AT CLARK STREET Al Bertani, executive director of the professional development affiliate of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, has been named chief officer of professional development, a new position created by CEO Arne Duncan. He will oversee five smaller units, including teacher recertification and the National Teaching Academy. Olivia Watkins, who had been appointed the director of professional development in August, is now the special projects officer reporting to Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins. … Grace Troccolo left her position as director of service learning to become program director for Greencorps Chicago, a division of the City of Chicago Department of Environment that works with neighborhoods to build community gardens. A new director for service learning has not yet been named.
MOVING IN/MOVING ON Pat Ford, formerly program director of Chicago Annenberg Challenge, was named executive director the new Chicago High School Redesign Initiative, an $18.2 million effort to subdivide five troubled high schools into clusters of small schools. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded CPS a five-year, $12 million grant for the project; matching funds from six Chicago-area foundations provided the rest. Beginning Dec. 3, the Redesign Initiative will distribute requests for proposals to high schools. For more information, call (312) 372-3356. … Dana Lossia, a recent graduate of Northwestern University and AmeriCorps’ Public Allies, will head up communications and LSC election outreach for Chicago School Leadership Cooperative. Charmaine Hamer, previously program director of the West Humbolt Park Family Community Council, also joins the cooperative as an organizer and trainer.
PRINCIPAL CONTRACTS John H. Lewis, former assistant principal at Hope College Prep School, is now contract principal at Libby. He replaces Beverly Blake, who retired this summer. … Christine T. Munns, former assistant principal at Sauganash, is now contract principal. She replaces interim principal Rafael Sanchez. … Philistine Tweedle, former interim principal at Beasley Academy, is now contract principal. … Olga LaLuz, principal at Chase, and Noble L. Pearce, principal at Attucks, have had their contracts renewed. … Based on the recommendations of a hearing officer, Noreen Nagle, who was removed from Prosser High School in October 1995, was officially dismissed as a principal employed by the Chicago Board of Education. Nagle had been reassigned after the board declared Prosser was in educational crisis. At the same time, published reports alleged that Nagle had changed failing grades of the LSC chairman’s daughter.
LSC ELECTIONS Parents, community residents and teachers who are interested in running for a seat on the local school council may register to be candidates beginning Dec. 3. Forms are available at schools through the LSC election coordinator. Candidates must be over 18 and have two forms of identification, however U.S. citizenship is not required. Nominations will be open through Mar. 8; elections will be held May 1 and 2. … A training session on principal evaluation and selection, sponsored by Chicago School Leadership Cooperative and Pencil, will be held at 111 N. Wabash Avenue on Dec. 8 at 10 a.m at. LSCs may earn credit for participating. For information call (312) 499-4800. … A breakfast for business leaders interested in getting involved with education, sponsored by the Union League Club, will be held Dec. 11 at 7:30 a.m. Call (312) 499-4800 for more information. … LSCs from 17 schools were selected as finalists in the first citywide competition to determine which councils are doing the most to improve their schools. Six schools will be named winners of the “Gold Star” awards, which will include a $3,000 prize and public recognition at a ceremony to be held Jan. 31. Finalists are LSC members at: Lake View High, Blaine, Hawthorne, Falconer, Nash, Mozart, Gladstone, Galileo, Jones Magnet High, Daley, Murray, Telpochcalli, Dawes, Tesla Alternative High, Mireles, White and Poe. The competition is sponsored by the Chicago Successful Schools Project and a steering committee of civic, community and school representatives; awards are underwritten by the Polk Bros. Foundation and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.
LAWSUIT SETTLED CPS entered into a $300,000 settlement agreement with Steve Newton Jr., the former principal of Marshall High School who built a $14,000 private shower and toilet in his office at board expense. The school board removed Newton in 1996, alleging that he interfered with interim management team installed at Marshall to move the school off of probation. After a hearing, the Board declared that an “educational crisis” existed at Marshall, a finding under Illinois law that permits the board to fire the principal. Newton brought a federal suit against the school board claiming that his removal was a violation of his right to due process and a breach of contact. The case was settled in federal appellate court on Aug. 31.
PROMOTION POLICY The board approved an amended high school promotion policy at its October meeting. The new policy stipulates that all students must take core subject classes in English, math, science and social science and must pass at least three of them both semesters to be promoted. It also sets minimum standards for credits earned and outlines penalties for unexcused absences and failed final exams. For example, a student who has unexcused absences for 20 percent or more classes in a particular subject will fail the course and will not receive credit. Special guidelines are noted for bilingual and learning disabled students. Summer school students can receive no more than two credits. Principals can appeal to the Chief Education Officer for exemptions to the new policy, considering factors such as student health, family situation and prior academic record. The new policy will become effective for 9th, 10th and 11th graders when the second semester begins on Feb. 4.
AWARDS Nurturing Teacher Leadership, the Quest Center’s support program for CPS teachers seeking national board certification, won a Distinguished Partnership Award from the Saturn Corporation. … Barbara Taylor Bowman, president and co-founder of the Erikson Institute, has been recognized by the city of Chicago with an honorary street sign at Wabash Avenue and Hubbard Street, where the school is based.