The small schools will be the first to open under the Chicago High School Redesign Initiative, a centerpiece of CEO Arne Duncan’s school improvement efforts that aims to subdivide large high schools into several smaller, auto-nomous schools. Each school will have its own budget, faculty and administrative staff.
A principal and three teacher leaders have been named to run four new small high schools set to open this fall at Bowen and South Shore. A fifth small high school scheduled to open at Orr has not yet appointed a lead teacher.
EDUCATIONAL CRISIS The Chicago Board of Education placed Smith Elementary at 744 E. 103rd St. in educational crisis, which by state law allows the board to take over dysfunctional schools and disband the LSC. After hearings in February, the board found that long-standing conflicts between the LSC and Principal Antionette Patton had led to declining academic results and a failure to devise a school improvement plan or budget. Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins will oversee all school expenditures and the school improvement plan through June 30. The board will allow Patton to remain, but it will dissolve the LSC. However, many of the ousted LSC members are slated as candidates in this month’s election.
CTU JOINS TURN On May 4, the CTU officially joined the Teacher Union Reform Network (TURN), a national group of reform-minded union locals from both the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. CTU President Deborah Lynch had expressed interest in joining TURN just days after she was elected last spring. (Catalyst September 2001). “She has a perspective on teacher unionism that is compatible with that of most TURN members,” says Adam Urbanski, co-director of TURN, which promotes collaboration between teachers unions and school districts to improve teaching and learning. CTU is one of four new members of TURN, which now has 30 members.