New Parent Newsletter: Catalyst "In The Know"

I never really know what Catalyst is going to do next (and I'm not always sure why).  Their latest move is to start producing a four-page community newsletter that is going to come out fall and spring in hard copy.It's supposed to be parent oriented, and the first issue focuses on year-round schools.
 

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You can read more about it here.  Take a look and tell us what you think. 

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  • Light weight. Not really what a parent needs to plan a child's education in CPS. Barely helpful. What a waste of resources.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Debra Williams, our community editor, met with several parent and community groups to find out what they wanted us to write about. The so-called Track E, or year-round, schools was the top choice. If you want to make a pitch for our second edition, contact Debra: williams@catalyst-chicago.org

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    That's all great LL, but you have a rep out there for teacher bashing--your real negative attitude on chicago teacher union memebers and public school teachers in general, comes out a little too often for many teachers' tastes. Really unfair and biased. we shall see, we shall see.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Agreed 6:48. I read the newsletter and thougt it was from CPS! really. Attendance at Track E schools this year, 84% and CPS tried to hide this. And now there will be more track E while CPS loses lots more $.! Maybe Catalyst funders have ties to Daley. A readon for AR's move? It was promotional 4 sure.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    ironic and sad Catalyst was given carte blanch to distribute this CPS promotional newsletter to all the Track E school teachers and parents. Yet, Ronnie puts forth a memo punishing distribution of CTU caucus information.

  • I like that they are distributing this where there are more neighborhood schools for at risk children and their parents. It helps explain Track E in a fuller way and gives parents an opportunity to contribute their thoughts too. To me, it's a positive approach to informing and involving parents in school matters which affect them. I'll continue to read this newsletter even though I don't live in the targeted areas because it's good to know there are worthy journalism resources being offered there. Blogs are okay but they often run off the path into the dark woods of cynicism, which isn't very productive.

  • Catalyst needs to realize that there are a number of parents, English/Spanish speaking who cannot read, so they will not get a benefit from this newsletter. I work with thousands of CPS parents and they will have much difficulty reading this newsletter. (I read the whole thing before commenting here.) As for informative, why didn

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I don't know what you want any print/blog distributed product to do about people who can't read. The illiterate will always be at a disadvantage in our society, and, aside from adult literacy programs, I don't know what anyone can do about that.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Heard that the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (is that a magnet or an SE school?) is going to try to go to Track E.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    If the Ag school goes on to track E they are only doing it for the teachers NOT the students. Your attendance will go down no matter that student apply to your school!

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    D299 Readers: I appreciate your comments on Catalyst and where it is going. Briefly: Catalyst always has tried to serve the wide audience -- from policy maker to parent -- that needs to be involved in school improvement. Before, we did it with a near monthly news magazine. Now we do it with more focused products: Catalyst In Depth (a print quarterly) and Catalyst Notebook (online news and analysis) for those in the business, as it were; Catalyst In the Know for parents; soon-to-come Catalyst In Brief for policy makers and others who don't have time to read 16 pages on a topic; and a soon-to-come online forum that brings everybody together. Not soon enough, a revamped web site, but that will take a while. Let me know what you think. Linda Lenz, publisher. lenz@catalyst-chicago.org.

  • Spanish speaking parents talk with Spanish speaking parents who do read. The newsletter creates a dialogue and maybe that dialogue will provide more feedback for Catalyst. Even though CPS was not effectively sharing this amount of information in one place before, by offering it on Report Card Pick-up Days, they are going in the right direction. A segment of the city's parents are getting served where they were not before.

  • From Fred.
    Seems like Catalyst does not quite know what to do with itself lately. Is there a back story here? What they used to do, they did well. They were a real voice in school reform whether you agreed or disagreed with them. Now they have sporadic distribution, inconsistency in their delivery and a lack of focus as to what their mission is. Your blog was a great addition and a logical next step and they let that go. Now you click on to their web site and you get stuff that was written months ago. Comings and Goings was always informative, now with all the changes, they should be updating it regularly.
    These changes are very disappointing and they are turning their back on the valuable service they used to provide. Many of us waited every month for the next issue.
    They used to hold the system accountable.

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