The Erikson Institute and Columbia College have received a $1 million grant from Irving B. and Joan W. Harris to create an early childhood teacher education program that includes two years of student teaching and mentor support during the first year of teaching.
The newly created Chicago Consortium for Teacher Development has received a four-year, $3.1 million grant to help 24 middle schools and middle-grade departments improve their curriculum so that students become more involved in learning.
Parents at Niños have been supportive of the idea, Stratton says. They do not have to readjust to a new teacher every year; instead, they have time to become familiar with a teacher’s style and expectations. As in a regular classroom, parents of children in the multi-year program have the option of transferring their children to another class if there is a conflict with the teacher or the program. None has to date.
IN THE FIELD A business manager has been appointed to each region to assist with and monitor school and regional budgets. Region 1, Jodilyn Marron of the CPS budget office; Region 2, Jorge Perez, an interal audit supervisor; Region 3, Lydia Nantwi, principal of Woodland Elementary in south suburban Hazel Crest; Region 4, Jay Swanson assistant principal of Juarez High; Region 5, Keith Barrett, formerly a CPS financial analyst; Region 6, Maxey Bacchus, of the CPS bureau of contracts.
An interim advisory board had recommended three options, each of which provided for an elected majority. However, the School Board created a 15-member body with only six elected members, one from each region.
“That was not one of the recommendations the interim council gave,” notes Lafayette Ford, a member of the interim group and co-chair of the CityWide Coalition for School Reform. “In fact, the board reversed the interim council’s recommendation.”
Leonard Dominguez, the board’s policy chief, says the School Board chose to include more appointees than elected members in order to ensure a majority of parents and a balance of regions, interests, races and ethnicities.
In studying student transfers from spring 1993 to spring 1994, the Chicago Panel on School Policy and the Consortium on Chicago School Research identified nine patterns. Schools in category 1 retained a stable core of students while attracting new students. At the opposite end of the scale, schools in category 9 saw about a third of their students leave during the one-year period but failed to attract enough students to replace them; as a result, they suffered declining enrollment. Small schools, especially those with magnet programs, tended to be the most stable. Schools printed below in red had decreasing stability rates between 1991 and 1994; that is, their student population experienced increasing turnover. Schools printed in bold type had increasing stability.
HE KEEPS GOING AND GOING The evening of Feb. 8, schools chief Paul Vallas spent more than 2½ hours answering questions, first on live TV for WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight,” then informally after the show had gone off the air and finally for a taping for the “Jim Lehrer News Hour.” Two days later, Vallas doubled his talking time, answering questions first at a forum organized by the CityWide Coalition for School Reform, then informally after the event had ended and finally for a taping by the CENter project. All of which prompted one school reform wag to call him the Energizer rabbit.