AT CLARK STREET John C. McGinnis, former chief information officer with the City of Detroit, Mich., has been named chief technology officer, where he will oversee infrastructure and operations. …Greg Darnieder, executive director of the Steans Family Foundation, will head the new Office of Post-Secondary Education and will oversee CPS efforts to prepare more students to attend and succeed in college. …Burt Murrell, an LSC activist who worked with Designs for Change, was named LSC liaison to School Board President Michael Scott earlier this year. His position became permanent in June.

BUDGET ADOPTED At its June meeting, the Chicago Board of Education approved a $4.8 billion budget for fiscal year 2004. The total includes $3.8 billion in operating funds, $687 million for capital projects and $290 million to pay debt. The budget anticipates revenue to the district will exceed expenses by $20.2 million.

PRINCIPALS ASSOCIATION Carmen M. Sanchez, principal at Irving Park Middle School, has been named acting president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, temporarily replacing Beverly Tunney, who died June 8 due to complications from colon cancer. During Tunney’s 10 years at the helm, membership grew to more than 2,000 administrators, and two principal training programs were created: Leadership Academy and Urban Network for Chicago (LAUNCH) and the Chicago Leadership Academies for Supporting Success (CLASS). An election will be held in August to determine Tunney’s replacement. In the running are Clarice Jackson-Berry, principal at Fiske; Emil DeJulio, area instructional officer for Area 12; and Linda Layne, retired principal of Brooks College Prep.

PARTNERSHIP SCHOOLS CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union have named the 10 poor performing schools that will have one year to turn around achievement or risk closure. The so-called partnership elementary schools are Attucks, Bass, Burke, Chalmers, Delano, Hartigan, Medill and Raymond. The high schools are Richards and Collins. Under an agreement finalized by CPS and CTU in April, the schools will receive additional instructional and monetary resources to improve academic standing.

STANDARDS UPDATE At its June meeting, the Board of Education approved a $124,134 contract with West Ed, one of the 10 federally created education think tanks, to make the Illinois Learning Standards more user-friendly for teachers. The agency will create grade-by-grade sequences to guide teachers in using the Illinois Learning Standards in literacy, mathematics and science. The new standards will replace the mandated curriculum developed under former CEO Paul Vallas’ administration, says Kate Nolan of the Erikson Institute, who is working with a CPS commission charged with improving curriculum-based assessment. West Ed is expected to produce its work in late August.

SCHOOL CHOICE EXPANSION CPS announces June 16 an expanded plan to allow all students enrolled in any failing school to transfer to better performing schools, as required by the No Child Left Behind act. However, students may only transfer to schools within certain geographic boundaries, and some requests may be denied due to overcrowding. Last year, students at only 50 of 179 failing schools were eligible.

MOVING IN/ON Gloria Castillo, a Chicago entrepreneur, has been named president of Chicago United, succeeding longtime president Carolyn Nordstrom, who resigned to pursue other interests. Castillo, who begins work on Sept. 2, is former president of Monarch Marketing Group, her family’s promotional products firm. She also has held positions at Redbook magazine and Crain’s Chicago Business. Castillo serves on the board of the Chicago Minority Business Development Council, Accion Chicago and the National Procurement Council of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. … Karin M. Norington-Reaves, former legal counsel and lobbyist for the Citizens Utility Board, was named executive director of Teach for America Chicago, replacing Marion Hodges, who becomes director of special projects with the national office of Teach for America in Philadelphia. …. Kim Zalent, former senior education organizer for South Bronx Churches in New York, joins Business & Professional People for the Public Interest as its new education director. Zalent, who helped create 19 new small public high schools in the Bronx, once worked with Chicago community-based groups, including Organization of the Northeast (ONE). She replaces Cindy Moelis, who left BPI to work for the Illinois U.S. Senate campaign of state Sen. Barack Obama (D-Chicago). …Brenda Bell, former training director of the Chicago School Leadership Cooperative, will manage project evaluation at Leadership for Quality Education, replacing Lisa McMahon, an aspiring teacher with the Golden Apple Teacher Education (GATE) program. … Another LQE director, C. Allison Jack, will leave her position in the charter school resource center to become an independent consultant to charter schools. A replacement will be named later this summer.

ALTHEIMER & GRAY Altheimer & Gray, the 88-year-old law firm managed by former School Board President Gery Chico, has announced plans to dissolve. The stalwart firm is said to have suffered from the depressed mergers and acquisitions market-corporate law was 75 percent of its business-and the departure from office of Gov. George Ryan, whose administration awarded the firm $5 million in state contracts. The firm also earned $1.6 million representing the former governor’s campaign fund, but was ordered last year by a federal judge to end the relationship due to conflicts of interest arising from Ryan staffers who were under federal investigation. Chico is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from Illinois.

TEACHER TURNOVER The Chicago Teachers Union released a study on CPS teacher turnover that found student behavior, lack of principal support and poor parental involvement were the top three reasons for leaving the district. Inadequate pay came in sixth. The survey reached 371 former CPS teachers who left between 1991 and 2002. The report is the first of a series of six studies commissioned by CTU to be conducted by Robert Bruno of the Institute for Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois at Chicago. …The Illinois Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) also released a study on teacher flight, examining selected schools in high-poverty communities. ACORN’s study found that the five-year turnover rate for first-year teachers at 64 elementary schools in North Lawndale, Englewood, West Englewood, Chicago Lawn and Little Village was 73.3 percent. By contrast, national rates fall into the 40 to 50 percent range.

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