Columbus Day Is Dumb (For Working Parents)

Columbus Day Is Dumb (For Working Parents)

Canceling school for Columbus Day is the dumbest idea ever, according to Vox - click the link to understand why (it mostly has to do with working parents needing to find coverage) -- but I'm still taking the day off. That doesn't mean you can't comment, or respond, or Tweet at me (@district299) or say something on the D299 Facebook page. What do you think happens next with the Karen Lewis mayoral campaign? What's going great or horribly at your school this year?  Any important events or deadlines this week?


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  • Good news to report at Lane Tech College Prep. The Lazy Lane 11 PE teachers are no more. Instead, it's now the Lazy 3 Lane PE teachers. (The only Lane PE teachers Sue Onken, Sam Polki , and Carla Serantoni teach PE at Lane and don't coach there, while drawing $88K+ teaching salaries. FYI: Serantoni is in line to make $95K for the 2014-15 school year)

    For those of you wondering what this is all about, I'll give you a brief explanation:

    Lane PE teachers who were hired to be both coaches AND PE teachers were somehow allowed to be just PE teachers at one point (usually after they got tenure). Anywho, up until this year, only 2 out of Lane's 13 PE teachers were coaching a sport at Lane and all of them were pulling in $85+ teaching salaries at Lane with one PE teacher raking in $96K while only being in his late 40's. The others, dubbed the Lazy 11, either coached at other schools, taught driver education after school, or didn't coach at all.

    However, Lane principal Dr. Christopher Dignam now taunts the revamp of his PE Department with 9/12 Lane PE teachers now coaching AND teaching at Lane.

    Here's an excerpt from his Principal Message for October, 2014:

    "Department Spotlight: Physical Education

    Lane Tech has developed a new mission a vision for the Physical Education of our students. The focus of this concepts-based model is on students’ knowledge and understanding of physical activity and physical fitness. Lane Tech College Prep is pioneering a new concept this year which is directed at developing lifetime physical activity habits and educated choices about personal health. This summer Lane hired five new PE teachers who collaborated and developed the new curriculum with our current teachers with particular emphasis on cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, body composition, and flexibility. Units are designed specifically to help increase student knowledge of why they perform the exercises as teachers collect data to improve overall students personal goals and results. Our goal for the year is for students to develop the skills necessary to measure their own fitness and physical activity during regular participation in physical activities Lane has to offer in addition to athletics. In addition to PE I and PE II courses, we added two new electives this year, which are weight lifting and dance.

    Lane Tech has 12 Physical Education teachers; Matt Bobek, Justine Cronin, Ann Davis, Chantelle Fregoso, Brian Hofman, Francisco Marchan, Jane Milsap, Gregg Mitchell, Sioux Onken, Sam Polki, Carla Serantoni, and Frank Zepf.

    Our Physical Education teachers support Athletics by coaching the following teams:
    •Matt Bobek- Girls Volleyball
    •Justine Cronin- Girls Tennis, Wrestling, and Girls track
    •Ann Davis – LTAC Boys Volleyball. Ms. Davis also provides High Intensity Interval Training for the staff
    •Chantelle Fregoso – Vying for an assistant coaching spot with track, cross country, or volleyball. Ms. Fregoso provides a Zumba class for the staff
    •Brian Hofman - Athletic Director and Girls Bowling
    •Francisco Marchan- Girls Track
    •Jane Milsap - LTAC Girls Volleyball and HS Girls Basketball
    •Gregg Mitchell - Track
    •Frank Zepf - LTAC Girls Basketball

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Do you know for a fact that Sue, Sam and Carla don't have an aging parent with alzheimer's they are caring for after school? Or a young child at home who they are unwilling to be away from for more than 10 hours a day? Or some other reason? The fact of the matter is, not every single teacher, P.E. or otherwise, can stay late to coach or run a club.
    I no longer work for CPS, but as I did when I was a CPS employee, I leave the house at 6:30 a.m., arrive at school at 7 a.m., prep or go to meetings until the kids arrive, then after school I prep/grade/or do other work or go to meetings until around 5 p.m., I pack up and get to my kids' after care program just in time before they close and go home. Its simply not possible for me to do a club or a sport with those hours and its not like I'm not doing at least another 10-15 hours of work at home each week.
    I don't know what your obsession is with Lane's P.E. department, but you sound jelly. Perhaps you should have chosen another field, like being a P.E. teacher, if their salary seems so lucrative to you.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Thanks for keeping a spotlight on the PE staff and coaching situation at Lane. They needed to make changes to fix it and it seems change is happening. Good leadership from Dr. Dignam.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Simeon has a great athletic tradition.In 1984 they were city champs in Basketball,Football, and Baseball.When they won this tr-feta only
    one coach,Al Scott was a gym teacher at the school, Bob Hambrick
    was a Simeon counselor and Leroy Franklin taught at a grammar school. nearby.
    I did my part by videoing all the football games.I even got one of your sainted lane Tech kids a college look because of his ability to punt.
    Not every PE teacher was a coach.later on the Board changed the rules for coaches and opened it up to deserving people, even those without college degrees.Your attack on the lane PE department is very strange indeed.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    What is your point in repeatedly mentioning the salaries of the PE teachers? You suggest that they make too much money. They would make the same amount if they weren't PE teachers, and didn't coach. Also, if they coached they would make even more money. I get that you think they should coach because they teach PE, but as another poster said, you may not know what their personal situations are. As for coaching at other schools, that is not unusual. I've worked with people who have done that because they couldn't get their foot in the door at their own school for the sport they wanted to coach. Another thing I wondered about was whether you lacked certain sports teams at Lane because no one would coach. If not, then again, I don't see the problem. People who didn't want to coach didn't coach and weren't interested in the extra money they would get to do, and others who were interested in coaching did it and got paid for it. Meanwhile every kid who wanted to be in any given sport had the chance to do so. I don't think this is a big deal.

  • fb_avatar

    Charter schools in Chicago apparently do a pretty poor job according to a study by University of Minnesota researchers.

  • Lewis isn't running for mayor, Jay Travis announced a few hours ago -- not much of a surprise, really, given KJL's apparent illness.

  • First and foremost, CPS high school PE teachers are hired to be just PE teachers. they're hired because they can coach a sport or two and contribute to the school and be 'all in'. Don't feed us anyone any liberal bullshit about them being just like regular teachers.

    @rbusch: Maybe, you wore blinders on when you were at Simeon, but, grade changes were common there and so was playing athletes who didn't go to class. Does the name Derrick Rose ring a bell? Hambric and Scott were always intimidating teachers to give better grades to their players and if they didn't, they had administrators change the grades for them. Don't bullshit us. We're not stupid as teachers talk when they retire. Maybe, you were part of the grade scams at Simeon are in denial, huh?

    In the case of the Lane PE teachers, none of them or their relatives, have or had serious illnesses which would have forced them to not coach. And, using time away from their kids to not coach is a crutch. They knew what they were getting into when they were hired as PE teachers.

    Why is the Lane PE teacher situation important to me and others? It's because there's plenty of PE teachers who would be 'all in' and coach as well as teach PE to make Lane a better school. And, this is happening at other schools as well..

    These lazy ass and clouted PE teachers, who're aren't coaching are using the system to gain $90K salaries along with generous pensions and benefits and not being part of the sports program. Onken, Serantoni, and Polki were all political hires at Lane. They all were either hired by Principals Schlicting, Foley, or Lobosco and none of them have EVER cared enough about Lane to coach any sports there. Sure, they're all nice people, but, who wouldn't be to make that kind of dough and be able to race the students out the door after the last bell?

    And, here's the kicker, two of them receive residency waivers and are living in the suburbs. This at a time when the CTU says nearly 7000 teachers were laid off in the last three years. Where's the need for them to be able to live in Suburbia?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    PE is so important it was almost eliminated a couple of years ago.
    How can you pretend to know anything about what happened at Simeon.was it in the papers? I am sure Mr Rose is worrying about
    it.After all a career academy is suppose to prepare someone for a job.Playing in the NBA seems to fit the bill. Your personal attacks are duly noted.But to attack two of the most successful coaches in the history of Chicago, both of whom are dead,is pretty low. take your
    meds, or have mama give you some warm milk and go to bed.

  • I mean "aren't hired to be just PE teachers....."

  • In reply to district299reader:

    A good friend of mine was a 1964 Illinois State champ.He attended
    and graduated from a big 10 university, which he attended on a full
    athletic scholarship. He also was invited to the 1964 Olympic try outs
    He did not make the team .returning to Chicago he was a PE teacher at Simeon for over 30 years.He never coached there because he was a fencing champ and the Board of Education told him kids could not play with i guess he would be lazy in your eyes.

  • And another thing:

    Serantoni and Polki are both over 65 years old and should let younger blood come in and have their chances. They're hogging opportunities for others.

    Onken is in her late 40's. Why she's not coaching is anyone's guess.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You are joking, right? So, when you start to look old, act older, you should lose your job too? Seriously? There are laws against age discrimination.
    I'm headed towards late 40's myself and while I do more than my share of "extras" at my school, no freaking way would I be at work from 6:30 or 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. or later coaching or at games while my two children were home without me. That's fine if other people want to do that, but I had my children to be with them. My job is my job, I'm damn good at it, but it isn't my LIFE. You, however, are offensive. I sure hope you spend 12 hours a day in your place of work if you think its okay to harp on others so much. Sheesh.

  • Why couldn't he coach another sport then? 30 years of no coaching?? What was he good for at Simeon then? Rolling out the basketballs for gym like they've done for years at Simeon and saying how good he was back in the day? They should change the position title of Simeon PE teachers to Simeon 'open' gym watchers. You know it's true..

    It sounds like you're reaching in trying to defuse blame from you knowing about Hambric and Scott.

  • I guess I hit nerve, huh? You're going to tell me you haven't criticized people like Richard J. Daley, Richie's father? He's dead isn't he?

    So, it was okay to change Rose's grades, have someone else take his ACTs, and other crap because he was going to the NBA to be a 'woulda, coulda, shoulda'-been NBA legend? What has Rose done lately? Eat Skittles and be injured?

    You're reasoning is why 98% of the problemed pro athletes are Blackor a minority. You give them a free rein without consequences. Of all the women beating wife beaters in the NFL suspended and released recently, how many were Black? Umm, all of them.

  • Here's a link to a Sun-Times article detailing the grade changing for Rose and on about changing transcripts (read the comments, espeically those about Lonzie O'Bannon):

  • I would not criticize people like Scott and Hambric.Both are in
    The ISHAA hall of fame are you?There were some periods of the day
    when our one gym,served over 250 students.Since there were no
    class limits that was about 50 students per teacher, not including
    packing 50 kids per, into mobile units,old Willis wagons, for drivers ed and health class Even today PE teachers work harder than most teachers despite your opinion.They are the pillars of the school and many go on to become administrators.So you can bellyache all you want about things you read about in the papers.I hope you get to coach a team at Lane, you sure went to a lot of trouble to get there.
    Just drop us a line if you play Simeon,your comments would be
    very motivational

  • @rbusch: What do you know about sports anyway? You spent mostly all of your career being a librarian at Simeon. A librarian at Simeon is tantamount to being the Maytag repairman, except the Simeon librarian doesn't get any work because nobody would go into the Simeon library at all.

    And, while BGA shows you collect a $63K+ Chicago Teacher's pension, you weren't one from 1999-2011. And, your last 2-3 years, you were one of those phoney baloney 'resource/collaborative' teachers who're connected and get a nice cush job to do nothing, something which there seems to be a lot of at Simeon.'robert'&F_LastName='busch'&F_PensionName='Chicago%20Teachers'

    Here's a thought about the 250 kids in the gym class. Why allow it? Wasn't someone at Simeon smart enough to have alternating days for gym for Simeon students, so everyone would be able to participate and not just open prison yard gym classes? It seems the gym classes at Simeon were given up on.

    FYI: Hambric and Scott aren't in the IHSAA HOF as there's no such thing. Both are in a specific sport coaching association's HOF, which has nothing to do with the IHSA. Hambric is in the IL Basketball Coaches Assn HOF and Scott is in the Illinois Football Coaches Assn. HOF...There's no voting process for this. A coach is nominated by a single person and since each assn. was founded, anyone who was nominated got in. There's no voting process. The associations just look at the records or if the coaches fit other criteria (including being dead) and say yes.

    Have a look at the IHFCA and the IBCA nomination criteria, it's a good thing it doesn't include if a coach was able to get grades changed, huh?

    BTW: is Simeon is so great of school, why hasn't CPS given them good practice facilities, instead of the Simeon athletes practicing on crushed up glass and rock fields?

  • As per Rick to major Strassor:"are my eyes really brown"
    "And, while BGA shows you collect a $63K+ Chicago Teacher's pension, you weren't one from 1999-2011. And, your last 2-3 years, you were one of those phoney baloney 'resource/collaborative' teachers who're connected and get a nice cush job to do nothing, something which there seems to be a lot of at Simeon."
    That is not me.I was at Bogan for my final years.I do remember the day a delegation from lane tech came to Bogan so we could show
    them how to use computers.And the day we gave lane all our electrical shop equipment, and a hot dog each.
    As long as you are snooping why don't you look up my personal record.see how much grant money we got for Bogan, or what i did with the grant i got for Simeon from Ruth Love.I even got my picture in the paper for that.If you are real good you can find out which year
    i was included in "Who's Who of American Teachers"One of only
    ..003% from the ranks of Librarians.You are right about sports, the
    only thing I got out of playing football was injured.

  • rbusch,
    this guy taunting you doesn't sound like he's dealing with a full deck or maybe he's suffering from some kind of traumatic brain injury? I can't tell. Either way, don't bother. I won't either.
    Thank you for your service to the students at Simeon, the ones no one else wants to bother with or cares about. Thank you for being a librarian. Without a library and a librarian, no school should be allowed to remain open. You know your work, others know your work, this guy's just some troll who doesn't know much about schools.

  • In reply to teacherparent:

    Totally agree with you. My guess is this guy sounds like he really wanted a P.E. job at Lane, or at least a coaching position and whoever interviewed him realized what a whack job he truly was! He needs to get over it and move on.

  • I worked with Bob at Bogan. He worked every single day with students and teachers. Retired after 40 or so years, I'll bet he'd still out work you too.

    As for your comment about Simeon not getting good facilities, since when has ANY school in CPS with the exception of a few selective enrollment schools received anything?

  • With profound gratitude i thank everyone for your nice sentiments.
    I wish i could work full time again.

  • The #1 reason to mention PE teacher salaries is to show where is how taxpayer money is being spent on connected people who only want to come in, roll out the balls to do the bare minimum, walk away with $95K+ salaries, and not be 'all-in' to coach any sports at their schools. And, this while others who would be 'all-in' and can lead sports and teach PE are working at crappy schools or not at all.

    How has this allowed to happen at Lane and other schools where PE teachers are making close to six figures and not coaching at their schools and/or coaching at other schools?

    Please don't insult people's intelligences by saying PE teachers are hired just to be PE teachers and if they want or feel like it, they can coach a sport. That's BS!!!! Many, if not most, high school principals hire PE teachers to lead a sports team at their schools I addition to being qualified to teach PE.

    Onken, Polki, and Serantoni have been PE teachers-only at Lane for many years without coaching any sports teams there. And, Polki and Serantoni are set to make $95K+ for the 2014-15 school year. Are they that great of PE teachers, who implement the newest PE innovations to their classes, and are nationally known for their work in the PE field? Nope!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I'm sure you feel you are one of the "great" PE teachers. If so, you really need to ask yourself why nobody else seems to recognize your talents. Here's an old saying you might want to think about, self praise is no praise! You might want to be a little more humble at your next interview.

  • In reply to district299reader: it! Right on!

  • In reply to district299reader:


  • The whole PE teacher landscape will change in the very near future as CPS is in the process of getting rid of the residency waivers for need subject areas, which PE is one. So, expect to see plenty of PE positions open up as people will not want to move back to the city so their spouse can work for CPS.

    In fact, one of Lane's Lazy 11 PE teachers (Edward Nobiling) was called downtown this past summer to 125 S. Clark St. to explain why he was living in Antioch, IL since 2006 in violation of the CPS residency policy. Nobiling claimed he should be given a waiver as he's a PE teacher, but, the CPS waiver policy states you must be hired as a 'non-Chicago' resident at the time of your hire to be eligible for a residency waiver. And, a teacher in a need area can't circumvent the policy by moving from Chicago to another city after they were hired as a Chicago resident and get a residency waiver.

    CPS investigators asked Nobiling if he got their mailings about him being in violation of the residency policy and Nobiling said, "No, I didn't get anything in the mail." Then, the investigators told Nobiling mailings were sent to his residence in Antioch and the 'fake' address he was using in Chicago. At this point, Nobiling gave up and he was told to move back within 6 months to Chicago or resign. He resigned as his wife, a suburban middle school teacher in Park Ridge, refused to sell their house and move back to Chicago.

    What did Nobiling give up for his lack of ethics and lying? A $88,000 salary with 15 years into a CPS pension.

    Oh, BTW: Nobiling was the head of Lane's PE Dept. and hasn't coached there since 2005. Instead, Nobiling coached wrestling at Evanston and Antioch high schools.

    How did anyone know all of this about Nobiling? It's because he openly bragged to people about it at Lane.

  • A bill SB16 awaiting passage by the illinois House ,after the election
    should end this residency nonsense once and for all. it will prorate
    property taxes in the state.That should end Chicago's futile efforts to force teaches to live in the city. no longer will bug infested shacks in Bridgeport be carved up into two or three hovels to satisfy the housing needs of incarcerated Chicago faculty members. That side of the residency debate is always missing from the arguments of those who stand ready to drink the cool-aid whenever their master decides it is best for them.

  • How in the world does SB16, which involves the Illinois House, have anything to do with a Chicago employee residency policy?

    The reason for the Chicago residency policy is to keep city employees from making a mad dash with their city paychecks to the suburbs and leaving Chicago desolate like Detroit.

  • Please read the bill,all 424 pages of it,then get back to us.
    If that is a bit much,and it is,just read the underlined parts., around page 330. if Chicago goes the way of Detroit,which i doubt,do you really think
    the lack of a CPS residency rule will be the cause? Also remember that residency rules can work both ways. that is why if SB16 passes into law there will undoubtedly be a suburban push back.

  • I'm not reading 424 pages or any underlined parts. You gave us this infomation, tell us what us what it says in reference to the CPS residency Policy. Otherwise, it'll be filed in the "rbusch file: more nonsense spewed without any facts".

    The Detroit example was a bit much on my part, but, I highly doubt legislation would be enacted to allow CPS teachers to live outside Chicago while all other city of Chicago are forced to live in Chicago.

    And, the suburbs will not do a push back and make their public employees live in their city or towns, they're too smart for that.

    CPS teachers have the CTU to thank for the loss of the residency waivers as the CTU was the one telling everyone and their mother that nearly 7000 teachers were let go in recent years. Basically, the CTU was saying there's no longer a need for teachers to live outside Chicago anymore.

  • I am tired of wasting my time with you.If you can read the law if not stay ignorant of what will effect every teacher in illinois.
    The suburbs are too smart to institute a residency rule? What does that say about Chicago.personally i do not care about lane Tech or its rotten Gym Teachers,nor does anyone please leave it is beginning to bore me.

  • Don't get your panties in a bunch rbusch.

    You're one who brought up legislation to a residency discussion and didn't explain why you did.

    The suburbs being too smart to enact a residency policy among it's city employees means cities like Wheaton, Park Ridge, and Downers Grove wouldn't get the trash which accompanies lower level employees living in their nice suburbs.

  • Keep posting, Bob. Love your comments and your real details about what it takes to teach in CPS.

    The suburbs do not have a residency rule nor does any other city that I know of....if CPS wants the best and the brightest then they need to widen the pool. I'm tired of teahcers who have been let go due to incompetence from the suburbs being hired in CPS just because of an address. This is especailly noticeable in the area of specical education and I do believe this is why we have so many due process cases. Teachers who teach children with disabilities need to be at the top of their game not at the bottom. My principal had to hire two sped teachers who came in from another system and they are pitiful but she said no one else applied-the parents and students are already complaining-so sad that the residency requirement is keeping away some great teachers......and some great administrators.

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