implement projects such as the Freedom Readers program. The contract cannot exceed $70,000 for a five-month period…. L. B. Stanton Consulting, Inc., the consulting company of Laurence Stanton, former executive director of the Beverly Area Planning Association, has been retained to help the Office of Accountability monitor Goals 2000 grants and develop new sources of foundation revenue. Spending will not exceed $25,000 over four months. … The board extended its contract with James D. Flanagan, a former School Board member, who is working to reestablish a principals’ advisory committee on management information systems. The board also agreed to increase spending on this project from $10,000 to $20,000.
MORE CONSULTANTS KPMG Peat Marwick will provide investigative and forensic services from March 1, 1999 to August 31, 1999 to assist the Office of the Inspector General. Spending is limited to $150,000. … The board increased the maximum spending—to $450,000 from $150,000—on a joint effort of Pinnacle Research, Inc. and Thatcher and Associates, LLC, to provide investigative services to the Office of the Inspector General. The firms will focus on the capital improvement program, providing architects to survey and assess construction work. They will assist with investigations in such areas as over-billing, inferior material schemes, false invoicing and other contract-related frauds that result in significant construction costs.
MOVING IN/ON Patricia Harvey, former chief accountability officer for CPS, has been named the superintendent of St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools, which enrolls some 50,000 students. Harvey will begin the position April 15. Salary: $155,000. … George Schmidt, a tenured teacher at Bowen High and the editor of Substance newspaper, has been suspended pending a dismissal hearing for allegedly misusing School Board property. Schmidt also faces a federal lawsuit for breach of copyright after publishing questions from the recent CASE pilot exams in Substance. The board contends Schmidt inflicted $1 million in damages. … Rick Larison, a former special assistant to Paul Vallas, will serve as the director of the Office of Statewide Performance Review, part of a year-long effort by Gov. George Ryan to evaluate the state’s executive agencies, programs, laws and regulations and develop an approach to deal with the state’s future needs.
PRINCIPALS The following have been appointed interim principals: Judith Adams, N. Jefferson, formerly the assistant principal there, and Carlos Muñoz, N. Davis, formerly acting principal there. The following interim principals have received four-year contracts: Allice Collins, Spaulding High & Elementary, Sherry A. Gage-West, Stagg; Robert E. Lewis, Bryn Mawr; Patricia Walsh, Earhart; and Michael M. Woods, Cook County Alternative High School. The following assistant principals have received contracts: Craig P. Ergang, G. Washington Elementary, and Verastine Wardlaw, Parkman. … The contract of Principal Norma Rodriguez of Washington High School has been renewed.
BILINGUAL COMMITTEE OVERHAUL The School Board has converted an elected bilingual education advisory council into one with a board-appointed majority. The Chicago Multilingual Parents Council (CMPC,) which had seven elected members, will now have nine elected members and 12 appointed by the board. Under the old membership, the CMPC, which has no decision-making authority, opposed a new board policy limiting the time a student can spend in bilingual classrooms to three years. Members had been elected by the presidents of each school’s bilingual advisory committee; six of the seven were Spanish-speaking. Appointing members will allow for broader representation on the council, the board contends. “What we’re after is not pure democracy,” School Board President Gery Chico said at the board’s February meeting, “We’re looking for input from diverse groups.” Pointing to his colleagues, he said, “We weren’t voted in, but I think we do OK.” The board also appoints a majority of the members on its Local School Council Advisory Committee.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION RULES Under a new board policy, the first hour of public participation at board meetings will be devoted to a single topic, and the second hour will be used for general issues. Individuals interested in participating must register in person at least half an hour before public participation, providing their names and addresses, the names and addresses of the groups they represent and the topic they will be discussing. Presentations will continue to be limited to 2 minutes.
NATIONAL TEACHER ACADEMY Six sites are under consideration for the National Teachers Academy of Chicago, according to the March 10 issue of UIC News, published by the University of Illinois at Chicago. Four sites are on campus: a 10.1-acre site on Roosevelt Road between Morgan and Halsted just south of Science and Engineering South, an 8.4-acre site on Harrison just west of the Behavioral Sciences Building, a 6.7-acre site on Harrison between Halsted and Morgan, and a 5.1-acre site at the southeast corner of Halsted and Taylor. Two sites are off campus: a 13.9-acre site between Racine and Morgan south of 14th Place and a 12.6-acre site in the Jane Addams public housing complex on Taylor and Racine streets.
The academy, a joint venture of CPS, UIC and the Golden Apple Foundation, will enroll students in kindergarten through 12th grade and serve as a teaching laboratory where “exemplary teachers” mentor colleagues and student teachers, the newspaper reported. “This is a unique partnership that will give UIC national visibility, be a benefit to our faculty and be an anchor for development in the area,” said UIC Chancellor David Broski. … Currently, the academy’s task force includes Victoria Chou, Mary Bey and Norma Lopez-Reyna from UIC, Molly Carroll from the Chicago Teachers Union Quest Center, Diane Grigsby-Jackson from CPS and Dominic Belmonte and Peg Cain of the Golden Apple Foundation, according to Cain.
WORKSHOPS The Teachers’ Task Force will offer a workshop April 29 on strategic planning for teachers and administrators. Two three-day sessions are scheduled for “Curriculum Development and Alignment: Moving Toward a Standards-Based Curriculum,” June 28-30 and Aug. 9-11. Advance registration required. Early sign-up advised. Call Melissa McGowan (312) 986-9238 for a registration form. … The Teachers Academy for Math and Science will offer “Internet: Contributing and Collaborating,” on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 8 through May 6. The workshops will be held at TAMS Learning Technologies Laboratory, 3424 S. State. It will offer “Basic Learning Technologies in the Classroom—Windows” on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 6 through May 4. The workshops will be held at Thurgood Marshall Middle School, 3900 N. Lawndale. For more information, call ( 312) 949-2529 or see http://lt.tams.org/class/htm.
CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP At press time, Bowen High School’s chess team had secured a spot in the state tournament. Bowen’s team, coached by math teacher Robbie Singer, finished first in the All-City Public High School Chess Championship. Senn High placed second, Whitney Young third, and Hyde Park fourth. About 100 teams from across the state will compete; Bowen enters the competition ranked fourth.