RENAISSANCE FUNDING Starting this fall, new and existing Renaissance 2010 schools will have to pay more to use district facilities. The fee, which covers maintenance, custodial services, utilities and technology services, will increase from $775 per student for elementary schools and $1,025 per student for high schools to $930 and $1,351 per pupil, respectively. For the first time, the district will also give the turnaround schools additional per-pupil funds of $420 for elementary schools and $500 for high schools. Finally, schools will have to apply for funds for English-language learners from the Office of Language and Cultural Education, instead of receiving the money automatically; funds will still be distributed on a per-pupil basis.
CHARTER TURNAROUND STAFF ChicagoRise, the new nonprofit subsidiary developed by Chicago International Charter Schools to handle school turnarounds, has hired two new staff members. Simon Hess, principal of Gordon Tech, a Catholic high school, will serve as chief executive officer. Stacy Beardsley, director of North Kenwood Oakland Charter, will be chief academic officer. Both will start July 7.
GOING SOLAR A student-run nonprofit group at Northside College Prep is working on an alternative energy project: solar panels to cut down on the energy consumption of the school’s swimming pool. The group, Community for Alternative Sources of Energy, has funding from the Chicago Department of Environment, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation and CPS. An outside firm will do the engineering for the panels, but students have helped gather energy use and cost data to determine the number of panels needed. “Whichever contractor gets the bid, we want to see them use some students as employees,” says Mike Coy, the school’s science department chair and co-advisor for CASE. Installation may start this summer or fall.
CPS ON THE WEB The Office of Arts Education, a partnership between CPS and The Chicago Community Trust, is planning to launch a Web site—www.cpsarts.org—to help schools find programs and field trip opportunities that complement their existing offerings. It will feature separate pages for dance, visual arts, theater and literary arts, and music; offer links to online resources, outside organizations and book and music recommendations; and allow teachers to upload their own lesson plans to share with others. The district has already launched a new site for former CPS students, teachers and staff, www.cpsalumni.org. The site informs alumni about opportunities to get involved with their former schools and lets visitors post pictures and stories about their days in CPS.
AT CLARK STREET Jose Torres, Area 14 instructional officer, has been named the new superintendent of Elgin Unit District 46. His replacement has not yet been named.
SUPPORTING EARLY ED The First Five Years Fund, a project of the Ounce of Prevention Fund, has been formed to lobby federal legislators for greater investment in early childhood education. The fund is supported by five foundations: the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Irving B. Harris Foundation, the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the Children’s Initiative, a project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation. Cornelia Grumman, who won the Pulitzer Prize as an editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune, serves as executive director.
PRINCIPAL CONTRACTS The following principals have had their contracts extended for another four years: Aurelio Acevedo, Lozano; Adel Ali, Pilsen; Jose Barillas, Marshall Middle; Craig Benes, Talcott; Diedrus Brown, Gresham; Dana Butler, Ruiz; Tony Fisher, J.N. Thorp; Relanda Hobbs, L. Ward; Bessie Karvelas, Lincoln Park; Chris Kotis, Beaubien; Dorothea Lattyak, Melody; Elba Maisonet, Schubert; Martha Monrroy, Cooper; Sallie Pinkston, Johnson; Deborah Reese, Hitch; Marcey Reyes, Seward, and Maria Santiago Pfeifer, Boone.
URBAN DEBATE Scott Deatherage, formerly director of debate at Northwestern University, has been named executive director of the Chicago-based National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, http://urbandebate.org, which works with leagues in cities across the country. … Lane Tech students Andrew Hobaugh and Nick Locke defeated 33 urban debate teams from around the country to win first place in the Chase Urban Debate National Championship. Each won a $2,500 college scholarship.
TEACHING AWARDS Two CPS teachers are among five winners of the 2008 Kohl McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Award. Anna Franczyk teaches 3rd grade at Erie Charter School; Marisol Sierra teaches preschool at McKinley Park Elementary. The winners each receive $5,000 and a tuition-free graduate course at the Erikson Institute. The winners will also be honored at a June 3 luncheon. … Six CPS teachers at five schools are among 10 winners of the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. They are: Samina Khan, 6th-8th grade science, and Donnell White, 7th- and 8th-grade math, Clark Academic Prep; Monica Gil, 7th grade, Gray; Natalie Neris-Guereca, 5th grade, Pershing West; John Nieciak, 6th- and 8th-grade language arts, Sheridan Math & Science Academy; and Brooke Thompson, K-8 music, Pierce. The winners receive $3,000, a personal computer and a free sabbatical at Northwestern University.