Where Northside’s staff came from

Where Northside’s staff came from:

Other CPS schools

Ames Middle



Foreman (2)

Kenwood (2)



Mather (2)

Piccolo Elementary

Roosevelt (2)

Schurz (4)

Von Steuben (3)




Key Northside staffers

English Department Chair Barry McRaith most recently was a creative writing and English teacher at Von Steuben High School. He also was an English teacher and dean of student affairs at Holy Trinity High School. At Von Steuben, he received a grant from the Illinois State Board of Education to develop an integrated curriculum of math, science, history and English. McRaith was a Golden Apple Award nominee and received the Pegasus Players Theatre Teacher of the Year Award in 1998.

Board learns lesson from Northside’s hiring

Northside Principal James “Jay” Lally, former principal of St. Ignatius College Prep High School, was hired a year before the flagship school opened, which gave him several months to search for and hire an assistant principal and department heads, who then helped select the rest of the teaching staff.

State steps up monitoring of special ed inclusion

By the middle of July, the ISBE, in cooperation with CPS and attorneys representing some 53,000 CPS students with disabilities, is required to have specific numerical targets and benchmarks. Those will include the percentage of special education students in CPS who spend most of their day in a regular classroom and the percentage of students served districtwide in self-contained classrooms and separate public or private schools. Targets will be based on national averages, according to Designs for Change, a school reform organization that first documented illegal segregation of Chicago’s special education students in a 1991 report.

Federal official says Chicago’s made progress

Thomas Hehir, who directs the special education office of the U.S. Department of Education, knows Chicago well from his three-year stint (1990-1993) as special education chief for the Chicago Public Schools. He says that when he came to Chicago he was “appalled” at the level of forced segregation of children with disabilities.

Sabin Magnet brings ‘Ann’ into new world

There is a lot of good will out there and in the central administration, but it’s still going to be a struggle for [parents] sometimes,” Soltman says. “You still have to press and look for support from other parents and people within the CPS. You are entitled to that support. Take advantage of the opportunities presented; try to see what’s available to you.”

What the new settlement will bring

“The day is over in Chicago when people are going to put down any number on a report and say the minutes are there,” believes Rod Estvan, a longtime critic of special education in Chicago. Formerly with Access Living, Estvan is now assisting the judge named to monitor implementation of Chicago’s special education plan.

Special education entering new era

Nevertheless, advocates are apprehensive. “Sue Gamm has good intentions and is committed to implementing the court decision, but not a lot of people under her that have that kind of commitment,” contends Desjardins, executive director of the Family Resource Center, which receives 5,000 phone calls a year regarding rights of the disabled. “With a half million kids in the system, 50,000 of which are in special education, this is going to be an extremely difficult process.”

Expert profiles star teachers in urban schools


Star teachers never give up trying to find better ways of doing things. Paraphrasing Thomas Edison, Haberman writes that “the difference between carbon and diamonds is that diamonds stayed on the job longer.” So, too, with star teachers. Unsuccessful teachers, he writes, tend to believe most of their students should not be in their classrooms because they need special help, are not achieving at grade level, are “abnormal” in their interests, attentiveness and behavior and are emotionally unsuited to school.