CENTRAL OFFICE REORGANIZATION Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins will no longer oversee high schools but will continue to oversee elementary schools. Donald Pittman, the chief officer of high school programs, will now report directly to CEO Arne Duncan. … Peter Cunningham, former communications director, is now director of external affairs. Reporting to him are the departments of communications, community relations, external resources, intergovernmental affairs and internal investigations.

SMALL SCHOOL STUDY Chicago’s new small high schools have posted lower dropout rates and better attendance, but test scores have yet to improve, according to a new study by the Consortium on Chicago School Research. At the16 small high schools that opened between 2002 and 2005, juniors reported a more challenging curriculum than students in other schools, and teachers reported more interest in innovative practices in the classroom. Prairie State exam scores for students in small schools were virtually identical to students in larger schools. However, small schools students were more disadvantaged than their counterparts in larger schools; students in small schools had lower incoming reading scores and were more likely to be overage for their grade.

CHARTERS ON HOLD Three Renaissance 2010 schools slated for opening this fall have not found suitable sites, the board ruled in July. Two proposed high schools, the Metropolitan Academy of Science and the Chicago International Charter School Campus, quietly withdrew their applications. But supporters of the elementary Global Alliance Preparatory Charter School rallied at the July board meeting to support their proposed site, a closed Catholic school in Englewood. CPS judged the building unsafe. But Michael Scott, the outgoing School Board president, agreed to give supporters another chance to make their case. The board will make a decision by mid-August.

FIRED SUPERINTENDENT BECOMES AIO Jose Torres, a former San Ysidro, Calif. district superintendent who was fired from his position after less than a year, is CPS’ new Area 14 instructional officer. This is the first time CPS has hired someone from outside the district for an AIO position. Torres replaced Jim Murray, who board officials say retired in June. However, no board resolution was created to acknowledge his retirement.

AT CLARK STREET Mayor Richard Daley named businessman Rufus Williams as the new president of the Chicago Board of Education. Williams is president and CEO of Olympus LLC, a business and financial management service. Williams succeeds Michael Scott. … Lisa Scruggs will step down as senior policy adviser to CEO Arne Duncan but will continue to serve CPS as outside counsel. She worked for Duncan “on loan” from the law firm Jenner & Block LLP, where she continues as a partner. … The following Area Instructional Officers have been appointed to replace retiring AIOs: Area 9, Stephen Flisk, former principal of Walsh, replacing Marietta Skyles Beverly; Area 15, Katherine Volk, former principal of Pershing Magnet, replacing Virginia Vaske; Area 24, Pamela Randall, former deputy high school instruction officer in the Office of High School Programs, replacing Richard Gazda; Area 6, James A. Cosme, former principal of Otis, replacing Emil DeJulio; Area 16, Karen V. Saffold, former principal of Vanderpoel Magnet, replacing Joyce Bristow.

MOVING IN/ON Elaine Schuster, former director of Golden Apple Foundation, will become an education fellow at Northwestern University’s Center for Nonprofit Management at the Kellogg School of Management, where she will develop educational programs for their new executive training program aimed at principals, charter directors and other school leaders. … Melissa Roderick, a professor at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and co-director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research, was honored with the Hermon Dunlap Smith Professorship.

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTS New four-year contracts have been awarded to Christine Arroyo, Lee; Joseph Atria, Sullivan; Carmelita Austinberry, Buckingham; Barton Dassinger, Sabin Magnet; Otis Dunson III, Brennemann; Mary Ellen Garcia- Humphreys, McClellan; Daniel Gomez, Hayt; Michael Keno, Murray; Jewel McClinton, Lawrence; Reginald Miller, Hearst; Shenethe Parks, Harte; Vincent Payne, Aldridge; Paula Powers, Wentworth; Veronica Thompson, Revere; Patricia Watson, Shoesmith; Anna Alvarado, Hawthorne; Robert C. Baughman, Jamieson; Adell Brock, Rosenwald/Carroll; Demetrius Bunch, L. Armstrong; Joyce P. Cooper, Hirsch Metro; Sharon Dale, Dixon; Tresa D. Dunbar, Nash; Catherine Gannon, Sutherland; Adelfio J. Garcia, Hedges; Janice Kepka, Edgebrook; David Kovach, Cameron; Phyllis McCune, Morton; Patricia McPhearson-David, Mann; Linda Martin, Copernicus; John Price, Audubon; Erick D. Pruitt, O’Toole; Armando Rodriguez, G. Washington Elementary; Luis Soria, Mitchell; Mary T. Weaver, Scammon.

The following principals have had their contracts renewed: Debra Crump, Douglass; Betty Johnson-Rojas, Haugan.

CAPITAL PLAN The Board of Education approved the 2007 capital plan for $365 million, including $26 million for school startups, $79.5 million for new facility construction and $45 million for technology services.

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