SCHOOL TAKEOVER, CLOSING CPS officials are proposing that the Academy for Urban School Leadership take over Harvard Elementary in Greater Grand Crossing this fall, under a restructuring plan similar to that used this year at Sherman Elementary. Students will remain at Harvard and the Academy for Urban School Leadership will hire a new principal and teachers. Harvard is in the district’s Area 14, the lowest-achieving area in the city, and has some 550 students; 99 percent are African-American and 95 percent are low-income. … CPS is also planning to close LeMoyne Elementary, which is now housed inside Inter-American Magnet School in Lake View. The school has been phasing out since 2005. The 63 remaining students will attend either Greeley Elementary or Nettelhorst Elementary.

MORE AMPS SCHOOLS Eighteen more elementary schools will join the district’s Autonomous Management and Performance Schools program, better known as AMPS. These schools qualified for the program under a new point-based system that takes into consideration overall test scores, gains and other performance factors, but does not rely on recommendations from area instructional officers. … Another five or so elementary schools will be selected for limited autonomy. For the first time this year, any school can apply to AMPS, regardless of academic standing. District officials will judge each school’s plan for using autonomy to improve instruction. Decisions will be made by mid-April. … This year, 90 schools were designated AMPS schools, however some may lose that status for poor performance. Notices were sent out March 30; schools will have until July 1 to show improvement.

MOVING IN/ON Robert Stonehill, a former veteran U.S. Department of Education official, has been appointed chief program officer for Learning Point Associates, a national nonprofit educational research and policy organization. He will oversee work on afterschool programs. … Andrew Wade, former early learning advocacy campaign manager at the Ounce of Prevention Fund, is now handling education advocacy relations for Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

AT CLARK STREET Elizabeth Swanson, former director of afterschool and community school programs, is now director of the Office of Management and Budget. She replaces Tyra Newell, now with New Leaders for New Schools in New Orleans.

GOLDEN APPLE WINNERS Three CPS teachers received the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching: Danna Dotson, a math teacher at Lindblom Math and Science Academy; Sam Dyson, who teaches physics and a Zulu language seminar at Walter Payton College Prep; and Melinda Wilson, dance teacher at Curie Metropolitan High School. The three won a tuition-free sabbatical this fall at Northwestern University, a laptop computer, $3,000, and membership in the Golden Apple Academy, a group of teachers who collaborate on developing education programs and public policy recommendations. For the first time, the Golden Apple Foundation also named 10 Teachers of Distinction, two in CPS high schools: John Belcaster, a history teacher at Northside College Prep; and Zakieh Mohammed, an English teacher at Clemente.

BILINGUAL CONFERENCE The Illinois State Board of Education is holding its second annual statewide Summit for Bilingual Parents on April 14 in Oak Brook. Workshop topics include the rights of immigrant students, school partnerships with community organizations and bilingual special education. For more information, click here.

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTS The following interim principals have been awarded new principal contracts: Sandra Banger, Key; Brenda DeMar-Williams, Earhart; Antoinette McClellan-Brown, Vanderpoel Magnet; LaTanya McDade, Keller; Dorothy Thompson, Parkside.

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