Brizard Dumps AMPs

AM news roundup:  So (A)AMPs is dunzo, and Melissa Megliola-Zaikos is headed to be the chief of the Pershing West network (er, collaborative).  Is that a good thing, for the schools and for the system as a whole, or has Brizard endangered one of the few nominally strong ideas and school systems from the Ducan / Huberman years? Plus other news:

High-performing schools no longer in single category Tribune:  The group, once called Autonomously Managed Performance Schools (AMPS), will now be divvied up based on the community where the schools are located as part of CPS's larger restructuring effort to keep elementary and high schools.

13-Year-Old Boy Shot by Police Charged With Assaulting Officer Fox: Chicago Public Schools teachers who taught the boy and his siblings arrived in shock at the hospital emergency room entrance Tuesday. “I know the family very well,” said one teacher who asked not to be named because she was not authorized to speak to.

Residents full of ideas for budget help, from legal pot to private CTA Sun Times:  Legalize and tax marijuana. Impose a city income tax and garbage collection fee. Hold a Chicago Grand Prix. Sell naming rights to public high schools. Attach cameras to stop signs to catch motorists rolling through...

Illinois schools flock to program that gives students access to produce WBEZ:  State officials say 215 Illinois schools will share $4.7 million from the federal Fasdfresh Fruit and Vegetable Program this school year.


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  • here's the letter sent out yesterday afternoon from CPS:

    Dear Colleagues,

    As we announced last week, to better reflect the new CPS vision, we are redesigning the Areas into a more cohesive, neighborhood- and community-based set of Networks. Our ultimate goal is to provide our students with access to a world-class education, ensuring each graduates college and career ready. To do so, we must increase school performance throughout the District, making high-performing schools less of an exception and more of the rule.

    In order to create a system in each Network through which high performing schools can provide leadership and share best practices among others in their own community, we are moving to integrate all Autonomously Managed Performance Schools (AMPS), along with Military, Special Education and Turnaround schools, into each of the 19 new Networks.

    We believe this approach will create a more cohesive and integrated structure that can benefit all schools and provide for the greatest level of collaboration in each Network. While principals of all schools will report directly to their network Chief of Schools, high performing principals will be given the level of autonomy and flexibility each needs.

    We have a strong commitment to growing principal autonomy throughout the District, particularly among high performing schools that are utilizing effective practices and improving student achievement. Driving innovation at the local level and providing principals with flexibility to develop solutions that best fit the unique needs of their schools is a critical component of this new Network structure.

    We plan to create advisory committees that will include our highest performing principals to seek feedback on our overall strategy and how we can best support them. We will also ask high performing schools to become leaders in their networks, and we will develop a systematic way to share their practices.

    I am confident that if we all work together, we can continue to make great progress in supporting the success of our students in every community, ensuring they are all prepared to graduate college and career ready.


    Jean-Claude Brizard
    Chicago Public Schools | CEO

  • It appears that the new administration believes that a low performing school in the same network as a higher performing magnet or selective school can learn even if that lower performing school is composed of much poorer children with families less able to provide necessary supports. It seems to me that idea is absurd.
    Based on the network map its looks to me that W. Payton and Wells H.S. may be in the same network. Wells is about 97% low income and 97% minority, Payton looks nothing like that.

    Moreover, the Brizard administration seems to believe that we are all in this together schools on the top of the heap and want to spend time and energy helping those on the bottom. I can see zero evidence of that, moreover parents of the children attending schools at the top of the heap are financially supporting those schools with supplemental funds. The parents at these high performing schools did not collect money for low performing schools nor are they interested in whether or not teachers help less endowed schools become better.

    Can you imagine Lincoln elementary school sharing its glass enclosed Environmental Center, paid for by the parent association, with a 100% Hispanic elementary school at the west end of its new network? CPS high performing schools would be better off networking with schools in Highland Park and Hinsdale than poor low performing schools in Chicago. Those suburban schools actually have more in common with CPS higher achiving north side schools.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    AMPS had 78 elementary schools and 18 high schools. Most of the elementary schools (such as mine) were just normal neighborhood schools - no extras, little parental support, no fancy buildings, etc. My southwest side school has in excess of 90% low income and 90% minority (Hispanic) and we certainly don't have anything in common with Highland Park or Hinsdale. Being part of AMPS allowed us to make our own decisions instead of having to answer to a crazy CAO as other schools in our neighborhood did. I will miss that autonomy...

  • What might be the impact of folding Special Education schools into these regional units? Don't students have to access them from all parts of the city? Wouldn't centralized management be better. I have no idea. Any ideas?

  • Maglioa's office has been a waste of time and money. AMP scores went down with privilaged kids alrady. Litttle Village HS alone should never have been let in. She cannot supervise right? Does she even have a type 75? She lucked out.

  • Someone share with brizard + denoso that...
    During your transition- there are coaches at the ‘old’ areas who easily cost CPS over $1K per year and are right now sitting doing NOTHING! Data coaches, reading coaches, career coaches, curriculum coaches, math coaches, bilingual coaches, attendance coaches, management support coaches, ETC. ALL PAID/ ALL doing NOTHING! Why are they not in the biggest schools of Track E, helping them to get ready for 8/8 instead of sitting around and paid for doing it?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Coaches have always been a waste of air. You are so right - they do nothing. Two of the lamest teachers in my high school are coaches and so now they do even less than they did in the classroom. They did not have brains or talent, just friends in high places. What a waste of money.

  • Well I believe Melissa made it look too easy and made the other guys look bad. If CPS wanted to save money as they claim they could have had 1 AMPs and three less networks that means chiefs, coaches, staff etc. The extra cabinet members who we will never see could go as well.
    AMPS worked tremendously well. Growth was demonstrated, support provided where needed and for what it was needed in rather than the top down mandates, smoke and mirrors presentations, wasted time meetings, and PD from the last century the areas had to offer. Power and control and you will because I say whether it makes sense or not vs. what do you need and how can we get it to you. I had a very successful AMPS school and now will go back to the area call it what you will. I already have some assignments not any different from activities I did in the late 80"s and have talked about things I have not concerned myself with in a decade. I heard from coaches in areas who know less than my staff did when we started the same initiatives in AMPs. What if the goal is mediocrity or worse and for CPS to fail and charters to thrive? If so AMPS would need to be eliminated you cannot have success and innovation when you are trying to take a system down. Once again Horace Mann is turning in his grave as the common school takes another hit from the corporate profiteers and their hostile take over. Mr. Brizard said there would be autonomy but so far no one has explained to the new Chiefs what that means. We don't even know what assessments we will be using or if we will be forced to assess between assessing. It is ridiculous to rearrange this way a few days before so many start school and even a month before the rest of us. Good leaders take their time to see where they are before upsetting the apple cart and most of our leaders came from other states recently and far too many from charter schools. AMPS recently said they wanted to produce and support the best schools in the country. Someone must have heard and decided to take them out. And then again it is bigger than education. It might do people some good to look at Counts and ask again Dare the Schools? I doubt anyone will. Most likely they will contemplating their navels and acting like it does not matter as long as they can make it to retirement.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    As a teacher in an AMPS school I am truly scared about the crap that they are going to make us do now. All of our success was IN SPITE of CPS, never because of it. Now we are going to have to fight them on everything so that we can continue to use quality research based instructional practices with teacher written curriculum. I swear to god if we start testing every other week I'm going to get myself one of those cushy coach jobs. Then I can go totally brain dead and still earn a paycheck. Really live the dream...

  • I am also at an AMPS school. We are a regular neighborhood school
    with a 60% poverty rate. We have a low transiency rate and very supportive parents so it is not too hard to have "good" scores.

    We were estatic when the AMPS area was established because we were exposed to the AMPS people who were so professional compared to the AREA 11 people. Ms Zaikos, Mr Simon and Mr Ligue came to our school and sat down with the staff and actually seemed to care what teachers thought! As a veteran teacher I am not often impressed with AREA or Central Office personnel but I was impressed with the AMPS people and I think the reason is that even tough they were young they were extremely bright. Also, they were confident enough to ask teachers for imput. Teachers are very rarely asked for imput. We have a lot of mediocre administrators in CPS
    ( not very bright nor confident) who dictate rather than ask teachers for
    any imput.

    The Midway Network is rife with poor administrators. Some of these schools with these new principals have lost large amounts of teachers. Their administrative style, perhaps honed by the previous Area 11 personnel, is anti-teacher. This never works. They need to be retrained or their schools will continue to backslide.

    Yes, AMPS will be missed.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Melissa did a great job with AMPs which should be a model for all the Areas. I am actually supportive of this as I believe AMPs schools have best practices to share with other schools. And I have even seen AMPs staff learn a thing or two from other schools, including Payton and Northside. It all depends on the quality of the leadership. Melissa was a great leader. It was not the Area structure that was often broken, it was the quality of the leaders.

  • agreed ...the quality of the leaders is crucial and we, in AREA 11, had very poor leadership but the legacy of non-leadership lives on in certain schools in which LSCs were influenced by the previous CAO-watch the M schools....they are imploding...Mr Brizard needs to send in subs into the Midway cluster schools to observe the inept leadership....

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Does anyone know what is going on at MORRILL?

    It's under new principal & I just heard entire team (nurse, social worker, psychologist, & speech path.) were told not to come back. Also, the new assistant principal hasn't been seen in over a week.

  • Every year, around the time school starts, there is a shift of which schools are in which area (now network). I have seen no evidence that it makes any difference.

    I don't think that the character of AMPS schools will change much, just as I don't think that the military schools will become less military because they don't have their own administrative group anymore.

  • Listen my children and you shall hear a tale of Peter Pan gone awry. Captain Hook who sailed back to Austin installed her two minions Michael and Wendy at Morrill and Marquette where havoc has ensued. If principal bonus pay was based upon attrition rates they would be as wealthy as buccaneers. Twenty teachers and the AP have left Marquette during the 2010-2011 school year including four teachers who retired a year early just to escape from Insanity Island.

    Now we have Morrill whose highly respected principal rousted Captain Hook but unfortunately Ms Costello had to retire from marvelous Morrill. School just started and allegedly; the entire special education team has been banished, the assistant principal resigned and a teacher and security guard were attacked by students who were lobbing fluid filled condoms. Teachers are walking the plank, parents are adrift and students are acting like the Lost Boys. This writer is sending out an SOS to CPS.

  • Ms. Costello, her staff, & her assistant principals ran a tight ship and kept discipline under control. Unfortunately for Morrill students, parents, & staff, they are all gone.

    I'm hearing that there are daily brawls among students & no disciplinary measures are being imposed. Allegedly, the new principal is commending the school for having had no detentions or suspensions. I'd also heard of the condom incident & that the teacher involved (who apparently was not supported by the new administration) hasn't been back to work since.

    Does anyone know if this is the new CPS policy? I know they have made cuts to security & Chicago police officers(at high schools) Is this new principal is being told he'd better keep his discipline numbers "down" so that CPS can claim security not needed & schools are safe? Otherwise, It's hard to believe that even a new principal could be that inept.

  • Its a shame that some people are not giving the new guy at Morrill a chance. Ms. Costello did run a great ship, but I've been impressed with Principal Beyer's ability to adjust to the facts and correct mistakes. Every new administration is messy and people don't like change. However, we have to be fair in our assessments or we are just like Ortega. I don't understand the negative assessment for a guy who's been on the job for 6 weeks (and only 2 weeks of school). :-(

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