COLLEGE CENTERS CPS has opened College and Career Resource Centers in 64 high schools and plans to open centers in 16 more. The centers are run by counselors and staff from the Department of Postsecondary Education and Student Development, and are equipped with computers, printers and hard copies of college resource materials. Students can drop in during the school day or after school two or three days a week to search for information on colleges, careers, scholarships and financial aid; or to seek help from counselors.

MOVING ON Gregory White, vice president of strategy and operations for The Chicago Community Trust, has been named president and CEO of the network of LEARN charter schools. White has been a member of LEARN’s board of directors for about 10 years and has served as board chair. LEARN will open a second campus in July and has been approved to open a third. … Carol D. Lee, co-founder of the African-centered Betty Shabazz International Charter School and a professor of learning sciences at Northwestern University, is the new president-elect of the American Educational Research Association. She will take over in 2009. … Steve Ponisciak, senior research analyst with the Consortium on Chicago School Research, has joined the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

NEW EDUCATION BOOKS Charles Payne, a professor at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, has two books coming out. “Teach Freedom: Education for Liberation in the African-American Tradition,” an anthology he co-edited with Carol Sills Strickland, is due out in March. “So Much Reform, So Little Change: The Persistence of Failure in Urban Schools” explores how discussions of education policy are disconnected from the day-to-day problems of poverty and other ills that plague urban schools; it will be published in April.

UNION LEADERSHIP This summer, 2,000 delegates of the American Federation of Teachers (parent of the Chicago Teachers Union) will meet in Chicago to elect new officers. President Edward J. McElroy and Secretary-Treasurer Nat LaCour have announced plans to retire. Both have long tenures with the union and have served in their current positions since 2004. Delegates will elect a president, secretary-treasurer, executive vice president and 39 vice presidents. CTU President Marilyn Stewart is an AFT vice president.

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTS Interim principals Michele Lurz of Schiller, Darreyl Young-Gibson of Julian High, Florence Gonzales of Washington High and William Hook of Chicago High School for Agricultural Science have been awarded four-year contracts. Shelley Cordova of Armour, David Pino of McAuliffe and Shelton Flowers of William H. King have had their contracts renewed.

STATE HONOR ROLL This year, 85 low-income CPS schools made the annual Illinois Honor Roll of schools across the state that have made academic progress or have sustained high performance. The 85 schools were recognized as “Spotlight Schools,” where at least 60 percent of students met or exceeded state standards in reading and math on the 2007 ISAT. In all, 208 Chicago public schools were recognized for making substantial academic gains over the past three years, including three schools slated to close in the fall due to under-enrollment—Carver Middle, Irving Park Middle and Abbott Elementary—and one school that will be turned over to Academy of Urban School Leadership for “turnaround”—Howe Elementary, a feeder school to Orr High School. Howe’s test scores, however, rose from 21 percent in 2005 to 40 percent in 2007. The Illinois State Board of Education develops the honor roll each year in partnership with Northern Illinois University.

SUMMER OF SERVICE About 500 8th- and 9th-graders will get an opportunity for service-learning over the summer through a grant to CPS from the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that supports civic and volunteer programs. The group awarded $123,000 to CPS for a program for students from 20 schools. Students in GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), a college readiness program, will be targeted.

CERTIFICATION SESSIONS Pre-candidacy information sessions for teachers interested in obtaining National Board Certification are scheduled through the end of the school year. All meetings are from 4:30-7:30 p.m. over two days at Talcott Academy, 1840 W. Ohio St. Meetings are planned for April 23-24, May 7-8, May 21-22 and June 4-5 and 10-11. For more information, call (773) 534-0741, send an email to or visit Sessions are free through June. The fee goes up to $100 in the fall.

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