MOVING IN/ON Bindu Batchu, former campaign manager for A+ Illinois, an umbrella organization for advocates of education funding reform, is now the director of marketing and communications at the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, a non-profit focused on housing, health care and other needs of those living in poverty. … John Herner has been named interim director of special education for the Illinois State Board of Education. He replaces Christopher Koch, now the interim state superintendent of education. … Julie F. Simpson, former executive director of the New York City-based Cricket Island Foundation, which promotes youth leadership, has been named executive director of Urban Gateways’ Center for Arts Education.

RENAISSANCE SCHOOLS The School Board approved 10 high schools and seven elementary schools for the third round of Renaissance 2010. Schools that will open in 2007 are: Austin Polytechnical Academy (inside the old Austin High campus); North Lawndale College Prep (second campus) and Collins Academy, both at the old Collins High campus; Marine Military Math & Science Academy in Garfield Park; Noble Street Charter School-Maroon Campus and Noble Street Charter School-Brown Campus, Humboldt Park; Polaris Charter Academy in Humbolt Park at the Morse campus; Frazier International Baccalaureate Magnet School and Frazier Preparatory Academy in North Lawndale, both at the old Frazier campus; Chicago International Charter-Avondale Campus, Irving Park.

These schools will open in the fall of 2008: Henry Ford Powerhouse Charter High, North Lawndale; ASPIRA Rosa Parks Communication and Technology High, Austin; ASPIRA Trade Technology High, Brighton Park; UNO-Archer Heights (one high school and two elementary campuses); and UNO-Brighton Park. Two more proposed schools, Prologue Early College in Uptown and West Town Academy, will go before the board in December.

AT CLARK STREET Gail Ward, former principal at Walter Payton College Prep, is the new chief officer of principal preparation and development, replacing Nancy Laho, who retired.

TECHNOLOGY GRANT Eight Chicago public schools have been chosen to participate in the state’s Technology Immersion Pilot Project. The project will provide 800 laptop computers for students and professional development for teachers in Burley, Oscar Mayer, Hamline, Niños Heroes, Kinzie, Logandale, Waters and Marsh elementary schools.

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTS New contracts have been awarded to Chandra Byrd-Wright, Dunne; Antonia Hill, Pershing East; Pamela Strauther-Sanders, Fermi. … The following principals have had their contracts renewed: Patrick H. Baccellieri, South Loop; Brenda Browder, Kellman; James J. Burns, Henry; Linda Everhart, Dulles; Thomas Little, Black Magnet; Paula Rossino, Peirce; Juanita Saucedo, Kanoon; Dennis Sweeney, Logandale.

STATE PARENT COUNCIL Two Chicago parents will sit on a new council to advise the Illinois State Board of Education on increasing parental involvement in children’s education: Natividad Hernandez, a member of the ISBE Advisory Council on Bilingual Education and a founder of the Chicago Multilingual Parent Council; and Doris Odem, coordinator of the Urban Leadership Center, University of Illinois.

NEW SURVEYS A recent survey by the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health asked pregnant and parenting youth about their education and found that 89 percent of respondents said it was “really important” to finish high school; 62 percent said they envisioned enrolling in college. For more information, visit … Parents United for Responsible Education surveyed 4,300 parents in 92 schools on parent involvement. Parents reported feeling most satisfied at schools that supported learning activities at home, provided opportunities to volunteer and gave them input on school decision making. Find the full report online at

GOTTA DANCE! The Having a Ball program, which teaches ballroom dancing to 5th-graders who then compete in a citywide contest, will double in size from 18 to 30 schools this school year. The program was modeled on a similar program in New York City that inspired the documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom.”

AWARD WINNERS Jones College Prep is one of 283 schools nationwide to win the U.S. Department of Education’s 2006 Blue Ribbon Award for high student achievement or dramatic achievement gains. … Morgan Park High is one of 50 schools nationwide chosen by the Got Milk? Campaign as a winner of the Healthiest Student Bodies contest. The $1,000 grant is given to schools for their efforts to fight childhood obesity. Recent graduate Brittney McKinney nominated her alma mater because of its healthy lunch program and activities that encourage physical fitness.

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