Rollie Jones

Area 8 Instructional Officer

26 West Side elementary schools

Previous positions: executive assistant to the chief accountability officer, principal of Kellman Elementary.

Things schools need to do:

Improve teacher recruitment and retention. Teacher shortages are particularly acute in the high poverty area where her schools are based, she notes.

Create a culture of high expectations for students. “We cannot use excuses about the socio-economic surroundings.”

Continue to train teachers in the Chicago Reading Initiative so they know how to teach all components of the district’s framework: comprehension, vocabulary, fluency and writing.

Things principals need to do:

Get into classrooms more often to observe instruction. “[That’s] the only way you’re going to know what’s going on.”

Create leadership teams comprised of teachers, school support staff, and LSC members whose input can lead to better decisions.

Tap into community resources. For instance, some schools in her area found groups that provided health clinics, food pantries or tutoring at no cost to the school.

What’s next:

To retain more new teachers, Jones’ area is piloting a mentoring program developed in cooperation with the Steans Family Foundation and the University of Illinois at Chicago in eight schools. Another new program will train new teachers to effectively handle student discipline problems.

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