May Ren10 Newsletter

The May Ren10 newsletter is out -- see below.  Tell us if there's anything fascinating, objectionable, or othewise notable in there.  I can't bear to read it right now.  Need more coffee.

UPDATE:  Sorry about the glitch reading comments. 


Volume 3, Issue 5



Top Ten Reasons to Join a TAC (Transition Advisory

* With the release of the 2007 Request for
Proposals (RFP), the Office of New Schools encourages parents and community
members to become involved in the process of selecting new schools for
priority communities.

10. Learn more about the school selection

9. Explore the education options and
programs available to
Chicago students.

8. Meet your neighbors and community

7. Expose yourself to current educational
research and the qualities of effective schools.

6. Conduct school visits.

5. Receive training in community
organizing techniques.

4. Attend a weekend retreat with educational
experts from across the nation.

3. Meet CPS leaders (such as the CEO, Board President and School
Board Members).

2. Participate directly in your children’s future.

1. Engage
in True Academic Change!


National Charter Schools Week | April 30 – May 4, 2007


President George W. Bush has proclaimed the week of April 29 – May
5, 2007
National Charter Schools Week, in order to recognize the important
contributions of charter schools, to honor all those involved in charter
schools, and to recognize their efforts in helping their students meet high
expectations. Right now there are about
4,000 charter schools in 40 states and the
District of Columbia helping more than one million students
realize their full potential.


Both the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives
will also introduce resolutions celebrating National Charter Schools Week.


For more information, please visit the White House website:


and the National Alliance for Public Charter
Schools website:




RSF Educational Entrepreneurship Series | May 2007


Supported by a grant from The Boeing Company, The Renaissance
Schools Fund (RSF) is hosting New Ventures in Education: an Educational Entrepreneurship
. New Ventures is
a seminar series that exposes school operators to the latest innovations and
best practices in new school development.
New Ventures in Education offers 14
seminars, featuring over 20 local and national experts. The seminars are open to the entire
Chicago education community and are free of


Human Capital: Professional Development

Tuesday, May
8th (
4 p.m. – 7 p.m.)

TAMS Center (501 W. 35th Street)


seminar topics will include:

Infrastructure and Operations Management

Innovation and Remediation

Framework Workshop



Capital: Recruiting and Retaining Teachers

Capital: Teacher Evaluation and Incentives

Student Social and Emotional Needs



RSVP required for seminar admission. For updated
information and registration process, please visit




CPS Teacher Career Fair | May 19, 2007 | 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM


Charter, Contract and Performance School
principals and administrators are encouraged to participate in the upcoming CPS
Certified Teacher Career Fair on
May 19, 2007
and meet highly qualified, certified teacher candidates to fill vacancies for
the upcoming school year.   


As space is limited, reservations
will be processed on a first come, first served basisRegistration
for this event will close promptly at
midnight on Friday, May 4, 2007 or when the event is full.


We look forward to seeing you at our first Certified Teacher Career Fair
of the hiring season! Please call the CPS Human Resources Department at
773-553-1045 for additional information.




Charter Public Schools Day at the Capitol in Springfield | May 16, 2007


On Wednesday, May 16, hundreds of charter public school
advocates, parents, students, teachers, staff and board members will travel to
the Illinois State Capitol in
Springfield to make their voices
heard. The all-day May 16 Lobby Day
offers an opportunity for you to share success stories about charter schools and
advocate for more charter public schools so that more families will have a
charter option. The Illinois Network of
Charter Schools (INCS) will provide buses and lunch for the day and conduct a
half-day training session on Saturday, May 12,
for those who plan to participate in the day of action.


To register, reserve bus seats or get more information,
please contact Carlos Perez at 312-235-0798 (ext.15),; or Marvin Smith,
(ext. 26),







2007 Request for Proposals
(RFP) Released


The Office of New Schools is
excited to announce the launch of the fourth annual Request for Proposals (RFP)
for schools starting in 2008 or 2009.
This year’s RFP was released on April 11 during a public press conference
at Columbia Explorer’s Academy in
Brighton Park.


Copies of the RFP and the RFP
Appendix are available at the Office of New Schools and at CDs of the
Appendix are also available. Design
Teams may pick up copies at ONS weekdays from
9am to 5pm or request that copies be
sent. Please contact Rachel Ksenyak at
773-553-4197 or
with any questions or to request copies.


There are several upcoming key
dates to keep in mind. Mandatory Design
Frameworks are due June 9th, followed by Design Framework Interviews
in late June. The entire RFP process
concludes with CPS Board decisions on October 25. A detailed timeline with all key dates can be
found in the RFP.

This year, the RFP emphasizes two
specific district priorities:

Opening new schools in Priority Communities that do not currently benefit from
a new school; these communities include:

East Garfield Park South Shore

Greater Grand Crossing Washington Park

Near South Side West Elsdon

Pullman West Garfield Park

Riverdale West Lawn

Roseland West Pullman

South Chicago


Opening new high schools which focus on Career Prep



The Office of New Schools is
offering many new services for Design Teams.
May through August, subject-specific consultants will be available for
individualized services, and Design Teams are encouraged to schedule mock
interviews to prepare them for the CET interview process. The Renaissance Schools Fund is also
pioneering a new seminar series, New Ventures in Education,
to expose new school operators to best practices and assist in the proposal
development process. Please see
announcement above for details on these sessions.




TAC members needed for
Round IV of the Request For Proposals


What is a TAC? A
Transition Advisory Council is comprised of parents, community/faith-based representatives,
and elected officials who voluntarily serve as liaisons between
Chicago Public Schools and the community in which a
proposed new school will open.


This year TACs will be formed for the following CPS


Parker Elementary (6800 S. Stewart, Englewood)

Pershing West Elementary (3200 S. Calumet, Douglas)

Woodson South (4444 S. Evans, Grand Boulevard)


For a TAC application contact Brenda J. Bell at
773-553-1538 or visit

Cohort III Completes
the Second Annual Incubation Retreat


In April, schools leaders from Cohort III schools (charter, contract
and performance schools opening in Fall 07) gathered for a three-day
professional development conference in
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Leaders attended workshops
on data-driven decision making and interim assessments presented by Mark Murphy
and Allison Auda of New Leaders for New Schools.  Esme Raji Codell, a
former CPS elementary school teacher and literacy advocate, spoke, as did Greg
Darnieder, Director of Post Secondary Education for CPS, and Chris Barbic,
Director of the YES College Prep Charter Schools in
Houston, TX, who both presented on the
importance of integrating post secondary education at all levels. In addition,
the following
Cohort III leaders presented various
workshops to their colleagues: Evelyn Murdock and John Horan (North Lawndale
College Prep), Kimberly Hinton (
Marine Military Academy), Bill Gerstein (Austin Polytechnical Academy), Collette Unger-Teasley (Frazier International Magnet School), and Kate Hogan (TEAM Englewood Community Academy). The retreat was a great
success due in large part to the enthusiasm and spirit of the
Cohort III leaders!

Over 2500 Attend
National Charter Schools Conference


The 2007 National Charter Schools Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was an excellent
professional development and networking opportunity for the new school
community. Participants were able to
choose among over one hundred informative sessions covering subjects such as
facilities, public relations, assessment, special education, NCLB, and many
more. Keynote speakers included U.S.
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Newsweek Editor
Jon Meacham, and former NBA star and charter founder Kevin Johnson.


Representatives of the CPS Office of New Schools attended
this conference, as well as many of our partners from Chicago, including
representatives from the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Betty Shabazz
International Charter School, UNO Charter Network, Perspectives Charter School,
Civitas, Noble Street Charter Network, ACE Tech, Mosaica (Frazier Preparatory
Academy), and Galapagos Charter School.

Mark your calendars for 2008 – the conference will
be held in
New Orleans!

Academy of Communication and Technology (A.C.T.) Charter School


Please join the Office of New Schools in congratulating ACT
Charter School, which, following a rigorous application and evaluation process,
has been renewed by the Chicago Board of Education for a five-year term

for Urban School Leadership to Turn Around
Harvard Elementary School


This fall, Harvard Elementary School, CPS’ second turn-around school, will open
under a new management team.  The Academy For
Urban School Leadership (AUSL), a non-profit organization that currently
operates five CPS schools, will take over operations at Harvard, which the
Chicago Board of Education voted to reconstitute at the
25, 2007
board meeting.  In December 2006, AUSL was pre-approved to provide
turn-around services to schools that the Board votes to reconstitute.
AUSL was selected for several reasons:


o    AUSL has successfully
managed two turn-arounds, one at Dodge (which was closed in 2002 and reopened
in 2003) and one at Sherman (which was reconstituted in June 2006 and reopened
in September 2006); Dodge had the highest ISAT test scores gains in the state
in 2005-06.


o    AUSL has a strong teacher
pipeline, a commitment to working with the local community, a robust leadership
recruiting network and the ability to leverage outside resources to bring to
the school.


The teachers at the five CPS performance schools that AUSL currently
manages are all certified teachers employed by the Chicago Public
Schools.  The schools operate pursuant to the terms of the Board of
Education/Chicago Teachers Union Bargaining Agreement.  The turn-around
initiative is a way for CPS to establish a high-quality education program at a
school without displacing students.

Chicago Math and Science Academy Students win 1st and 2nd Place in Art Contest

 Congratulations to Francisco Correa and Luis Correa of
C.M.S.A. for winning 1st and 2nd place prizes ($250 and
$150, respectively) in the Safe Haven Art Contest, sponsored by the Save
Abandoned Babies Foundation of Illinois. Francisco and Luis were awarded their prizes
on April 3, Safe Haven Day, and their artwork was displayed along with their
biographies at the
Thompson Center in downtown Chicago. Please visit for
more information.

Lindblom Students
Recognized for Contributions to
Englewood Head Start Program

The Lindblom Math and
Science Academy, one of Chicago’s selective enrollment
high schools located in the
Englewood community, was featured in a Chicago Tribune article on April
15, 2007
. Lindblom offers 15
colloquia, weekly activities that explore topics typically not covered in the
classroom. The 22 students in the Head
Start colloquium, headed by English teacher Lisa Prodromo, spend three hours
every Wednesday morning at the Englewood Head Start center, passing on their
knowledge and skills to the Head Start children. This is a great opportunity for students to demonstrate
what they learn, apply their intellectual knowledge to real life situations,
and serve their community.

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