Friday, August 19, 2011

Is you is, or is you ain't...

Just yesterday, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, praised Superintendent Grenita Lathan for working with different sectors of the community.

At just about the same time that LaHood was co-signing Dr. Lathan's $10,000 bonus, other members of the community were saying and feeling just the opposite...

Groups Want to Connect With Dist. 150
Despite a busy first year on the job some members of the local community say they feel a disconnect with District 150 Superintendent Grenita Lathan. They say collaboration with the administration has taken a backseat.

Peoria Park District Board Vice President Robert Johnson says neighborhood children were denied access to basketball courts over the summer at Glen Oak and Harrison schools after the basketball rims were taken off the backboards He says young people pack the courts to play pick up games but now cannot do so. Johnson says after a conversation with Dr. Lathan he was told the maintenance workers were tied up at another school and that union issues had to be worked out before the rims could be replaced.
"I don't understand the reasoning, we should be trying to engage our young people so that they can have active things to do and that's basically what it is and all of us would have a good quality of life in our city," Johnson said.
East Bluff Serenity Neighborhood Association President Jim Combs says he was thrilled about Glen Oak Learning Center which was built on some property his family once owned. Combs says a year after the school's opening he's disappointed.
"That building and the grounds around that building were supposed to be shared by the community and I got the feeling and I think a lot of us do in leadership around here feel that that isn't the case," he said.
Combs is talking about space that was supposed to be reserved inside the school for a community learning center for adults where computer or G-E-D classes could be held or other neighborhood programs, a vision he says was shared by former District 150 school superintendent Ken Hinton.

Superintendent Grenita Lathan was not available for an interview, but a district 150 spokesman says budgetary constraints, staffing and other educational issues have taken priority for the administration.

Combs says he understands that more pressing challenges may be the focus for the district. But says with similar goals in mind of strengthening families and communities partnerships with the administration are important.

"It's sort of a sadness, it's like a dissolution on our part. We thought something was going to happen that didn't," he said.

But combs says that won't stop his group from finding another location for their community center. He just hopes the school district will be a partner. Source

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Officer Collins where for art thou?

While we have yet to hear from Chief Security Officer, Greg Collins (a/ka/ Chief SRO), as to whether he agrees with the Labor Representative for the Policemen’s Benevolent Labor Committee, that District 150 schools cannot be safe under the watch of School Resource Officers (SROs), District 150 Superintendent of Schools has gone on record to assure people that once August 22nd rolls around, the schools will be safe.

Dist. 150 School Resource Officers discussed
Peoria District 150 Superintendent Grenita Lathan once again addresses the recent policy revision renaming school security officers as School Resource Officers. Another major change prohibits those officers from carrying their service weapons when they are off duty.

"We are not eliminating School Resource Officers from the district or from our buildings," says Lathan. "They have been hired to serve and protect our students, our staff and our employees."

Lathan says while the officers are trained and able to make an arrest, Lathan says the district wants to make sure the incidents that necessitate an arrest are consistent district wide.

"We want to make sure when students are arrested they are not 14 and 15 years old being arrested for something that can be considered a felony and can haunt them for the rest of their lives," Lathan explains.

Lathan says, "They are students, they are children and sometimes they make mistakes."

Lathan says no work is being shifted to the Peoria Police Department. Lathan says School Resource Officers will still have the authority to make an arrest on school property. But, Lathan says, there will now be greater communication between the Sergeant on duty and the building principal. Source

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Should the BOE give Dr. Lathan a $10,000 bonus?

I guess it would depend up on if she met the goals that were set previously by the board. In early July, WMBD 31 obtained part of Dr. Lathan's contract, after filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The FOIA revealed:

"...the superintendent must evaluate student performance on standardized tests, curriculum, and attendance and drop-out rates.

The district's school board made changes to the contract at its meeting last month. At the time, the district would not release what specific changes were made.

She must also report to the school board and make any changes she sees necessary. The report must include goal and student achievements required by school code."

Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Grenita Lathan may be awarded $10,000 by the school board. Lathan's contract allows for a performance bonus of up to $10,000 each year based on goals agreed to between the superintendent and the board. The board Monday is being asked to approve the maximum bonus for the 2010-2011 school year. Lathan makes a base salary of $198,000 a year. Source

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Meet District 150's new Chief Turnaround Officer

At the July 25, 2011, board meeting, the Board of Education approved the contract for the new position of Chief Turnaround Officer (CTO).

A generic job description for a CTO:
The chief turnaround officer will direct and coordinate academic and fiscal activities working in concert with the administrative team, school turnaround officers, and community partners, to improve student achievement. Manage the operational plans related to the work being done in the district’s lower-performing schools through the School Imporvement Grant. Duties also include monitoring turnaround school performance data, aligning resources with the district’s education plan and establishing early warning systems to ensure compliance with state and school board standards. In identifying new targets and shared strategies, the CTO will also be establishing and implementing strategies that provide for increased learning time and ongoing mechanisms for family and community engagement among other duties related to accountability.

I am Geraldine (Gerri) Russ Cox. I am a native of North Carolina. I grew up in the small Eastern North Carolina town of Smithfield, North Carolina. I later attended NC A&T State University where I earned both my bachelor’s and master degree. I also attended Gardner Webb University where I earned a Master degree of Educational Administration.

I am a wife, mother, and grandmother of three. My husband and I live in Rural Hall, NC with my mother and aunt. We also share our home with “Teddy Bear Cox” our 40lb. Chow dog.

It has been my pleasure to be an educator for almost 30 years. Helping children learn is my passion and life! I believe given Phenomenal effort success is enviable.