Last fall, Gladstone Elementary School on the Near West Side was starting up a skill-oriented Region 3 program and adjusting to a longer school day. (See story in Catalyst, December 1996.) Today, Gladstone teachers are lobbying for changes in both initiatives to help them run more smoothly next year.
Fourth-grade teacher Vicky Tomko wants more prep time during the longer school day and more preparation for the Region 3 Achievement Structure, or R3AS.
“I never got a full grasp of what it was we were supposed to be doing,” she says of R3AS. “Part of the problem was we didn’t have time to plan.”
Even so, Principal Gary Moriello believes R3AS and the extended school day will pay dividends this year—his hope is that test scores will rise high enough to get the school off remediation and the state’s so-called academic watch list. “Between having the extra time and the skills pinpointed, scores should go up. I’ll be very surprised if they don’t,” he says.
“I’m not going to have you quote me saying ‘heads will roll if they don’t,'” he quips, “because the first head will probably be mine.”
While the School Reform Board’s remediation program was supposed to provide low-scoring schools extra help, Gladstone hasn’t gotten any. Indeed, it was not until mid-April that it received the report of the remediation assessment team, which visited the school for a day in late January.
MAR 20 School waits while board mulls money.
At 8 a.m., nine members of Gladstone’s local school council gather in the school’s “multipurpose room,” formerly a classroom but now used for meetings, storage and office space. The task at hand is to review drafts of the 1997 school improvement plan (SIP) and school budget. Both are due in central office April 30th.
Today’s good news is that Gladstone’s federal Title I funds for 1997-98 will rise about $100,000, to a total of $380,000. (See story.) Principal Gary Moriello would like some of the new money to pay for extra staff, including a teacher to run a writing class and tutor in reading. State Chapter 1 funding remains steady at roughly $400,000.
However, Moriello can only report uncertainly on some other key areas pending news from central office.
KINDERGARTEN FUNDING Currently, the School Board pays for only half-day kindergartens, but rumor suggests that funds for full-day programs are in the works. If so, schools like Gladstone that use discretionary funds to offer full-day kindergarten can free up money for other purposes. Moriello wants new computers. “So keep your fingers crossed on that,” he advises.
AFTER-SCHOOL ACADEMY Last year, Gladstone received $50,000 for after-school programs, which helped pay for its extended school day. So far, these funds have not appeared in the school’s computer. “If they give us the money, I’ll let you know,” says Moriello. “Don’t hold your breath.”
DESEGREGATION FUNDS State Chapter 1 Replacement (STIR) funds, which provide staff development for racially segregated schools, have decreased in recent years. For the current school year, Gladstone got $13,000. Moriello predicts that it won’t get more than that amount next year. “But I really am not anticipating getting a dime,” he adds.
REMEDIATION REPORT On Jan. 24, a nine-person team from the Office of Accountability spent the morning interviewing teachers and a handful of parents they met in the hallways. They talked to Moriello for two hours in the afternoon. The team was to report on Gladstone’s strengths and weaknesses. But so far, it hasn’t.
In fact, weeks will pass before Gladstone receives information on any of these matters, and by that time the LSC will have already approved next year’s budget and SIP.
After-school academy funding was not in question, says school leadership development officer Lula Ford. Funds are simply not on-line yet because she’s reviewing the entire budget, a task she intends to complete by April 23.
Ford also reports that the board will not distribute STIR funds (roughly $8 million) to schools this year and will use them instead to pay for summer “bridge” and after-school programs. This is a legitimate use of desegregation money, she maintains, as the new programs also benefit segregated schools.
As for kindergarten, the rumor Moriello heard wasn’t quite right. The board won’t pay for a full day, but it will help schools expand their half-day programs from 2 hours to 4 hours.
Kindergarten teachers would work a nine-hour day and likely receive an additional prep period, according to Deputy Education Officer Blondean Davis. “There has to be some kind of relief,” she says. “Nobody can teach for eight hours [straight].”
Davis says that if a school wants to go this route, it will need a waiver from the Chicago Teachers Union contract, which specifies the length of the school day. Schedule waivers require majority approval from all CTU members at a school. “It seems a little odd, but that’s the way the contract reads,” says Davis.
Davis credits Chief Executive Officer Paul Vallas for coming up with extra funds for the overtime. “He looked into an interpretation of the [state’s] funding formula and found it was possible to get full reimbursement” for up to four hours of kindergarten.
The board must still pay for the hours upfront, as reimbursement takes a year or more, says policy director Leonard Dominguez. To keep costs down, schools with full-day programs will not get any extra money. “We want to expand instructional hours for kindergartners,” Dominguez explains. “It’s not about helping schools recapture a few dollars.”
MAR 21 Staffing troubles, peeling paint.
Once a month, Gladstone lets out at noon for a faculty meeting. Today’s comes over a potluck lunch in the library. While teachers munch on fried chicken and cornbread, Principal Moriello hands out draft copies of the school improvement plan for them to review over the weekend.
The plan is coming along smoothly, he reports. “Last year it took some time because we were starting with a brand new format. But at least it was a format you could hold in your hand without your arm aching.”
A 1996 School Board initiative whittled the format, limiting SIPs to 20 or so pages. Formerly they could run 200, 300, even 400 pages, Moriello says. “Very few people ever read them, let alone acted upon them. They sat in big, tall stacks.”
During the two-hour meeting, several problems come up for discussion, including two separate conflicts with the board over hiring. One involves filling teacher aide vacancies. In January, Gladstone tried to hire two teacher aides, one to stand in for an aide on maternity leave and the other to fill a new position. “If you notice, they’re not on the payroll yet,” Moriello says.
Dean Blair, the school business manager, called the Human Resources Department repeatedly to find the problem. “They finally said, ‘Gee, we’re sorry. We’re changing the rules,'” Moriello reports. Schools can’t pick whom they want; rather they must select from a “layoff list” of aides who lost jobs at other schools.
Actually, the rule is a longstanding one stipulated by the Chicago Teachers Union contract, says Human Resources Director Thomas Doyle. He suspects that when Gladstone first called, the layoff list was empty and that names were added subsequently. “It’s in flux constantly,” he explains. “It’s problematic. We’d like to make some sort of change.” But that would require negotiation with the union, he adds.
Doyle may allow one of Moriello’s candidates on the payroll, provided the school agrees to maintain the position through 1997-98. Temporary replacements are never provided for aides on maternity leave, however.
Meanwhile, Moriello hesitates to hire from the layoff list. He’s heard that principals sometimes close aide positions to save themselves the hassle of dismissing unsatisfactory staff. “If that’s the case, then the quality of these people is suspect,” he says. His candidates are parent volunteers at Gladstone.
At the faculty meeting, Moriello brings up a personnel problem that teachers have been complaining about, the unexpected loss of prep periods. “Yeah!” interjects one teacher, drawing a peal of echoes from his colleagues.
Teachers get four prep periods a week while students attend “specials” like music and gym. But preps are often lost when “specials” teachers are absent and substitutes unavailable, a chronic problem for Chicago schools.
Moriello would like to hire another “specials” teacher next year (a writing teacher) and give classroom teachers a fifth prep. At the moment, however, he’s faced with the difficult choice of using discretionary money either to hire the writing teacher or to maintain a regular classroom position that the board says it will cut. The board’s stand is based on Gladstone’s October enrollment; however, enrollment has grown since then.
Andrew Gilchrist, the board’s acting budget director, reports that fall staffing is not yet locked in. “They should be staffed at the appropriate level by the start of school,” he assures, adding that Moriello’s input will be sought in mid-April.
Next year, schools that end up being overstaffed on the 20th day of classes will have positions cut, though, says Gilchrist. This school year, the board did not follow that longstanding practice, and it cost them an extra $18.4 million. (See Catalyst, February 1997.)
Also up in the air, Moriello tells his staff, is relief for Gladstone’s asbestos and lead paint problems. A draft of Phase II of the board’s Capital Improvement Plan came out in January, but the list of schools slated for environmental repairs is still “to come.”
Eighth-grade teacher Debbie Hornof wonders if lead paint abatement will be done on the ceilings. “Kids are in gym or assemblies, and the paint chips are just falling on their heads,” she says.
Moriello agrees that the issue is a serious one. Last September he reported on Gladstone’s peeling paint and asbestos in the school’s weekly newsletter—a move that got him into some hot water with Paul Vallas. (See CATALYST, December 1996.)
“If they come out with a list of schools, and we’re not on it, I’ll be back in danger again because I’ll be raising hell,” he promises.
MAR 26 R3AS: skills and chills.
Karen Adams’ 5th-graders are learning to use “context clues” this morning, a reading skill they’ll need on the upcoming Iowa Tests of Basic Skills.
Adams made up some sentences with words pulled from an adventure story the class is reading. Students study those sentences to puzzle out meanings for words like “veranda,” “pursuers” and “brackish.”
Direct teaching of skills on Iowa and IGAP tests is part of the Region 3 Achievement Structure, dubbed R3AS. (The program is patterned after the School Achievement Structure program created by Barbara Sizemore, education dean at DePaul University.) A handful of Gladstone staff attended training last year at the region office; after some quick planning, the program got under way in September.
Under R3AS, teachers are to hit a skill a week in both reading and math—the goal being to cover all material in time for spring testing. Students are tested on the skills every five weeks. The goal is for half the class to get at least 50 percent correct on each skill tested. At Gladstone, a faculty member assigned full-time to R3AS as program facilitator writes the tests, and an educational consulting firm scores them.
Adams says her students haven’t met the testing goal once. “They get 40 minutes to do the test, [but] in 10 minutes they’re finished. They put the paper down, [and] they’re doing this.” She rolls her eyes around the room and up at the ceiling. “You’re finished?” Yeah. “Did you check it?” No.
“I don’t think they take any of it seriously,” she continues. “I don’t think they have bought into this yet.”
One problem is the pacing. “Knowing a kid didn’t have it, [I] went on anyway because I had to. I rushed a lot of it,” she adds.
Adams also worries that students find the skill-a-week focus less engaging than long-term projects, which she dropped this year.
Adams says the underlying problem is not with R3AS itself, but rather with the lack of time for teachers to plan and collaborate. If they could get together, she says, they might even be able come up with projects that integrate several weeks worth of skills.
“We don’t interact that way as a staff,” she says. “We got this program. Everybody’s been told to do it. ‘So just do it!'”
MAR 27 R3AS: same only better.
Janice Washington, a 2nd-grade teacher, says R3AS has brought good changes to the school although it hasn’t changed much about her teaching.
For one, she likes the organization, with each grade level teaching the same skills at once. She also likes the monitoring, with five Gladstone teachers assigned to observe classrooms every week or two. Because Washington has been teaching many years, she feels she didn’t need much feedback, but she has enjoyed the visits.
For her, the only real downside has been the paperwork. “We didn’t like anything that involves more paperwork. We shuffle enough paper.”
Some Gladstone teachers admit that they eventually stopped filling out the detailed lesson plan forms, but Washington played along. Reading skills are supposed to be taught one at a time, and Washington filled the forms out accordingly, though she prefers to teach several with each story.
“If I was supposed to be doing context clues, I just left out that I was [also] doing main idea—because it wasn’t supposed to be taught that week,” she explains.
She suspects that R3AS helped new teachers the most—Gladstone has seven this year.
Indeed, newer teachers seem most enthusiastic about the program. “It just gives you a better focus,” says 3rd-grade teacher Rita Felton, who is in her first year. “I feel confident that the kids are getting what they need for the Iowa.”
Some tenured teachers also prefer a schoolwide curriculum, but many note a host of problems. Of five classroom monitors, only one kept up with the visits. Tutoring for lower-scoring students was promised but never delivered. Five-week tests for each grade level were sloppily prepared, with questions out of order. Skills were sequenced illogically and had to be reshuffled midyear.
Principal Moriello acknowledges the problems. He believes that Gladstone’s full-time R3AS facilitator (who transferred last month) was overburdened. “She did a masterful job, but it was enough to keep 3 or 4 people busy.”
“You can’t expect to do it all in the first year,” he adds. “It’s a learning experience for us.”
Elsewhere in Region 3, regional officer Hazel Steward reports excellent results with R3AS. In all but one of 22 elementary and high schools that participated last year, students showed two to three months’ growth for each month of teaching. Steward says the improvement shocked her. “It was so huge I thought I had done something wrong in the calculations, but I hadn’t. They actually had that growth.”
MAR 31 Extended day gets a vote.
Today Gladstone votes on whether to retain its longer school day, which added 35 minutes for instruction, 10 minutes for teacher prep time and a 15-minute recess for students. Under the Chicago Teachers Union contract, 50 percent plus one of a school’s union staff must approve any change in the work schedule outlined in the union contract. And they must reapprove it each year.
The extra time cost Gladstone over $200,000. The school paid with discretionary funds freed up after closing a science lab, a computer lab and a Reading Recovery program, which provides one-on-one tutoring for 1st-graders.
At 8 this morning, Gladstone staff gather in the library. Principal Moriello gives his pitch for the longer day. Test scores aren’t in yet, he reminds them. “We need to give it a chance.”
He turns the floor over to 7th-grade teacher Robert Stasiak, Gladstone’s union delegate, to lead a closed-door discussion before the vote.
As Moriello hurries downstairs to run off ballots, his optimism is running high. He even wants to wager on the outcome. “How much would you bet that it passes?” he asks. “Come on, how much?”
Later this morning, Stasiak and teacher Susan Ashmann follow him into his office. Stasiak hands over a ballot-stuffed envelope, which Moriello empties out on his desk. They sit, and Ashmann takes out pad and pen to tally the vote.
The first three ballots are checked “yes.” Moriello reads them off with gusto.
Ashmann chuckles. “Look at that smile on his face.”
The next five votes, however, are “no.” The smile fades.
Still, the final tally comes up 26 to 16 in favor. Moriello looks relieved, though he notes that approval fell this year, from 74 percent to 62 percent.
Later, Stasiak says he expected the measure to pass but thought it would be closer still. During the union meeting, teachers mainly complained of exhaustion.
“I see tired teachers, grumpier teachers, more detentions,” he says.
Fourth-grade teacher Vicky Tomko, who voted no, notes that “a big argument for the extended day is that suburban schools have longer days. But there’s a lot built into the schedule so teachers don’t get burnt out and the kids don’t get burnt out.” She cites regular prep periods, more recess and 45-minute lunch periods.
Being on closed campus, Gladstone teachers get fewer breaks from teaching: a 20-minute lunch period and four 35-minute preps.
Extended day could work at Gladstone under a “suburban” schedule, Tomko believes, but without those breaks she says, “kids pretty much tune out by 2 o’clock anyway.”
Some teachers also question whether the 35 minutes of extra teaching time was worth losing Reading Recovery and the two labs.
Fourth-grade teacher Julie Wright, who taught 1st grade for three years, believes Reading Recovery “really, really helped some students that needed it. I have some of those same students now, and they’re my top readers.”
Extended-day supporters, on the other hand, say they like the extra teaching time. “I get more math done, more reading done, more science done,” says 2nd-grade teacher Janice Washington.
With pressure from central office, the longer school day is catching on. This school year, 132 schools are offering an extra hour of instruction, Deputy Education Officer Blondean Davis reports.
Last year the board encouraged schools below national norms in reading to either extend the day—which requires a faculty vote—or add up to three days a week of after-school tutoring for low-scoring students. All schools on probation complied with the suggestion, which will be a requirement for them next year, Davis says.
This year, 40 elementary schools on probation received board funding for an extra hour of instruction, an hour of recreation and a hot meal for students. Sixty will participate in the program next year, she says.
APR 1 The ITBS looms: “crunch time” is here.
In the past, Gladstone students warmed up for the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills with a few practice sheets. This year’s preparation is more intense. Monday through Thursday this week, each class devotes one or two hours to testing and review.
This is Tuesday, and Debbie Hornof’s 8th-graders are hunched over the reading comprehension section. After 45 minutes, Hornof calls time up. “How many of you finished the test? Three?”
“When you take the real test, you’re going to have to work on your pacing,” she advises the others.
Under a 1996 board policy, 3rd-, 6th- and 8th-graders must earn minimum math and reading scores on the Iowa exams or attend a seven-week summer school “bridge” program. Eighth-graders with failing grades in reading or math also must attend.
Last summer, when the requirement applied only to 8th-graders, Gladstone saw 16 students—over half the 8th-grade class—go off to summer school.
Bridge students are retested at summer’s end, and those who pass are promoted. Last summer, nine of Gladstone’s 16 attendees failed. Of those, four transferred to other elementary schools, three turned 15 in time to earn “social promotions,” and two stayed at Gladstone for another year.
This year, 15-year-olds who fail the retest will attend regional “transition centers” for a full school year.
Passing scores for 8th-graders have also been upped from a 6.8 to a 7.0, which is the national average for the beginning of 7th grade. Hornof reminds her class of that fact frequently. After students score this morning’s practice exams, she reads off a grade equivalent for each total number correct. Twenty correct is a 7.0.
“Raise your hand if you would not be graduating.” Four students put up their hands; others simply grunt.
Hornof, who teaches Gladstone’s only 8th-grade class, suspects that nine are headed for summer school, including both students retained last year.
With the ITBS only a month away, kids are feeling the pressure, she says. “Like you wouldn’t believe. They’re extremely worried. We’re down to crunch time.”
Since the threat of retention set in, Hornof has added more in-class reading and longer, slower-paced math lessons.
Still, some kids just won’t make the effort, she says. About 25 percent are refusing to do any homework, including the two retained last year.
As for the Iowa practice this week, “It’s wasted teaching time that we could be using for actually getting them the material that’s going to be on the test,” she says.
However, others think the practice helps kids become more comfortable with the testing format. “We’re having fun with it,” says 1st-grade teacher Holly Thompson. “I was surprised.”
APR 2 Teachers push for changes.
This morning, Gladstone’s Professional Personnel Advisory Committee (PPAC) meets for the second time this year; its first meeting was last week, when the extended-day vote was fast approaching. Some 20 teachers, two-thirds of the faculty, are on hand.
Fourth-grade teacher Julie Wright, PPAC chair, starts off on extended day.
“It needs to be different next year,” she says, looking around the room. Many nod agreement. “I have a feeling that if we don’t say anything it’s going to be the same. Let’s get some ideas to give to the LSC.”
One teacher wants more hands-on projects to get kids out of their seats. Another suggests that upper grades switch teachers for math and reading—to give kids a stretch and a change of pace. Debbie Hornof seconds the idea enthusiastically.
Teacher Susan Ashmann suggests tutoring for below-level students. The R3AS training she went to said that the entire staff should get involved with tutoring, even the principal.
Wright agrees, as the longer day is not helping her reach lower-scoring kids. “I cannot pull that group aside without the rest of them going bonkers.”
That brings her to another concern from the previous meeting—discipline. “I know it’s driving all of us crazy,” she says, adding that achievement isn’t going anywhere until kids are under control. “Detentions and suspensions aren’t working.”
“My 7th-graders say, ‘We like suspension,'” reports Robert Stasiak.
Ashmann is intrigued. “Why do they like suspension?”
“They sit and watch Oprah all day.”
Detentions are mounting, too, with kids accumulating an extra day for each day they fail to serve. Karen Adams reports that one student owes 29.
Several weeks ago, the school sent home a note that children with unserved detentions would be suspended, and Assistant Principal Bertha Dixon’s office was suddenly flooded with detainees. Now, four teachers each have a classroom of students to watch after school.
After some discussion, teachers decide to pick kids up at the door in the morning and march them in quietly to help set the tone for the day.
Many at Gladstone find that the most severe discipline problems come from children transferring in the middle of the year.
Seventh-grade teacher Paul Persenaire says he has three who transferred in after Christmas with “terrible” attitudes toward school. One has a jail record. “He’s been kicked out of every school he walked by,” Persenaire reports.
“Behavior is going down the tubes, and it’s because of these new kids,” Wright agrees.
Gladstone’s mobility rate in 1996 was 48 percent, above the citywide average of about 30 percent.
APR 7 Windows on the way.
Last Wednesday, one of the biggest trucks Principal Moriello had ever seen delivered windows to Gladstone, part of the first phase of the board’s Capital Improvement Plan. A construction crew was to begin installing them today, but the old ones need to come out first, and a contract for that work has been delayed.
First-grade teacher Holly Thompson can’t wait. Her windows are so clouded she can’t tell when it’s raining and students should stay inside for recess.
She points to another aggravation, grit that comes in through the crevices and accumulates on windowsills. Much of it is from tuckpointing underway outside, another capital improvement.
“It’s filthy,” she says. With 10 minutes until the first bell, she dons rubber gloves, and wielding a sponge and spray bottle, wipes down sills and tables.
Still other improvements have arrived at Gladstone during Phase I. The school got its boiler repaired, its brick facade spray-cleaned and a brand new roof.
Further construction at Gladstone seems likely in Phase II. A draft plan released in January tentatively slates Gladstone for improved access for the disabled and wiring that would allow for a schoolwide computer network.
Moriello is even more excited about the plan’s “future phases.” There Gladstone appears on a tentative list of 20 schools that will see their buildings replaced entirely.
“I’m ecstatic,” says Moriello, who envisions a larger space for Gladstone’s health center and maybe even a public library branch.
Age and overcrowding were determining factors for the tentative list of new schools, according to Operations Chief of Staff Marjorie Schaffner. Gladstone is over 100 years old, she notes. “You reach a point where it costs more to repair than it does to rebuild.”
In the meantime, capital improvements extend the life of the current building, which may need to hold up another 10 years or more, according to Schaffner. The timing of future phases depends on funding.
At the moment, the board is $600 million short for Phase II and intends to scrape up more cash by refinancing debt and selling more bonds. The first two phases combined will cost an estimated $1.4 billion. (See CATALYST, April 1997.)
As for the Phase II environmental list Gladstone eagerly awaits, schools with city code violations (Gladstone is not one) are being given priority, Schaffner says. The list will be updated monthly as funds are available.
Other schools are receiving lead paint and asbestos abatement as conditions are assessed during other renovations—like window replacement. She can’t promise Gladstone anything yet, though.
APR 10 LSC ahead of the game.
When Gladstone’s LSC meets this morning to wrap up the SIP and budget before spring vacation, PPAC Chair Julie Wright reports on faculty discussions concerning R3AS and extended day.
“We definitely had some concerns,” she says.
For R3AS, “There was no accountability this year. Nobody came to see if I was doing what I was supposed to be doing,” she notes.
Wright says teachers want classrooms monitored. In addition, they want regular grade-level meetings, tutoring and advance planning to organize the curriculum before school opens in September.
“Everything needs to be set in stone then, not the third or fourth week of school because that’s just not going to work,” she insists.
Wright also offers ideas for making extended day a little easier on teachers, such as rotating recess duty.
Later in the meeting, kindergarten teacher Ann Walsh highlights points in the SIP that address many of Wright’s concerns, including provisions for peer coaching, weekly grade-level meetings and tutoring for lower students.
“You guys were way ahead of me!” Wright says with a laugh. Walsh explains that she used notes from one of the PPAC meetings to draft the SIP.
Moving swiftly through the budget, Moriello notes that he still hasn’t received any word on kindergarten funding, STIR money or After-School Academy funds.
“We can fill the blanks in this fall, when the money comes in,” he says.
APR 11 Remediation report arrives just a little too late.
A day after Gladstone’s LSC approves next year’s SIP, Principal Moriello gets some mail from the Office of Accountability. It’s the remediation team report he’s been expecting since February.
A cover letter reads, “Dear Remediation School Principal … This report should be used as a tool as you develop your school improvement plan for 1997-98.”
Moriello is displeased not only with the report’s timing, but also with its content. “Some of it’s too vague, some is hard to understand, some we think is untrue.”
For example, Gladstone was praised for a phonics program which it never used and criticized for a vacant lunchroom position which the board itself eliminated after switching to privatized food service.
Some recommendations are simply puzzling, such as “Reorganize the bilingual program.”
“Into what?” Moriello wonders. “There are no clear guidelines.” The report instructs him to contact regional and central offices for further assistance, which he intends to do.
Meanwhile he called school leaders together—some teachers, administrators, two building engineers—to scrutinize the report. Each was assigned several recommendations to study.
In all, the two-page report lists six strengths, 34 weaknesses and 23 recommendations for improvement.
“It really has a negative tone to it,” Moriello says. “It got me angry. We’re better than this report indicates, there’s no question in my mind.”
Intervention Director Phil Hansen says that he had hoped to release the reports a few weeks earlier, before his office got tied up with unexpected projects. Reports for 109 schools on probation went out in December, he says.
And he still hopes to see all remediation as well as probation schools paired with external partners. “We’re looking at the budget to see how much money is still available,” he says. So far, all but 10 remediation schools—Gladstone is one of the 10—have partners.
This year the board spent $4.5 million for external partners for 160 schools, and will likely spend “a bit” more in 1997-98, Hansen says. The board pays 80 percent of costs the first year, 50 percent the second and 25 percent the third.
Remediation schools may select from a menu of partners and programs or suggest their own partner, subject to board approval. Moriello thinks an external partner “would certainly be worth considering. I have a very hard time turning down money.”