At the KIPP Foundation’s office in San Francisco, Feinberg, 34, says his shabby dress conveys a message to the new graduates: “You’re not done yet.”
And, in truth, they’re not. This group of 11 former teachers who have finished a yearlong program at the Haas Business School at the University of California-Berkeley will spend the next three months shadowing leaders at existing KIPP schools.
KIPP opened a school in the Oakland Unified School District in the summer of 2002. Since then, the school has survived a districtwide deficit of $100 million, nearly a quarter of the overall $450 million operating budget; a state takeover of the district; principal and teacher turnover; a facility relocation; and a name change.
Mather High School in West Rogers Park , for example, has a design capacity of 1,520 students; last year, it enrolled 1,839 students, with about a third coming from outside its attendance area. Without the outsiders, Mather’s enrollment would have been about 250 students under capacity.
Principal John Butterfield says that to offer high-level programs, he needs to recruit some students from beyond Mather’s boundaries. “I’ll take kids from outside to make programs available that might not otherwise be there,” says Butterfield, a former Mather teacher who has been principal for 10 years.
This year, 895 of the district’s 1,523 bilingual teachers are working with provisional certificates, called Type 29s, reports Manuel Medina, who oversees language and cultural education for CPS. However, many of these teachers have standard certificates but lack the bilingual endorsement and, therefore, are considered Type 29s. Medina says only 250 have neither a standard certificate nor the endorsement.
While the mayor took center stage, the initiative is one that began in the private, non-profit community and, to a large extent, will be steered by that community.
A coalition of groups outside the Chicago Public Schools kick-started the effort to bring the $12 million, five-year Gates grant to Chicago, and members of the same coalition will oversee its spending.
The Creiger Multiplex on the city’s Near West Side, which houses three schools that have their own budgets, curricula and leaders, is a likely model, according to B.J. Walker, a top Daley aide and the city’s point person for this initiative.
Indeed, the majority of 8th-graders in this year’s citywide Summer Bridge program fell into this category. Even so, they were put in the same classes as students who did not score high enough on the tests. As a result, they received instruction in skills they already had mastered.
“The idea is to … give them some direction,” Dunaway explained.
Each of the 200 schools was to receive up to $60,000 for books and materials, plus $40 per student. In addition, the board was recruiting administrators or teachers with principal certification to form three-person monitoring teams.
By 2000, the 82 elementary schools placed on probation in fall 1996 and 1997 still had nearly 80percent of their students scoring below national norms in reading on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, according to a new analysis by the research and advocacy group Designs for Change. Designs faults the board’s top-down approach and its heavy investment in summer school and after-school programs instead of in the core school-day program.
In the 2001-2005 plan, the School Board identified $97 million in construction projects it hopes to fund with TIF revenue collected this fiscal year. To date, the board has collected only $16.1 million, according to the board’s operations director, Tim Martin. And that money came from the proceeds of bond deals in two high-profile TIF districts: Near North TIF and Near South TIF.