Senn Saves Everyone's Jobs

Senn Saves Everyone's Jobs

At least one school in CPS has found a way to keep everyone on staff despite budget cuts -- Senn HS.  How'd they do it?  Are there any other examples? Meantime, more closings, a nice NBC News segment on Project Exploration, and a Tribune editorial about how Illinois teacher preparation programs are getting better (but are still pretty weak).

CUTS

CPS Budget Cuts: Senn High School to Keep All Staff Jobs Despite Cuts Sun Times: The school is losing $470,000 in its upcoming budget, but all 80 staff positions have been kept.
Schools not closing feel CPS budget sting Sun Times: Faced with a need to reduce spending for next year, many Chicago Public School principals are turning first to the programs added last: those that were intended to enrich Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s longer school day. Arts, foreign-language classes and even recess are among the first programs being shed by principals.
CLOSINGS
Veteran Chicago teacher witnesses a school’s opening and closing WBEZ: On the day Woods Academy closed for good, Ms. Mayes stood on the playground clutching a bouquet of shiny balloons. The playground was full, and Mayes had probably taught most of them. That includes Cheryl Allison, who was in Mayes’ class in 1968. Allison’s grandson had Mayes for a teacher this year.
Critics Say Chicago Shouldn't Aid DePaul Arena With Schools Closing New York Times:  “School closings were a real horror for people,” said Karen Lewis, the president of the Chicago Teachers Union, who noted that most of them were on the South and West Sides. “And here is another project for the central business district."
Teachers, staff learning to say goodbye — for good — at King Elementary Sun Times: King is one of 48 schools CPS shuttering now; its children were dismissed Wednesday afternoon likely for the last time, with students from 27 other schools. The last 20 close Monday. Save a last-minute reprieve from one of the lawsuits in which King is named, the elementary school tucked into a quiet pocket at 740 S. Campbell will not reopen in August.
TEACHING
Building a Love for Science Both In (and Out) of The Classroom NBC: A Chicago program called Project Exploration is helping low income kids discover practical applications for science, math and engineering.

Editorial: How education schools can turn out better teachers Tribune:  "Illinois is a model for the nation" in tightening ed school admission standards, NCTQ President Kate Walsh told the Tribune editorial board in a recent visit. In her next breath, however, Walsh said that overall results nationwide "are still terrible." Of 1,200 programs at 608 institutions, only four — none in Illinois — merited top ratings.

 

Comments

Leave a comment
  • Seven ways Chicago parents can help CPS kids - From the Dean of Parents http://ow.ly/mkqhT

  • Closings put community schools in peril | catalyst-chicago.org http://ow.ly/mkqrC

  • Cgicago Tonight: Becoming a Man featured

  • Had hope for this charter for at-risk kids. So sad. http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/2013/06/24/21429/charter-cites-budget-cuts-in-shut-down-decision

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Budget cuts or not, these students will still be educated. Real public schools will persevere, while charters fold without unsustainable foundation money.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The challenge will be for regular schools to provide the support and sped services these students need. Even if the services are listed in the IEP, they often are not delivered. Even though I'm a neighborhood school supporter, I understand the real need for therapeutic day and residential schools.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Smart charters don't use grants as part of their operating budgets. They have been living with reduced budgets, relative to CTU schools, for years.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Aren't most students "at risk"? Look at the graduation rate. Creating a charter that operate like another high drama level 3 high school serves no useful public purpose.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Creating charters that operate like magnet or parochial schools serves no useful public purpose either. Convert charters to magnet status and watch achievement soar with real, experienced educators instead of test prep temps.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    So why can't CTU teachers make "achievement soar" with the selective students they have now?

  • In reply to Donn:

    The best schools in the state are selective CTU schools, not selective non-union charters.

    What is worse is the "de-selection" that charters do with "difficult" children. My school has had dozens of Urban Preppers, Noble Streeters, Gary Comers, etc. (along with plenty of kids form York and Jefferson) enroll mid year after being pushed out of their respective charter school. I've never heard of a charter accepting a child mid year.

    I wish Noble Street had the ability (or at least the nobility to attempt) to deal with difficult children, but they do not.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Why do you think the high scoring north side SE schools are "the best schools in the state"? Is there a competent high school staff that wouldn't get similar results with those student? What the north side SE schools do is keep high growth students on the same steep growth curve they have upon arrival. None of the SE schools seem to do a particularly good job with students who don't arrive with good academic habits.

  • In reply to Donn:

    "Is there a competent high school staff that wouldn't get similar results with those student?"

    Yes, there are plenty of them. Excellent teaching takes skill no matter what your student population, and the skills it requires differ depending on that population. Switch the faculties of a high-performing SE school with a (relatively) high-performing neighborhood one and the achievement of both would suffer.

    It's a widely held misconception that "good students teach themselves". Sadly, many teachers believe this too.

  • In reply to Todd Pytel:

    But we're not talking about "good students" when we're talking about north side SE schools. We're talking about elite students. This group has parents who typically won't let their capable children slip off the fast track.
    It may require more skills to drive a Ferrari than a 96 Honda Civic. But if the contest is who can go the fastest, I'm choosing the Ferrari.
    On an education blog "the best school" shouldn't be about the teams with the "fastest cars". Every educator knows this, yet are still attracted to lists based on absolute test scores. I see no evidence that Northside is "the best school". I see their students on about the same trajectory in 11th grade as they were in eighth grade. I would call that an average school.
    The poor performance of the many SE students who are not "honors ready" should call into question the concept of a single type of best school. Neighborhood schools proponents have the idealized schools they want in current SE high schools. They also have clear evidence that these schools don't work well for >90% of CPS student population.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    A lot of the language in the Illinois Charter Code is open to interpretation but it's fairly clear that admission must be "nonexclusive" (105 ILCS 5/ School Code, Sec. 267A-8).
    I doubt a Charter would be granted to a selective enrollment or magnet type school proposal.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    You are missing the point. Charters may be non-exclusive in enrollment, but they are quick to push non-compliant students out to neighborhood schools who do no have the same ability. Couple this with the fact that the lengthy application process required by charters weeds out children with uninvolved parents and you have a de facto selection process.

    Charters are somewhat similar to magnet schools, but with lower quality instructors and higher reliance on pushing children out for minor infractions.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I doubt if anyone has valid data on where the "good" teachers are. My kids have experienced fantastic and miserably horrible teachers in their SEHS (one of the "top" 3, btw) - that's all I know. Regarding "pushing out" disruptive students - that is probably exactly what the parents who choose to send their kids to charters want - get rid of the bad kids. I think most parents who care, in CPS, would be just fine with a system where the "neighborhood" schools absorb all the kids who make learning difficult for the others.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    Most parents? Most parents in CPS are parents of good kids in neighborhood schools, not charters or SE schools. What about the parents who believe in neighborhood schools and are opposed to charters? Neighborhood schools shouldn't be de facto dumping grounds for students charters cannot handle.

    By the way, many of the infractions charter push outs are "guilty" of are not violent or criminal.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Parents who are against charter schools are predominantly middle income who have school choices. They are a very small minority of parents in the system who live in a couple of small slices of the city.

    See the post by the teacher who has direct experience with disruptive kids.
    Parents would prefer disruptive kids be removed from their kids classrooms/schools. Charters are able to do that. Since non- charter schools can't do this (easily) "neighborhood" schools will have a higher proportion of these kids and (ideally) the services these kids need can be concentrated there. When CPs gets to 25% "neighborhood" schools and 75% charters I think this is how it will play out.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Ironic-Chicago charter schools were founded to demonstrate what they could do with problem students. Instead, they are cannibals.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    Cps Parent

    In a city where what you know is trumped by who you know are you
    surprised that "Clout" can find its way into the classrooms of the selectively enrolled?

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    Are they "bad" kids? When did they start being bad? What age, likely?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Some kids start being bad even before they enter school. While you may not approve of the "good/bad" distinction, a "bad" kid is one who intimidates, bullies, and disrupts learning opportunities for good kids.

    You can give me some lame spiel about children with behavioral issues, but until you've tried to educate a classroom of 25 good kids only to have it sabotaged by 1-5 bad kids you don't have any grounds to speak. Hell, one time I had a class of 31 with 10 children with IEPS. 23 boys and between 6-8 different gang affiliations among them.

    I hear a lot of Pollyanna nonsense here and there, but any CPS educator who has ever dealt with situations like I have doesn't have time for politically correct labels. Bad kids are the minority who make teaching and learning EXTREMELY difficult for the majority. CPS doesn't provide adequate supports for these children or their teachers.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    at conception-think about it before getting all pc.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Lots of sped students at that charter. Way more than most all other charters.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I agree that there is a counseling our process at many charter schools along with some expulsions. But we should not generalize that the type of students pushed out and the rate of push outs are the same for all charter schools. A charter school like Namaste is actually more welcoming to students with ADHD than many traditional CPS schools are.

    Moreover, I have had cases of emotionally disturbed students forced out of Payton in a manner very similar to the approach used at Noble or Urban Prep. Actually highest number of students with disabilities I ever saw pushed out of a school was at Orr during one of their many turn around processes.

    Charter schools learned the lessons from supposedly successful magnet schools, selective schools, and the private schools on how to weed out kids to improve their school wide outcome numbers. In the world of urban education of poor children we all live in glass houses when it comes to pushing out students who threaten order and instruction.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I don't live in a glass house. My school enrolls dozens of push outs every year, and it seems nearly impossible for my school to "push out" disruptive students. Many of us in "failing" schools bear the brunt of charter push outs. As for SE or Magnet push outs, if they occur I have not seen any.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Well I and other advocates for students with disabilities have seen selective enrollment schools push out emotionally disturbed students, in fact there have been due process cases related to these issues. At Orr which was a general high school when it went through its turn around process I was brought in by the community based organization Blocks Together to help force CPS to get kids back into that school who were being shipped out to alternative schools.

    Do all traditional CPS general high schools push out kids, probably not. But then neither do all charter high schools and certainly not all charter elementary schools. Trying to characterize either all charter schools or all traditional neighborhood schools into machines for throwing out kids with many problems, some learning based, and some of a psychiatric nature is not fair. But this does happen in both educational sectors, the charter school law makes it somewhat easier for charter schools to push out kids, but it still happens regularly in traditional schools.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to district299reader:

    cps dose nothing to make parents get their children to school; by school code, CPS is to do something about truancy. What did bbb do about it? Created a committee and hired $$face people who do NOT visit homes or contact truant parents. Our network face person is a secretary and goffer for the network chief.

  • "Senn Saves Everyone's Jobs"... how about "Senn Retains All Staff"...

    You couch the conversation as merely "saving jobs", however these are jobs staffed by real flesh and blood people... people who choose to work with children everyday.

    Hats off to Senn for putting children first.

  • I meant to write "counseling out process" not "our."

Leave a comment