MOVING IN/ON Matthew Stagner has been appointed director of Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago. He was formerly director of the Center on Labor, Human Services and Population at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. He replaces Mark Courtney, who is stepping down to devote more time to research but will continue as a faculty associate at Chapin Hall and as a professor at the university’s School of Social Service Administration.
STUDENT HEALTH A new wellness policy that the School Board passed at the August board meeting urges schools to provide at least 50 hours of nutrition education each year and to form “wellness committees.” Elementary schools also will be encouraged to schedule 150 minutes of physical education each week; middle and high schools 225 minutes for grades 6-10. Schools will not be allowed to withhold gym or recess as punishment. Rochelle Davis, executive director of the Healthy Schools Campaign, describes the policy as “a statement of intention,” noting a hope that “there’s going to be a lot of work on implementation because that is what will matter.”
NEW DESEG RULES A federal court revised the district’s desegregation consent decree in mid-August, dropping some requirements but adding others. Principals are released from hiring a teaching staff that reflects the system’s racial make-up, but CPS is now ordered to maintain a racially and ethnically diverse pool of principal candidates. The district is no longer required to spend $100 million annually on desegregation although it must continue to integrate students using magnet schools and other strategies. The court also added a long list of requirements for educating English language learners, including that schools provide them with sufficient books in both English and their native language. [Download the latest revisions to the consent decree]
CENTRAL OFFICE REORGANIZATION Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins no longer oversees high schools but will continue to oversee elementary schools. Donald Pittman, the chief officer of high school programs, will now report directly to CEO Arne Duncan. … Peter Cunningham, former communications director, is now director of external affairs. Reporting to him are the departments of communications, community relations, external resources, intergovernmental affairs and internal investigations.
AT CLARK STREET Brenda Bell, former outreach manager with the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, is the new Transition Advisory Council coordinator in the Office of New Schools. The position is now full time; the previous coordinator was part time. … Lisa Scruggs has stepped down as senior policy adviser to CEO Arne Duncan but will continue to serve CPS as outside counsel. She worked for Duncan “on loan” from law firm Jenner & Block LLP, where she continues as a partner.
LOW MARKS ON TEACHER QUALITY Federal officials say Illinois is among the states that are not meeting requirements to ensure that inexperienced and unqualified teachers are not concentrated in poor and minority schools. States were required to submit “teacher equity plans” detailing how they planned to direct good teachers to low-income and minority schools, as well as plans for providing highly qualified teachers for every classroom. Illinois was cited for, among other shortfalls, not identifying schools with large numbers of unqualified teachers. Few states submitted complete data and plans, which are meant to fulfill requirements of the No Child Left Behind law; four states did not meet any of the criteria set by the feds for developing the plans; only nine states submitted plans that were rated satisfactory. The Education Trust, a non-profit advocacy group, also said in a recent report that most states fell short with plans for teacher equity.
CHARTERS RECOGNIZED Four Chicago charter schools have been honored by the Illinois Network of Charter Schools for developing instructional strategies that resulted in improved student performance. They are: Alain Locke, Noble Street High, North Lawndale College Prep and Namaste. Honorees were selected from a pool of 20 applicants.
PRINCIPAL CONTRACTS New four-year contracts have been awarded to Christine Arroyo, Lee; Joseph Atria, Sullivan; Carmelita Austinberry, Buckingham; Barton Dassinger, Sabin Magnet; Otis Dunson III, Brennemann; Mary Ellen Garcia- Humphreys, McClellan; Daniel Gomez, Hayt; Michael Keno, Murray; Jewel McClinton, Lawrence; Reginald Miller, Hearst; Shenethe Parks, Harte; Vincent Payne, Aldridge; Paula Powers, Wentworth; Veronica Thompson, Revere; Patricia Watson, Shoesmith; Anna Alvarado, Hawthorne; Robert C. Baughman, Jamieson; Adell Brock, Rosenwald/Carroll; Demetrius Bunch, L. Armstrong; Joyce P. Cooper, Hirsch Metro; Sharon Dale, Dixon; Tresa D. Dunbar, Nash; Catherine Gannon, Sutherland; Adelfio J. Garcia, Hedges; Janice Kepka, Edgebrook; David Kovach, Cameron; Phyllis McCune, Morton; Patricia McPhearson-David, Mann; Linda Martin, Copernicus; John Price, Audubon; Erick D. Pruitt, O’Toole; Armando Rodriguez, G. Washington Elementary; Luis Soria, Mitchell; Mary T. Weaver, Scammon.
The following principals have had their contracts renewed: Debra Crump, Douglass; Betty Johnson-Rojas, Haugan.