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Questions About Performance Of Huberman Mentoring Plan

Yesterday CPS announced a plan to recruit and select local mentors for its safe schools initiative, including a blue ribbon review panel, without directly acknowledging the move as a response to public pressure to fund local groups as well as national ones.

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CPS Wants Local Community, Faith Groups in on Mentoring WBEZ

Mentors
will be expected to improve kids' academics and behavior and try to
engage their parents as well. The district will also be turning to the
community for help in creating safe passages to and from high schools
and a "culture of calm" within schools.

Chicago to offer $10 million mentoring program Tribune

Bell, a professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago
and an expert on issues of youth violence, said Huberman convinced him
that the panel is a genuine effort to select the best organizations,
and not a political maneuver to assuage local discontent.

Area school districts work to lower truant rates Plainfield Sun

A
Herald-News look at attendance rates--as reported in the 2009 state
school report cards--for 41 districts across Will and Grundy counties
found.

The press release is attached. Does this sound like a useful and legitimate process?  Why has there been so much delay for something that the Board could have done months ago?  Who's running this program, anyway?  And when will the mentoring actually begin? 
Press release

CHICAGO PUBLIC
SCHOOLS ANNOUNCE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL FOR STUDENT MENTORSHIP AND ADVOCACY
SERVICES

Blue Ribbon Panel to
Review, Make Recommendations on Proposals from Community Based Organizations

 

Chicago
Public Schools officials today issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Student
Mentorship and Advocacy Services. The RFP is a major step forward in CPS'
comprehensive anti-violence initiative and can be downloaded at
www.cps.edu.

 

In response
to violence that has impacted the safety and security, academic performance and
behavior of CPS students, the District has undertaken an ambitious initiative
with two ultimate goals:  reduce the likelihood that at-risk CPS students
will engage in, or become victims of, violence; and create a safe, secure and supportive
environment for CPS students to improve attendance and excel academically.

 

This RFP
builds on the first component of CPS' violence initiative, engaging Youth
Advocate Partners, Inc. (YAP) to provide services to improve student academic
performance, student attendance, and to limit the factors that contribute to a
student's increased risk of becoming a victim or offender of violence.

 

The initial
RFP will focus on mentorship for up to 3,000 students who are deemed to be
at-risk. 

Within the
coming weeks, CPS will release two additional requests for competitive bids for
Safe Passage and creating a Culture of Calm in our schools, the other key
components of the District's anti-violence plan. 

 

Blue Ribbon
Panel members, who are volunteering their time and expertise, will assist in
reviewing RFP responses to ensure the most qualified organizations are selected
to provide these services.

 

CPS officials
are committed to ensuring that community input is part of the initiative and
have invited leaders with civic, law enforcement, education, community and
faith backgrounds to be part of the RFP process. "Civic and community
involvement is key to the success of our larger initiative," said CPS
Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman.  "A panel of local and civic
leaders will provide expertise and knowledge and help guide this process fairly
and with an open and objective goal in mind," he added.

 

The Board has
invited a number of local leaders to serve on the Blue Ribbon Panel. Panel
members posses civic, law enforcement, education, community and faith
backgrounds and will guide the process providing CPS with a wide range of
expertise and knowledge, integral to assisting us in the evaluation
process," said CPS Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman. 
"More importantly, we will have valuable input from parents whose
families have been victimized by violence and who know firsthand what resources
are needed to help our students and families," he said.

 

n  Miguel Del Valle, Chicago City Clerk and the first Latino
to serve as assistant majority leader in the Illinois Senate. Clerk Del Valle
received a B.A. and M.A. in education and guidance from Northeastern Illinois
University.

n  Terry Hillard, former Chicago Police
Superintendent.

n  Rev. Ruben Cruz, pastor of the Spanish Christian
Church. The Spanish Christian Church
is the delegate agency to the Karen Cruz Children's
Center.  The center offers after-school, and school vacation day care
programs for children ages six through twelve. The primary goal of the program
is to promote the full intellectual, social and emotional development of the
children.

n  Lula Ford, Commissioner for the Illinois
Commerce Commission; a career educator who was formerly an assistant
superintendent and chief instruction officer with Chicago Public Schools.

n  Rita Fry, attorney and former chief of the
Cook County Public Defender's office.

n  Annette Holt, Chicago firefighter and president of
the African-American Firefighters Association. After losing her son to gun
violence, Ms. Holt has been on the forefront of the campaign against violence
as the President of the Purpose over Pain Organization and through her work
with various other initiatives to combat youth violence

n  Felipa Mena, Wells High School Local School
Council parent representative who lost her son to gun violence.

n  Rev. John Buchanan, pastor of the Fourth Presbyterian
Church of Chicago.  Fourth Presbyterian Church operates Chicago Lights, a
nonprofit community outreach organization that fosters literacy and education,
helps to alleviate hunger and homelessness, and advances health and wellness
through various programs.

n  Mike Ivers, president of GoodCity, which focuses
on building skills and capacity of community leaders and organizations.

n  Dr. Carl Bell, President and CEO of the Community
Mental Health Council, psychiatrist and Clinical
Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health at the University of Illinois School
of Medicine. Dr. Bell is an expert/lecturer on violence prevention and
traumatic stress caused by violence.

n  James Montgomery, attorney, partner in the law firm of
Cochran, Cherry Givens, Smith and Montgomery. He is a former City of Chicago
Corporation Counsel (1983-1986).

n  Pastor Darrell Griffin, pastor of Oakdale Covenant Church. The Oakdale Covenant
Church established the Oakdale Community Development Corporation to impact the
needs of the Brainerd/Washington Heights community

 

"Members
of the blue-ribbon panel were selected based on their wide range of experience
and knowledge and willingness to volunteer.  They will play an important
role in ensuring that we successfully match the expertise of those applying
with the students most in need," Huberman said. "This first step of
engaging local leaders and stakeholders as part of this panel is critical to
our long-term success, and we are grateful that they have agreed to join us in
this mission."

 

Chicago
Public Schools serves approximately 408,000 students in more than 670 schools.
It is the third-largest school district in the nation.

 

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  • The CPS needs to desperately release a clear budget for its Safety and Security plan to reduce violence. CPS also needs to appoint a seperate auditor immediately in relation to the millions of dollars that are going into this program. The audits of this program need to be publicly avaiable.

    As best as I can now understand it including the information released yesterday here is how the yearly budget for this program appears to break down:

    $18 million to fund 38 school based safety plans (this information comes from Catalyst Jan 19, 2010)
    $5 million to fund the Philadelphia-based Youth Advocate Programs mentoring project
    $5 million to fund new RFP for additional Chicago based mentoring programs
    $2 million to fund to get safely from home to school and back by providing community patrols.
    Total $30 million

    It is at this time completely unclear as to the extent principals of the 38 schools will control contracting and hiring related to their safety and security plans. It is completely unclear as of this time how much of the total $30 million in funds will be allowed to be used for administrative overhead, how much training of the mentors for the Chicago based mentoring program will cost or the minimum education being required of the mentors. It seems clear that CPS plans on reaching out to

  • A serious question: what would really happen if there were no CAOs--lots of money saved and what do they REALLY do that is so integral to their salary and individual school achievement?
    Principals have been doing all the work with their teachers;
    REO, CAO, AIO or not. A few CAOs are parttime retired workers AND when there were REOs, they had over 50 schools apiece. They do not audit, they have nothing to do wiht the business of the schoolor the money, nor the LSC, the student data comes off the teachers' computer, no part in teacher evaluation--why have them? Cut this and give the money for after school programs. Plus, there are hardly ANY afterschool programs, but that department is the same size? Isn't this obvious to people and the press or what?...

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